Graham County Adventures
Arizona Travel News ( Press Release )
A Special Place for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Arizona, USA: October 2003: From wildlife watching to star gazing, Graham County in
southeastern Arizona offers an abundance of recreational activities. Soak in
one of many natural hot spring mineral baths. Play a round of golf. Round up
some cattle. Take a telescope tour on Mt. Graham. Above all, bring your
binoculars. With more than 300 bird species, Graham County is a haven for
birders from all over the world, and offers some of top birding locations in
the United States:
Aravaipa Canyon & Turkey Creek Creeks have carved spectacular canyons and
their waters support mixed broadleaf riparian ecosystems. The area supports
habitat for more than 30 species of birds plus other wildlife including
bighorn sheep and coatimundi. Located about 80 km west of Safford.
Bonita Creek Part of the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area,
more than 140 bird species have been recorded here and more than 70 species
nest along the creek which is also home to native fish and frogs. Located
about 32 km east of Safford.
Discovery Park The park offers a variety of habitats including a small
pond, cottonwood and willow trees. Discovery Park also is the location of
the Gov. Aker observatory, educational exhibits on the origins of the world
as told by many cultures, and a full-motion space simulator ride. Located at
20th Avenue and Discovery Park Blvd. on the southern edge of Safford.
Gila River Also part of the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area,
this area is about 32 km northeast of Safford. Although there are several
entry points for vehicles, the area is best accessed by foot, horseback or
raft. Waterfowl and shore birds are seen along the river while hawks and
eagles soar overhead.
Haekel Road and Ponds Haekel Road is located about 13 km east of Safford,
providing access to San Simon Valley, Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area and
several ponds north of Bowie. The San Simon Valley is a good location to
spot winter raptors, buntings and sparrows.
Roper Lake State Park & Dankworth Pond Rangers and local birders post
recent sightings which have included pelicans and herons. Located about 8
and 11 km respectively south of Safford, there is good access for vehicles
near the ponds at both areas. Roper Lake features hot springs and
campgrounds with hot showers.
Swift Trail This 56 km-long road (Hwy 366) is accessed from U.S. 191 about
12 km south of Safford. The road climbs from 1,005 metres to almost 2,743
metres in elevation, passing through five life zones on the eastern and
southern flanks of Mt. Graham. It passes from cactus and ocotillo-clad
hillsides to forests of fir, pine and spruce. The varied habitat brings with
it a vast variety of birds.
Because many of these special areas are on land controlled by federal
agencies, permits are often required. Further information about each of
these areas and the appropriate agency to contact is available in a free
color brochure listing the more than 300 species of birds that have been
recorded in Graham County. The brochure is available on the internet and can
be viewed and downloaded at the Graham County Chamber of Commerce's tourism
information site: www.visitgrahamcounty.com.
Graham County offers a choice of unique accommodations ranging from a
historic bed and breakfast to working cattle ranches. There also are modern
motels, a conference center resort and even a casino resort with an 18-hole
golf course and conference facilities.
About Olney House Bed and Breakfast
The historic Olney House Bed and Breakfast was built in 1890 by George A.
Olney, a rancher who served as Graham County Sheriff. Listed on the Register
of Historic Places, the Olney House is located close to downtown Safford. It
is furnished with antiques collected by its owners in Europe and the U.S. It
features three bedrooms upstairs in the main house and two cottages separate
from the main house.
The Klondyke Country Store and Lodge is located in the desert riparian area
near Aravaipa Canyon. The Horsehead Lodge on the property has a total of
five bedrooms and three baths, two kitchens and a hot tub. The ranch also
has RV hookups and campsites available. Guided horseback rides through the
scenic Aravaipa Canyon are offered along with pack trips, cattle drives and
other trail rides. Because of its remote location and the nearby mountains,
the ranch has dark skies perfect for stargazing.
The Black Rock Ranch Wilderness Retreat's secluded location within the Santa
Teresa Wilderness offers visitors the opportunity to step back in time and
experience nature. Homesteaded in the 1890s, today this historic family
ranch is operated by the third generation of the founder, Hollis Holladay,
the first game warden in the Eastern Arizona Territory. Visitors can
experience a day on a working ranch, ride the trails to the high country,
hike, watch wildlife, and learn to ride and rope. Sleeping accommodations
include five western-style log cabins. Each has its own bath facility with
shower and/or antique tub.
Southern Arizona's Graham County offers an unspoiled view of life the way it
ought to be. For further information, call the Graham County Chamber of
Commerce at (928) 428-2511 or toll free at (888) 837-1841, or visit the
website at www.visitgrahamcounty.com