Outside Willcox is the headquarters for the Muleshoe Ranch Cooperative Management Area, nearly 50,000 acres of riparian desert land in the foothills of the Galiuro Mountains that are jointly owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. It's a 30-mile drive on a dirt road to the ranch—it takes about an hour—but the scenery, wildlife, and hiking are worth the bumps.
The varied terrain of mesquite
bosks, desert grasslands, and rocky canyons is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including desert tortoise, javelina, mule deer, hognose skunk, Montezuma quail, and great horned owl. You might also catch a glimpse of roaming bands of coatimundi—unusual looking omnivores resembling land-bound monkeys. Backcountry mountain-biking trips can be arranged by the ranch, and overnight accommodations are sometimes available Nature Conservancy members have priority). Hiking is self-guided.