Blue Wilderness


The “Blue” Range Primitive Area borders Arizona and New Mexico. Located near the small townships of Springerville, Arizona and Glenwood, New Mexico.


Jump off for this horse riding adventure holiday in Arizona is close to an old historic ranch, where Butch Cassidy, Sundance Kid and their Wild Bunch rode through on forays. Similarly with the Alma ride, this region was home to the Mimbres, Mogollon and Apache, before the Spanish Conquistadors, Mexicans, miners and outlaws passed through. The Blue River is the likely feature that lent its name to this remote country, though some suggest it was due to the bluish tinge cast at dawn-dusk over the forests. The region became part of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 1980 – the last remaining primitive area on National Forest Land.


The Blue Range Primitive Area is crossed by the Mogollon Rim, (the name comes from Don Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollón, Spanish Governor of New Mexico from 1712 to 1715). A huge natural escarpment defining the south-western edge of the Colorado Plateau, along its central most spectacular portion, it is characterized by high limestone and sandstone cliffs. In Arizona it encompasses 222,500 acres of pristine wilderness, expanses of woodland and slot canyons – stark, steep-walled, some have drops of over a 1,000 feet from rim to arroyo, and the occasional ‘park’ with emerald green open meadows. Over the line in New Mexico, 29,304 acres is set tight up against the state border. A special place far from the metropolis with very limited access, either side the incredibly rugged terrain has kept visitors to a minimum.

Retrace hidden trails down the Blue River and follow the treacherous Mogollon Rim. This offers challenging riding. This is a water-pressured region and most trails have few markers and a serious lack of maintenance. Elevations range from 5,000-10,000  feet. With vast piñon and juniper woodlands, higher elevations are home to majestic ponderosa pines. See an incredible variety of wildlife: lizards, javelina, coyotes, turkeys, mule deer, black bears and mountain lion. Ride out from Pass Indian ceremonial caves, old corrals, hidden springs and see unidentified carvings, pass where wolves have been re-introduced and if fortunate, you might see signs of their existence. 


Accommodation: tents and bivouacs; Duration: negotiable; Group size: 4 – 8, Departures: May-August; £:POA