Las Cienegas National Conservation Area is located in the beautiful rolling grasslands of Southeastern Arizona.
The approximately 42,000-acre Las Cienegas National Conservation Area was designated by Congress in 2000. It is located about 50 miles southeast of Tucson. There are two main access points to the NCA. The first is located of State Road 83 about seven miles north of Sonoita, and a less developed entrance located five miles east of Sonoita off State Road 82.
Las Cienegas is located 45 miles southeast of Tucson, Arizona. From Tucson, drive southeast on Interstate 10 to Exit 281. Head south on State Highway 83. Near milepost 40, turn east into the Empire Ranch entrance.
Permits are not required to visit the NCA. However, commercial, competitive, and large organized group events require a special recreation permit. For more information about permits, contact Catie Fenn, Recreational Planner, at 520-258-7200.
Access and Amenities
Can a school bus access Las Cienegas?
The roads in Las Cienegas are unpaved. The main road to the Empire Ranch headquarters is well-maintained and suitable for passenger cars and school buses.
Where are the restrooms?
There is one public restroom at the Empire Ranch headquarters and one restroom at the Air Strip Group Site.
Is drinking water available?
There is drinking water available at the Empire Ranch headquarters. A well hand-pump is located near the restrooms.
Suggested lunch spots:
The stone corral at the Empire Ranch provides shade and proximity to the restrooms and water. There are also plenty of shady spots under the cottonwood trees in Empire Gulch.
Please pack out all trash!
No first aid available on site. Dial 911 for emergencies; cell phone coverage is usually reliable at the Empire Ranch headquarters, but limited in outlying areas, so you may have to seek higher ground to reach cell service. The nearest hospital is in Sierra Vista.
Other Places and Resources of Interest
- How to obtain a permit for Cienega Creek Preserve
- Hike the Arizona Trail