Our short trip to Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge extended to almost three weeks. For folks like myself, it was a special place because of the lure and realization of seeing and identifying a wide variety of birds … 95 to be exact. We loved the wild starkness and isolation of the grasslands, the rugged beauty of Brown Canyon (be sure to make reservations for a tour into this restricted area), and the opportunity to see scarce birds such as the Grey Hawk. The video at the Refuge headquarters gives a most helpful intoduction to the area.
The best of the many free dry-camp spots is #73, about one mile west on the road directly opposite the big Buenos Aires Refuge sign. It offers a beautiful panoramic view over the grasslands. We, along with our friends, were the only people we saw camping on the Refuge.
If you go down to Sasabe on the Mexico border, take the time to talk to the feisty and colorful little lady manager of the small grocery store, for all the “goods” on that tiny town, and take a look at “the fence.”
At Arivaca on the east side of the Refuge, we found the Arivaca Cienega boardwalk around the marshland interesting enough for a second visit. Saturday mornings a Birdwalk from 8-lla.m. guided by very knowledgeable birders is certainly worthwhile.
Arivaca Creek trail, checking out the old ranch, and a trip to Arivaca Lake makes for a great adventure. If you enjoy rugged mountain highways the trip along Ruby Road, from Arivaca to I-19, though only about 30 miles in length (take along a picnic lunch) can be a fine way to use up a whole day.
We went to Buenos Aires mid-March and found the weather quite satisfactory. The weather any earlier would be rather cool since the elevation is about 4000 feet.
Those who don’t spend their days looking for birds like I do would probably find one week long enough; if you love solitude, however, this is one super place for a longer stay.
We will no doubt return to the Refuge again sometime. It is our kind of place.