Cochise, Arizona 85606Apache Station Wildlife Area webpage
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Sulphur Springs Valley
The Apache Station Wildlife Area, located next to Apache Generating Station near Cochise, is a primary winter roosting location for sandhill cranes. AEPCO established the Wildlife Area in 1997 and operates it under a stewardship agreement with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. We host hundreds of visitors at the Wildlife Area each year.
The Wildlife Area is populated by numerous mammals including javelina, bobcat, and deer. Birds of prey include the Northern harrier, red-tailed hawk, ferruginous hawk, bald eagle, and golden eagle. Wading birds and waterfowl are present year-round, although numbers reach their peak in the winter months. Frequently seen waterfowl include the snow goose, Northern shoveler, mallard, Northern pintail, and American wigeon.
The Sulphur Springs Valley Loop provides a 35-mile driving tour through the Sulphur Springs Valley. It offers access to a variety of habitats, including grassland, desert scrub, playa lakes, and farm fields. Birding is best from mid-October through March, when more than 15 species of birds of prey may be found here.
The annual Wings Over Willcox Birding and Nature Festival takes place in nearby Willcox each January and features guided tours. The focal point of the loop is the 28,000-acre Willcox Playa, located at the north end of the valley. The varying water levels of the playa greatly affect the wildlife viewing opportunities. When the playa contains ample water, it provides habitats for tens of thousands of migratory birds.
Sulphur Springs Valley Loop – From Tucson, take I-10 east to US-191, then south on US-191 to the junction with AZ-181 (Sunizona). Continue south towards Elfrida and take Central Highway south to Double Adobe Road, then east back to US-191 and north to McNeal.
Willcox Playa Wildlife Area – From Willcox, go east on AZ-186 for 6 miles; turn south on Kansas Settlement Road for 4 miles to the wildlife area.
Apache Station Wildlife Area – Take the I-10 exit 331 south for 8.5 miles. Lake Cochise – just south of Willcox on AZ-186, turn into Twin Lakes Golf Course and follow signs to birding area.