Upper Hospital Flat Group Site

Willcox, Arizona

Overview

Upper Hospital Flat is a great place for groups to escape the summer heat of surrounding deserts and retreat to a scenic meadow in the Pinaleno Mountains of southeastern Arizona. The area is known for camping, scenic driving, picnicking, birding, wildlife viewing, hiking, mountain biking and history. In the 1880s, the campground served as the site for a field hospital for ailing soldiers from nearby Fort Grant, hence its name. The restorative powers of this cool, high-elevation location also attracted officers and their families seeking a summer refuge from desert heat. Today, Hospital Flat serves as popular getaway for outdoor enthusiasts and campers.

Recreation

The scenic and relaxing setting is inviting for an afternoon picnic, as well as bird and wildlife watching. A .75-mile nature trail gives interpretive information about the meadow and its plant and animal inhabitants. The campground lies along the Swift Trail scenic drive, which takes visitors from the Sonoran Desert to alpine meadows and forests on the Pinaleno Range. Several points of interest offer excellent side trips, including Heliograph Peak. The road also provides access to a number of hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking trails, a mountain lake stocked with trout and several campgrounds.

Facilities

Hospital Flat offers one reservable group site for up to 50 people and several first-come, first-served individual sites. The facility is equipped with a picnic table, parking area and campfire ring with a grill. Note: no toilets on site, must bring in Porta-a-Johns 1 for every 15 people in the group. The road leading into the group site is mainly suitable for higher-clearance vehicles.

Natural Features

The campground sits along Big Creek in a mixed conifer forest, adjacent to a meadow that comes to life with wildflower blooms in late summer. The 9,000-ft. elevation offers pleasant summer temperatures.

The Coronado National Forest covers 1.78 million acres of southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. Elevations range from 3,000 to 10,720 feet in 12 widely scattered mountain ranges, or "sky islands," that rise dramatically from the desert floor, supporting biologically diverse plant communities.

Nearby Attractions

The Mount Graham Wilderness Study Area, which includes the 10,720-foot Mount Graham and several trails, is close by.

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