Stretching for nearly three miles along the Little Colorado River, the Wenima Wildlife Area is a riparian stream corridor with two easy trails featuring interpretative signs and rest areas with benches. As you gently meander through willow arbors and groves of walnut trees, you may catch a glimpse of a golden eagle soaring over nearby basalt cliffs while you are soothed by the sound of the water and the scents of wild rose and grape. Home to beaver, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and ringtail cat, the Wenima Wildlife Area is 357 acres and features three distinct ecosystems. Small fish, minnows, and the occasional trout dart in the cool, rushing water surrounded by an abundant wetland floodplain where deer and antelope graze in the spring, summer, and fall. Canyon walls open into upland pinion-juniper and grasslands filled with seasonal wildflowers, scampering chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits.
Powerhouse Trail is .7 mile in length, proceeding south from the east side of the bridge over the Little Colorado River, while Beavertail Trail runs 1.5 miles north, starting from the west side of the bridge. Wenima Wildlife Area is an excellent site to view a wide variety of birds. Birding can be done throughout the year, but is best in spring, summer and fall.
The White Mountains are well known as a birder destination, and Wenima Wildlife Area offers an exceptional variety that is best in spring, summer, and fall. There are golden eagles, American kestrel, belted kingfisher, blue grosbeak, indigo bunting, black-crowned night-heron, green-back heron, yellow-breasted chat, black phoebe, gray catbird, and many varieties of warblers and songbirds. In the winter both mountain and western bluebirds are often found in the juniper trees. (Pictured, Arizona Bluebird.)
The Native American and indigenous tribes of long ago are well documented at Wenima Valley. Two significant preserves at Wenima are the Hooper Ranch Pueblo and the Danson Pueblo.
Ten centuries ago, Hopi Native Americans settled along the Little Colorado in what would later be known as Wenima Valley. Hiking the naturally engineered stair-stepped terraces to the east, the view of snowcapped mountains emerges, framing the indelible presence of Escudilla—the Sleeping Buffalo. Escudilla Mountain rests like a gentle guardian over the large crescent prairie that would later be named, “Redondo Valley,” or the Round Valley. However, the little dale, spotted with stone-hewn plaza style kivas and the culture of organic simplicity was known in the Zuni language as, Wenima, which means, “Coming Home.”
The native Hopis lingered on the banks of the peaceful river for over ten years and then continued their migration. Wenima would be recorded in Hopi oral history as “The Red Cloud Door,” marking its juxtaposition to the south of Hotevilla, their sacred destination.
Today, the remnants of Ancient Wenima Village can still be seen, etched in many of the numerous petroglyphs along the bluffs, or held as a sherd of unique basket-weave or black and white pottery.
Learn More About Wenima
This FREE PDF features more information for the Naturalist about Wenima Valley and the surrounding area, including a detailed map and directions on how to get to Wenima.
Wenima Development, LLC
For more information, please contact:
RE/Max Sun Properties, Peggy Rae: (602) 826-0599.
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