The small city of Gila Bend
is situated along Hwy 85 near the I-8 intersection (exit 115), three miles from the Gila River
which curves from the north to the west, round the edge of the Gila Bend Mountains. Other scattered ranges dot the horizon but the immediate surroundings are flat, empty desert, apart from some irrigated land near the river. Most facilities in town are spread out along 2 miles of the main road (Pima Street
), including about a dozen restaurants and a limited selection of lodging; the town is exactly half way (115 miles) between Tucson
, so a logical place to break the journey.
Undeveloped public land surrounds Gila Bend in most directions, including Woolsey Peak Wilderness
to the north and Maricopa Mountains Wilderness
to the east, part of Sonoran Desert National Monument
. The one exception is to the south, as the desert here lies at the edge of the vast Barry M Goldwater Air Force Range, and is closed to general access.
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