The Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area is a 23,000-acre riparian area where Eagle and Bonita creeks join the Gila River. Just outside of Safford, Arizona, this spot has been popular with whitewater kayakers for a long time.
The Gila Box conservation area offers opportunities for camping, birding, boating, and fishing. In early spring the Gila swells with snowmelt, creating some fun whitewater, but as the summer wears on the flow decreases, and the area becomes prime for swimming.
This section of the river offers few amenities: A handful of vault toilets, picnic tables, and ramadas are all that you can expect here. The conservation area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, contains two campgrounds, and allows for dispersed camping in non-riparian areas. The roads are gravel, but the major ones are easily navigated by small sedans in all but the worst weather. Side roads are often more primitive and require higher clearance and four-wheel drive.