The Whetstone Mountains reach their high point of 2,350 meters (7,711 feet) on Apache Peak. The basal area is relatively high for the Sky Islands beginning firmly in semi-desert or full grasslands. Watersheds on the eastern side drain into the San Pedro River, while those on the western side feed Cienega Creek and eventually flowing into the Rillito River in the Tucson basin, which with the Santa Cruz River shortly thereafter.
How do you gauge wilderness qualities? Consider this: deep in the Whetstone Mountains sits a wooden corral with a small metal line shack, remnants of an early cattle ranching operation. Far from any road, its floor has newspapers from 1939 resting where they were dropped when the news was fresh.