Box Canyon Shooting Range to open by March


With the beginning of the new year, Maricopa residents can start looking forward to the opening of a new shooting venue at Box Canyon.

According to Chris Wonderly, Public Affairs Specialist for the Phoenix District Office of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, progress on the facility, is well under way and the public should be able to begin using the site in the first quarter of 2022. The 68-acre facility is located within the Box Canyon Recreation Area, a semi-developed 1,072-acre site about 10 miles west of town.

The site is already a popular informal range due to its good shooting backgrounds and proximity to the city. The entrance to the new facility will be about 1,000 feet west of North Hidden Valley Road. Wonderly said the facility would be able to accommodate up to 90 shooters at a time.

The site has long been a favorite haunt for local shooters to practice with everything from pistols to shotguns to long guns, and earlier this year the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation began work on improving the site by adding shooting platforms and designated shooting lanes; berms; permanent targets and areas for shooting designed for different types of guns.

The enhancements will provide a more organized approach to shooting in the area and will enhance safety.

“There will be infrastructure at the site including berms, backstops and targets,” Mariela Castaneda, Wonderly’s predecessor at BLM told InMaricopa earlier this year. “We’ll have set targets that will be maintained by BLM and plenty of places for all types of shooting. That will include lanes with different lengths, including 100 yards and 200 yards, so we’ll have places for all different types of firearms.”

In addition to the defined shooting platforms, lanes, natural and man-made backstops, there will be an adjacent Hazardous Exclusion Area of about 184 acres that will be defined by about 2.4 miles of 4-strand, wildlife-friendly perimeter fencing. This barrier is designed to keep hikers and others enjoying outdoor recreation away from the shooting range.”

Wonderly said the facility will have the full range of amenities originally proposed for the site including:

  • Three steel targets
  • One steel target frame
  • Three 25-, two 50- and two 100-yard shooting lanes
  • One 200- and one 300-yard shooting lane
  • Three primary backstop and side containment berms of native material with 6-inch clay liner and secondary backstops
  • Five 30-foot-wide shooting platforms
  • Sporting clay/skeet shooting area
  • 20-foot-wide graded access roads with gravel parking area with handicap spaces
  • Two vault restrooms
  • Two 12-foot-wide pedestrian crossings
  • Target area containment basins (3-foot wide) with a 6-inch clay liner

Box Canyon is one of four informal shooting sites in metro Phoenix the BLM is currently improving, and Wonderly said all of them will operate in the same fashion.

“All of those are self-service sites,” he said. “They will operate on a first come, first served basis. If there are times when we expect larger crowds, we may have park rangers or volunteers there to help facilitate things, but these sites are not intended to be staffed.

“Box Canyon had been a disbursed shooting site for years before this site, so the people in that area are used to managing themselves when it comes to shooting” he continued. “The main improvements we put in were to enhance safety, provide designated shooting areas and create safe, delineated shooting lines.:

Wonderly said the site will feature berms, backstops and some established targets and said shooters will be able to bring their own targets as well. He said BLM will separate the different types of shooting, with areas with longer range targets from 100-300 yards range for long guns and pistol areas with lane in the 25 to 100-yard range. There will be an area for skeet shooting as well.


  1. Grand opening has been pushed out several times and we’ve just about given up on the place opening at all with Biden filling every agency with incompetent personnel based on some leftist social scoring scheme like affirmative action, race, gender or sexual preference. As a tax payer I’m interested to know how this range will be managed. If there’s no range master will the facility be open all the time or will somebody need to go out daily and unlock the gate? It looks like a nice concept but before I drive 50 miles it would be nice to know if the gate will be open when I arrive.