Difficulty: Easy. The road is graded and wide at the bottom, but the upper parts are narrow, steep and rocky. Suitable for all SUVs with four-wheel drive and low-range gears.
Description: A BLM (Bureau of Land Management) National Byway which climbs to the top of 5681 ft. Harquahala Mountain, the highest mountain in southwestern Arizona. At the top, find an observatory built by the Smithsonian Institution in use from 1920 to 1925. Also find modern solar collectors used by the Central Arizona Project. Camping and picnic places are provided along the road.
Time & Distance: Allow about an hour to reach the top, which is 10.5 miles.
Trail Conditions: Bureau of Land Management, Hassayampa Field Office. Call (623) 580-5500.
Remember: trail conditions, fire restrictions, weather, and land ownership change constantly so everyone must take responsibility for themselves, both for their safety and complying with all laws. Please understand that means YOU.
Directions to the Trail: Follow Hwy 60 northwest from Phoenix and west from Wickenburg to the small town of Aguila. Turn left on Eagle Eye Road and drive about 18 miles south. Watch for signs 1/2 mile past mile marker 9.
View Harquahala Peak in a larger map for even more DETAILS!
Harquahala Mountain is the highest point in southwestern Arizona at 5681 feet. This 10.5 mile byway was constructed for mining access over a span of 70 years and reached the summit in 1981. The trail is very well maintained and you will find a staging area right off Eagle Eye Road with large parking, picnic benches, restroom and information about the mountain and the trail.
The trail starts climbing as soon as you leave the parking area and it never stops until you reach the top of the mountain. Few switchbacks, several steep hills and all the rocks make it an interesting and bumpy ride. Airing down at the staging area is a good idea and it makes the trip more comfortable.
The views from the summit are amazing, but it can be very windy up there. No restrooms at the Observatory but there are several picnic tables.
After you finish this trip you should also visit a very interesting Black Rock mine, which is located just off of Eagle Eye Road. To get there, follow the highway 4.4 miles east, back towards Aguila, where on the right hand side you’ll find a sign for Little Horn Peak Rd, follow that road for 3.5 miles and if the gate is open follow the road down into the pit, where you can park and explore several mine shafts. Great photo oportunity.
Get yourself and your TOY ready for the trip: Make sure both you and your vehicle are ready for your next adventure.
Before you venture out on your offroading trip you need to make sure you are prepared for emergencies. Even if nothing happens to you or your vehicle, you might come across someone who needs help. Short of always having your full-on Bug-Out-Bag with you, you should at least have some basic emergency items. It might seem obvious to some, but you should get yourself a tool box with appropriate tools and leather gloves, good first aid kit, fire extinguisher, set of jumper cables, emergency blankets (stored in heavy plastic bag – both are useful), flashlight, tow strap and some extra water. I would also suggest a recovery strap, a military folding shovel, heavy duty garbage bags, and a hand crank self powered weather radio. These items are not expensive, but they just might save your day.
Another thing you should definitely do before you leave is to save Joe’s number in your cellphone in case you find yourself in need of recovery in the middle of nowhere. Joe is the owner of Arizona 4×4 Off Road Recovery and has become a real hero to many in the Arizona offroad community. His number is (602) 697-8306.
If you’re ready for a next adventure and want to plan it right, check out some of these trail guides – Arizona has so many awesome destinations to explore!