Castle Dome Mountains

Location: Between Quartzsite and Yuma, east of Hwy 95 in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.

Difficulty: Moderate.

Description: Travel through rugged parts of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. Perhaps you’ll catch a glimpse of some of the abundant wildlife, which includes desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, coyote, cottontail, bobcat, fox and golden eagle. Visit a cave once inhabited by Native Americans. Cross rocky McPherson Pass through the Castle Dome Mountains. Hike to well-preserved cabins at Big Eye Mine. Stop at the Castle Dome Mines Museum and learn about the area’s extensive mining history. Starts as a easy washboard gravel road but changes to single lane with minor obstacles. Mostly easy except for one moderate spot at McPherson Pass. This spot requires good articulation and high ground clearance. Suitable for aggressive stock SUVs. This trail crosses many miles of hot desert. Carry plenty of water and travel with another vehicle.

Time & Distance: About 54 miles. Allow about 5 hours on the trail plus traveling time. Add extra time for the uphill hike to the Big Eye Mine.

Trail Conditions: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. Call (928) 783-7861.




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: Travel north from Yuma or south from Quartzsite on Hwy 95. Turn east on King Road between mile markers 76 and 77 (about 29 miles south of Quartzsite). If you are coming from the south, a large “King Valley” sign identifies the turn.


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Get yourself and your rig ready for the trip: Make sure both you and your vehicle are prepared 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 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 the number to Arizona 4×4 Off Road Recovery in case you find yourself in need of recovery in the middle of nowhere. Their 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!




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3 thoughts on “Castle Dome Mountains

  1. jeeper21213 says:

    Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Locked gate issue on Castle Dome road. Traveled from Quartzsite to King Road east then south on Castle Dome road. Beautiful drive and relaxing until we reached the mine’s locked gate, GPS coordinates W 114 10.361 N 33 03.579. Could not go around without some very serious off road trekking. Had no choice but to go back the way we come. No other suggestion, but have lots of fuel if you go to return.
    Have a great day.

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