Summary: This trail takes you to the 5,681 foot summit of the Harquahala Mountains which is the highest peak in southwestern Arizona. The trail is well maintained and is easy to follow. The last portion of the trail is a leg burner, climbing more than 1,400 feet in 0.75 miles. Do not attempt this trail in the summer where temperatures of 100 plus degrees are the norm. At the summit, along with the panoramic views, you will see the historic observatory built by the Smithsonian Institution in 1920.
Trailhead: From Phoenix take I-10 west to Salome Road (Exit 81). Turn right and follow the road for 31 miles the small town of Salome. From Salome, turn right and follow Highway 60 for about 13.8 miles. The dirt road that leads to the trailhead is between mile posts 70 and 71 and is marked by a palm tree on the north side of the highway in the dirt rest area. Just off the highway there is a gate and a wilderness usage sign, go through the gate, turn right and follow the dirt road for 2.1 miles to the trailhead. A high clearance, two wheel drive vehicle will easily make the trip. (Lat:33.8375 Lon:-113.37886)
Trail Guides for Harquahala Peak: Harquahala Pack Trail:
by Bruce Grubbs and Stewart Aitchision (The Globe Pequot Press)
Exploring Arizonas Wild Areas
by Scott S. Warren (The Mountaineers)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Phoenix Field Office, Bureau of Land Managment
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Rob Brinkerhoff, who has posted 33 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by DJE on 9/18/2012
I was part of a trail crew (Southwest Conservation Corps, working for the BLM) that maintained this trail in Spring 2010, cutting away thorny vegetation, removing large boulders that had washed onto the trail after a large rain event, adding some rock carins in confusing areas, and building more drainage structures. This is a tough trail to maintain due to the steep drainage traversed by the upper part of the trail and shaded gulleys that encourage rapid regrowth. It's an important project to maintain a historic, wilderness route up this side of Harquahala, especially with the vehicle access on the opposite side. Thanks to BLM and also equestrian volunteers for keeping it up!
Reviewed by Jim on 3/31/2008
Hiked the trail in late February 2008 with two friends. In the first quarter mile from the trailhead we noticed a crested saguaro. We enjoyed the hike very much and plan to take other interested friends on the hike this fall. The climb is a little challenging and I would recommend a little conditioning before you take it on. The variety of plant life and geology makes for a very interesting hike. Would also suggest that you take a little time to slow your walk on the way down. The vistas are great. The trail was in great shape. Thanks to those who maintain this area.
Reviewed by T. Davis on 3/9/2008
Hiked Haquahala Peak today, nice little hike with some decent elevation gain, will get your heart rate going for a while. The 2 mile dirt road was passable with my Honda Civic and another members Ford Taurus, a few small dry n' sandy washes to cross over, but in good weather I would take my car again.
Reviewed by ccl on 12/7/2007
not to rain on a parade, but you can now drive to the top from the south side of the mountain.
Reviewed by Robert on 5/2/2006
Hiked 2 April 2006. My favorite desert mountain range hike in Arizona. Located in a beautiful desert canyon, loaded with wildlife, the BLM has done an excellent job of maintaining the trail to the top, and providing historical information about the Smithsonian obseveratory, and early pioneer mining. Carry plenty of water, and I would not recommend hiking in summer. When we hiked in April we were the only hikers to sign the register in over a week. a great hike and a great history lesson.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: Arizona Hiking, Arizona Trails, Arizona Hikes, La Paz County Hiking, La Paz County Trails, La Paz County Hikes