|Castle Dome Peak is a distinctive landmark summit in southwest Arizona, readily visible from points north and east of Yuma, and south of Interstate-10 near Quartzsite. The big squared-off summit looks imposing from below, but solid rock and a series of class-3 gullies makes for a reasonably safe passage to the top. Castle Dome Peak tops the Castle Dome Mountains, which lie within the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge and are parallel to the Kofa Mountains, which include the highest point in Yuma County, Signal Peak. Peakbaggers who come this far to this part of Arizona should consider a weekend of hiking, scrambling and climbing to claim both landmark summits. Bighorn sheep are prevalent in both ranges and lucky visitors may see one or two on the rocks high above.|
Castle Dome Peak has an elevation of 3,788 feet, and a prominence of 2,088 feet. It is a popular "list" peak: prominence chasers, range highpointers and the Sierra Club's Desert Peaks Section all include Castle Dome on its rolls.
Winter climbs are best, when temperatures are pleasant. The region is typically dry during the year, and the temperature range during November-February is usually 30s-40s in the morning, to 60s-70s in the days. Summer is very hot, with highs nearing 120 degrees, and lows often in the 90s. The shoulder months (October, March and April) can be variable. You might get lucky and have some cool days, or it can still be rather hot.
In the late 19th Century, the city of Castle Dome sprung up in the desert flats below Castle Dome Peak, driven by silver and lead mines. At one time, the population here was larger than that of Yuma. After the mines played out, the city became a ghost town. In recent years, the various buildings have been restored so that a reasonable fac-simile of this old town still lives on today, one of the finer examples of a "living" ghost town in Arizona today. The road into the range will pass by the museum, which is worth a stop if you have time afterwards.
(Primary image by granite4brains.)
Getting ThereFrom Yuma, drive northeast on US-95 for about 35 miles. Turn right at the Castle Dome Mine Road, which is a good dirt road. Drive north on this road for about ten miles to a mining museum. Continue past the mine on a worsening dirt road. This section of road will require a high clearance vehicle. There is one arroyo crossing that probably will require 4-wheel drive. Given the rocky nature of this road, 4-wheel drive is advisable. Continue on this road for about five miles as it winds around to the west side of Castle Dome Peak. Slightly northwest of the peak itself, you will come to a prominent wash with a sign indicating no motor vehicles. There is ample room to park.
From Quartzsite, the turn-off to Castle Dome Mine Road is about 50 miles south of Interstate-10. There are no services along US-95. Top the gas and get any supplies in Yuma or Quartzsite.
Mountain ConditionsContact the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge Office in Yuma for the latest information.
Topo Map: Castle Dome Peak.