|Smith Peak is the highest point of the Harcuvar Mountains, which are located in northeast La Paz County, parallel to the Harquahala Mountains. The two ranges hem in the McMullen Valley and highway US-60, along with the small towns of Salome, Wenden and Aguila. Before Interstate-10 was completed in the 1980s, this highway was the major connector between Phoenix and Los Angeles. The towns linger in a state of arrested decay, a throwback to the old days of the mid-20th Century. They are popular with winter snowbirds, who live in giant RV "cities" strung out along this highway.|
A number of communications towers are located on the summit, and a newer gravel road goes all the way to the top. With a beefy vehicle, one can drive to the summit. However, the road makes a very nice wide "trail", and even parking below close to the desert flats, the round trip hike isn't too long, about 7 or 8 miles. It's a good workout hike, and a good chance to have a whole mountain to yourself. This is a rarely-visited peak, given its remote location.
The range also features Harcuvar Peak, another highly-prominent mountain, located about a dozen miles west of Smith Peak's summit.
For list chasers, Smith Peak is a range highpoint as well as a highly prominent mountain, with 2,792 feet of prominence. The best times to hike are between October and April. Summer is very hot.
|First, get to the town of Aguila. This tiny settlement (about 300 people) is located in extreme northwest Maricopa County along US-60, about 75 miles from Phoenix and 25 miles west of Wickenburg. If coming from the west, exit Interstate-10 at the Vicksburg Exit, go north to US-60, then drive another 40 miles to Aguila.|
In Aguila, go north on Eagle Eye Road, the main dirt road north out of town. Go five miles to a T-intersection (now inside Yavapai County). Go left (west) and drive about 3 miles to a small handmade sign "Smith Pk" pointing to the road you need to turn onto.
The next couple of miles as you drive northwest demands a little care. You are driving through a gravelly arroyo. As long as you keep a steady speed, you'll be fine. If you stop, there is a chance you may get stuck in the gravel. Small passenger vehicles are not advised. High clearance is preferred. Four-wheel drive is nice to have, but not a minimum requirement unless you plan to drive all the way to the top.
Once out of the gravel wash, stay on the main road, passing some stone ruins. The road bends a little more north, and you can see it wiggling up the mountainside. You will need to drop into and then out of a large drainage. This is where smaller vehicles will need to stop. Afterwards, the road steepens. There are a few pullouts along the way in case you want to stop mid-way up.
Mountain ConditionsContact: BLM Field Office in Lake Havasu City for the latest information. Their number is 928-505-1200. Topographical Map: Smith Peak. Note: the newer road is not shown on this map. It shows the older road, which should be ignored.
CampingYou can camp in the desert flats below the peak. The land is mostly BLM. Leave no trace, as usual.
Aguila is a very small farming town with the most basic of stores. If you want a hotel, Wickenburg (about 25 miles east) has plenty.