|Harcuvar Peak is a major summit located in the Harcuvar Mountains of western Arizona, overlooking the towns of Wenden and Salome along US-60 in the McMullen Valley. The peak has an obvious anvil shape to it, its summit ridge appearing as a flattened top as viewed from below. It is one of two highly-prominent mountains in the Harcuvar Range, the other being the range highpoint, Smith Peak. Whereas Smith Peak can be hiked via a jeep road, no such options exist for Harcuvar Peak. One must contend with rough desert tracks and steep, rocky slopes to attain this summit. However, the climbing is short and straight-forward, and the effort is well worth it.|
Relatively few people hike Harcuvar Peak. It is remote from the big cities, and the road net to get to its base is not entirely obvious, forcing one to drive through farms along canal frontage roads and rough, sandy desert tracks. A sturdy vehicle, 4-wheel drive preferred, is needed to get close to the base. The hike itself is a combination of jeep paths and some hefty uphill cross-country hiking. The summit ridge features four potential highest points, all easily visited and all with excellent views.
(This page was adopted Feb 2014 and updated)
|Start in Wenden, a small town on US-60 about 90 minutes drive west of Phoenix (via Interstate-10 and Salome Road, then right on US-60, or via US-60/Grand Avenue through Wickenburg). Turn north onto Alamo Road, and zero the odometer at the railroad tracks. Go north 1.4 mile, then ease left (west) diagonally onto a road that soon fronts a canal. This road would be on the 71 1/2-alignment, but it is unmarked. On the topographical map, it is shown opposite a well at BM-1916.|
Go west on this canal frontage road for 1.6 miles to where the farm fields end. Continue straight (west) another two miles to a fence corner at spot elevation 2027 on the topographical map. Another road meets this road coming from the south. Turn right and pass north through a gate. Beware that there may be a berm up to a foot high that needs to be driven over.
Drive north one mile to spot elevation 2089. Ignore other tracks that cross this road. Ease slightly left (northwest) and continue up the rough desert track. It comes to a 4-way intersection with another track just east of the Doland Mine. Go straight (slightly east) through this 4-way and park wherever you feel comfortable. The road drops into a canyon here and becomes very rough, nearly impassable. Up to here, high-clearance should be sufficient to handle the roads, 4-wheel drive a nice option. The roads are sandy in places. In wet weather, beware of mud especially near the farm fields.
I always carry a shovel in my truck and needed it to pat down and rework the berm to make the passage a little more manageable. Also, pay attention to the various side roads that meet the main road as you drive, especially for the drive out. It is possible these other roads will get you back to pavement and civilization, but I cannot vouch that these other roads don't have hazards of their own.
Mountain ConditionsContact the BLM Lake Havasu Field Office for the latest information. Their number is 928-505-1200.
Topo Maps: Harcuvar Peak; Cunningham Pass.
CampingOne could car-camp along the roads or at the trailhead. This is BLM property. There is no formal camping nearby the immediate area. Wenden and Salome have cheap hotels.
Route InformationThe hike is fairly easy: hike north along the track, but don't go all the way to the saddle. Instead, you want to aim for a steep southeast-trending ridge that comes off the peak toward the road. How you get there is up to you. You'll clearly see that there is a route that bypasses some very rocky and cliffy sections.
Once on the ridge, just bust straight up through the brush and rocks. The grade is steep but not impossible, and very little scrambling is needed. After about a thousand feet, the rocks seem to end and you then work up a steeper slope of smaller scree, but this is short. Soon, you're on the ridge.
Angle left and visit the pointed southwesternmost point with a cairn. Then be sure to hike back north and east along this ridge to be sure all potential highest points were visited. Our opinion was that the northeasternmost point may be highest.
The round trip covers about 5 miles total and about 2,400 feet of gain. You want to wear long pants, sleeves, gloves and have trekking poles or a staff for the steep sections.
The best times to hike are the cooler winter months from November to March. It gets hot fast here, and summers bake at typically 105-115 degrees F.