The Cabeza Prieta Mountains are located in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Arizona. These jagged mountains rise above the desert floor about 25 miles south of Tacna. The highpoint of the range is known as Cabeza Benchmark.
Few people ever visit the Cabeza Prietas. A check of Peakbagger.com reveals only six registered ascents of the highpoint as of February 2018. But for those people willing to venture off the beaten path, the rugged and remote Cabeza Benchmark makes for a worthy goal.
From the town of Tacna on I-8, travel south on Avenue 40E. The pavement ends after one mile. Zero your odometer here. At 1.0 miles, go right. At 4.3 miles, go left. At 7.5 miles, go right. At 12.0 miles, you will come to a large turnaround area. Turn left. At 14.6 miles, turn right. At 19.3 miles, go straight. At 21.8 miles, turn right onto a lesser road. At around 25 miles, you will reach the CPNWR boundary. All vehicles are supposed to stop here since the road ahead is officially off-limits to vehicles. This is where the GPS track begins. However, several faint roads continue further south towards the mountains.
See the attached Peakbagger.com GPS track. It shows the route to the top. The wash is Class 1, the canyon is Class 2, and the top is Class 2/3. From wherever you decide to park, follow the sandy wash southeast to an elevation of about 1,300'. Turn right, and enter the canyon. Climb up the canyon to the saddle just west of the top. Climb up the steep, rock slabs to the summit, where you can enjoy the desert views.
Hiking Distance: 5-7 miles one way, depending where you park. Elevation Gain: 1,700'.
You will need a free permit to enter the Goldwater Range. See the attachment below for info on how to obtain a permit.
External LinksPeakbagger.com Page for Cabeza Benchmark
Goldwater Range Info
Scott Peavy Pictures Gallery
Cabeza Prieta NWR