Harquahala Mountain hold both the distinctions of being South Western Arizona’s highest peak and La Paz County’s highest summit. This mountain rises about 3,360 feet from the desert floor. Since this peak sits between Phoenix and LA, smog can often fill the valleys obstructing good views. Although, on a good day the views can be extraordinary. One could see the Four Peaks east of Phoenix, Hualapai Peak just south of Kingman, Signal Peak and all the way down to Yuma, the Colorado river basin and clear into California. The views can be about 1/3rd of the state of Arizona.
The mountain itself has a historic background. From 1921 to 1925, the mountain summit was used by the Smithsonian Institution as an observatory to study the effects of the Sun on the Earth's climate. The trail is an old mule trail, which has a camp about one mile from the summit.
There is also a 4-wheel drive road on the north side of the mountain, which you do not see on the trail until you are almost at the summit.
Harquahala means "running water high up" in one of the early native tribe.
Bereau of Land Management (BLM) manages the trail head. As with most trail heads they do a very good job. There is quite a bit of parking complete with parking spaces, an out house, BLM information kiosk, and even information displays on the trail at points of interest.
The top of the mountain is even complete with parking spaces, and a picnic area. You would not expect this in the middle of nowhere at the end of a high clearance road.
From Phoenix, you can get to the turn off to the trail head by either driving west on Highway 60 out of Wickenburg or by taking I-10 west and circling around. For the latter, take I-10 west to Exit 81 for Salome Road. Turn right off the exit ramp and follow the road 31 miles to its end in the small town of Salome. From Salome, turn right onto Highway 60. The dirt road to the trail head is located on the south side of Highway 60 between mileposts 70 and 71. The road is rather inconspicuous, but is marked by a lone palm tree on the north side of the highway. There is nothing marking this road on the south side of the road so be sure to look for the palm tree. Turn south on this small & somewhat bumpy dirt road and drive through the gate. Immediately past the gate stay to the right, then remain to the left at any branches as you drive the remaining 2.1 miles to the end of the road.
This is a high clearance road only.
I have chosen to only put the directions to the trail head to climb this mountain. If you want the directions to the cheaters way-the road, you’ll have to search the web for it.
When To Climb
Summer months can be way to hot to consider this. Winter months are better, but prepare for it to be cold on top. Best hiking months are probably November-April.
Can camp out on the summit or at the trail head. Just bring a lot of water. There are no water sources.
Hot in the summer. Nice in the winter. Might have a little bit of snow near the summit in the winter