Hualapai Peak was my goal after spending a week in Arizona chasing County Highpoints and Prominence Peaks. On November 17, 2006 I tagged Gila County Highpoints with Dean, Rick, and Bill. Late Bill and I tagged Yavapai County’s Mt. Union for my 200th County Highpoint. Bill and I said goodbye and I headed solo to Mohave County and Hualapai Peak. I had good directions to find the trailhead, but it was dark long before getting to the Hualapai Mountain County Park.
I registered, paid my $6 at the gate, and slowly made my up through the park. I kept climbing all the way up to where there is a locked gate across the road. I pulled into the vacant campsite on the left and car camped there for the night. It had been a long day of driving and I was glad to finally get some rest.
Early the next morning I headed up the road around the locked gate. In about 100 ft there is a well marked trail on the left and I took the trail up through the trees. This is a great trail that is easy to follow. The trail gains elevation and has several directional signs. When I hit the Potato Patch Trail, I turned right, climbed over the ridge, and past a snow shelter. The trail continued a little ways before it met the road again coming around the hill from the right. I followed the hill down to a “Y” intersection.
Here I goofed and took the right fork. I climb mountains and generally I want to go uphill. The right fork went uphill, the left fork went downhill. I followed the road up, climbed a gate blocking access up the road, and continued all the way up to where there were several communication towers and buildings. I was on top of Hayden Peak and could now see Hualapai Peak off to the southeast. Hayden Peak is only about 30 feet shorter than Hualapai and Hualapai is “only” a half mile away along a ridgeline.
I could see there was no shortcut along the ridge to Hualapai, so I descended back down the road, losing about 850ft in elevation and then took the left fork that I forsook earlier. The road continued down, through a boyscout area and lost another 300 ft in elevation down to about 7,200ft. When the road took a turn almost to the north and looked like it would continue losing elevation, I decided I could just climb directly towards Hualapai Peak.
Climbing directly up towards the peak was not difficult and there were several game trails through the brushy areas. I kept climbing and at about 7,800 ft I came across an old roadbed. From other Trip Reports I knew there was some kind of shabby road to the summit of Hualapai. I followed the roadbed and soon it met up with another road coming up from the north. This one had footprints on it, so now I knew I was on the right road. No one would be out here hiking unless they were going to the summit of Hualapai.
The road climbed steeply and had a few switchbacks before getting close to the summit. I could then see the route up the north side of the summit rocks and I made my up these last few hundred feet and onto the summit. I climbed back down and found a way around to the second summit boulder, so that I could say I actually stood on both boulders. It was a beautiful day and I took my time to eat lunch and enjoy the view in all directions.
On the way down, I found my old roadbed that I came up, and decided to follow that instead of the more traveled route. The old roadbed headed down and over towards Hayden Peak. About half way over to Hayden the road went down into the headwaters of a dry creek and headed south instead of north where I wanted to go. I left the road and followed the creek down. Soon it turned pretty brushy and I left the creek and tried to make my way on the left side down towards the boyscout area. After beating the brush for a while and crossing over a ridge I found the boyscout area and knew I was finally going to find the way back to my car.
I covered an extra couple of miles with my excursion up Hayden Peak and gained some extra elevation too. Altogether, I traveled about 10.1 miles and gained 3,350ft in elevation. It took 5.5 hours before getting back to the campground. I’m glad I did this hike in November. It would have been brutal in August.