Harquahala Mountain Trail

Salome, Arizona 85348

Harquahala Mountain Trail

Harquahala Mountain Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This trail has been upgraded by the BLM in recent times, but it is still a steep, rough, exciting drive leading to the reward of the highest summit in southwest Arizona. The start of the trail is well marked from the paved Eagle Eye Road. The first few miles are easygoing as the trail travels along a graded dirt road snaking toward Blue Tank Canyon. A track on the left goes to the scattered remains of the Alaska Mine, 1.2 miles from the start of the trail. A few miles into the canyon, the trail starts to climb and it doesn’t stop climbing until it reaches the summit of Harquahala Mountain, 6.8 miles later. The shelf road continues all the way to the top.

Special Attractions: Vehicle corridor passing between two wilderness areas; Hiking access to Hummingbird Springs Wilderness and Big Horn Mountains Wilderness; Very scenic trail passing through remote desert area. High-clearance 4WDs are required. This trail has either a rough, rutted surface, rocks up to 9 inches, mud and deep sand that may be impassable for inexperienced drivers, or stream crossings up to 18 inches deep. Certain sections may be steep enough to cause traction problems, and you may encounter very narrow shelf roads with steep drop-offs and tight clearance between rocks or trees."

More Harquahala Mountain Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Charles A. Wells & Matt Peterson
"A BLM National Byway which climbs to the top of 5,681- ft. Harquahala Peak, the highest mountain in southwestern Arizona. At the top, find an observatory built by the Smithsonian Institution in use from 1920 to 1925. Information panels explain the history. You’ll find picnic tables and plenty of parking room—a great spot for lunch. Large solar collectors at the top are used by the Central Arizona Project."

Harquahala Mountain Trail Trip Reports

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Just did this trail today and I will say that the trail has been vastly improved since the last time I went up it about 4 years ago. Especially near the top where it used to be a lot more rocky and required more clearance. Now the trail is improved enough that I would say about any stock 4x4 could do it. I would reclassify this trail as "easy"... extra clearance no longer needed with a little careful driving, but well worth the time! Very enjoyable trail. Fantastic panoramic view from the top! Fascinating to see a bit of history up there as well. Love it!
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The bottom part of this trail is a great place to camp of have a BBQ. The upper section is twisty, rocky, and somewhat steep though not overwhelming. I went up in my TJ and found it easy. I don't know if it ever rains in this location but you do not want to be on the upper trail when its wet. All traction would quickly disappear and the several hundred foot drop offs would certainly wreck you day.
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Just did this and the info here is dead on. The last 4 miles or so can be pretty tough. I have brand new Duratracs and I am extremely impressed with their grip and can see the demand for a tire with a solid hold. I would NOT travel that road after, during, or with a threat of precip. No way! There are FEW places to turn around or let a passing vehicle give way.

It is worth the trip to the top. Not much left of the observatory (building only) but you are rewarded with a stunning view 360 degrees...you can see for miles. The temp for August was pleasant with nice breeze at the top.

Sign in at the info area before you head up. I put down what time I headed to the summit and when I returned. It helps them track traffic and also lets them know you are still up there. Not sure how much they check it...but worth the scribble. Enjoy!
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If you are looking for a remote trail where you won't encounter anyone else, this is the trail for you. There is a main trail that runs all the way to the top but in the beginning, there are several smaller trails that branch off. It's pretty windy/chilly at the top, if you don't plan to stay there overnight, head back down early, it's almost impossible to see your way down after dark. The last few miles are not so much steep but very very rocky. I managed with a trail-rated Jeep Cherokee. Definitely a desert environment with lots of wide open canyons and tons of cactus. I would definitely revisit the Peak again.

Harquahala Mountain Trail Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
1.5 hours
1,900 feet
Trailhead Elevation
5,600 feet
Top Elevation
USGS Weldon Hill, Harquahala Mt., Salome; BLM Salome
Local Maps

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