Harquahala Peak

Wickenburg, Arizona

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At 5681 feet, Harquahala Peak is the tallest mountain in southwestern Arizona, and indeed its hulk strikes an impressive profile from miles around. Its geographical stature also made it the ideal spot to locate an early-day observatory. Completed in 1920, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory provided scientists the opportunity to study solar activity. Today the observatory is just a cluster of abandoned buildings, but they nevertheless grace a visit to the summit. Although the top is accessed by a four-wheel-drive road, the 5.5-mile Harquahala Pack Trail—the primary nonmotorized access route to the observatory—offers hikers a highly scenic alternative to bouncing up the steep, rugged road.

Harquahala Peak Professional Review and Guide

"At 5681 feet, Harquahala Peak is the tallest mountain in southwestern Arizona, and indeed its hulk strikes an impressive profile from miles around. Its geographical stature also made it the ideal spot to locate an early-day observatory. Completed in 1920, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory provided scientists the opportunity to study solar activity.

Today the observatory is just a cluster of abandoned buildings, but they nevertheless grace a visit to the summit. Although the top is accessed by a four-wheel-drive road, the 5.5-mile Harquahala Pack Trail—the primary nonmotorized access route to the observatory—offers hikers a highly scenic alternative to bouncing up the steep, rugged road."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Wickenburg
Distance: 11
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 7 hours
Season: Best October to May
Trailhead Elevation: 2,300 feet
Top Elevation: 5,681 feet
Local Contacts: Harquahala Wilderness Area; BLM
Local Maps: USGS Harquahala Mountain
Driving Directions: Directions to Harquahala Peak

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