★★★★☆ Moderate / Wickenburg
Get spoiled with amazingly unspoiled views from Vulture Peak’s high saddle! Located less than an hour northwest of Phoenix, near Wickenburg, Vulture Peak Hiking Trail ascends to a narrow break in the jagged cliffs. Here, endless views of immaculate desert stretch to the horizon.
TRAILHEAD: Vulture Mine Road, Wickenburg • DIFFICULTY: MODERATE • DISTANCE: 2 MILEs (4 miles RT) • APPROX. TIME: 2 – 3 HOURS • ELEVATION GAIN: 940 FEET (67 STORIES) • APPROX. CALORIES BURNED: 600-685 • BEST TIME OF YEAR: OCT. – MARCH • PETS: YES • KID FRIENDLY: no • FACILITIES: YES BUT NO WATER • FEES: NONE
From the trailhead, it’s easy to ID Vulture Peak’s craggy summit, jutting above the desert floor. The hike kicks off with a gentle, mile-long ramble through pristine desert. It crosses wide arroyos and a primitive 4-wheel drive road, that leads to a second trailhead midway up the mountain.
Henry Wickenburg discovered gold in the Vulture Mountains in 1863. Both the Vulture mine and ghost town are a couple of miles past the trailhead on Vulture Mine Road.
Directions: From the intersection of I-17 and AZ-74 / Carefree Highway (north of Phoenix) turn west onto AZ-74 and drive for 30 miles to the T-intersection with AZ-60. Turn right / north onto AZ-60 and continue for 10.75 miles to Vulture Mine Road. Turn left / south onto Vulture Mine Road and drive 7 miles to the trailhead for Vulture Peak Hiking Trail and Syndicate Wash. It’s between mile markers 19 and 20, on the left side of the road.
If you’ve got a 4-wheel drive vehicle, a primative dirt road leads to a second trailhead, midway up the mountain.