Belmont Mountain Trail
Cross wide-open farmland and weave your way towards Belmont Mountain on this moderately easy trail west of Phoenix. The trail climbs towards numerous remnants and mines around Belmont Mountain before ending at Vulture Mine road, offering plenty to be explored.
Where to go:
From the interchange of I-10 & Loop 101, head west on I-10 for 37 miles. Take exit 98 (Wintersburg Road) and turn right. Turn left at Indian School road. After 1 mile, turn right onto 387th Ave. Follow this north for four miles past dairy farms and a few small houses. The road turns to dirt near a row of houses and then turns left to become Northern Ave. Follow this west 1 mile and then turn right onto 395th Ave. Bear left and follow the road for an additional 2.5 miles until it crosses the CAP (Central Arizona Project). The best staging is found off to the right just after the CAP. Coordinates for this are: 33°35'19.86"N 112°55'15.28"W. Reset trip odometer as you leave the staging area just after crossing over the CAP.
Because the staging for this trail is so far into the trail, other vehicles will be traveling about 5 miles more to get to the CAP where the trail “officially” starts. Take note as you pass, if you want to loop back to this point after completing the trail (slightly more difficult) this is where you will come out.
Begin riding on the wide, flat trail north from the CAP. Stay right at 0.8 miles and stay left at 1.3 miles. Stay right when the trail forks again at 2.5 miles. The trail crosses a wash and begins to climb and become rockier. After you round a small hill, you will begin to see Belmont Mountain which has distinctive mining activity on its south face. At 4.3 miles, the trail goes around a washed out section and begins to climb to Belmont Mine. The right side of this portion of the trail is heavily eroded, make sure to stay as far left as possible to avoid any unnecessary challenge. On a quick side note, in the past we had to help someone with a 2WD stock truck get out of this small ditch he got stuck in while trying the trail. The hill isn’t hard but clearance and careful tire placement makes it easier.
At 4.5 miles, you will come to a wide open intersection southeast of Belmont Mountain. This is a good place to stop and walk around to check out the area. The very first left travels back to Belmont Mine (now fenced off) and has a nice overlook at the trail up to this point. The trail is blocked to vehicular access 0.1 miles from the intersection but is worth the quick walk to see. There are also mine shafts up above the main clearing at the Belmont Mine if you feel like hiking up the mountain a bit. Immediately to the right from the main intersection are more mining foundations to be seen. Continuing straight through the main intersection will take you past a small old building on the right, and more mines to explore. Off to the left at 4.9 miles is another side trip to the north side of Belmont Mountain which has several very deep vertical shafts (that are caged off) that are very neat to check out. If you do this, return to the main trail and continue north. The trail turns east and splits again. To the right is the Morning Star Mine 0.5 miles down the trail. At this point you have to make a decision. If you are on OHV’s that need to return to the staging spot by the CAP, you can either re-trace your route back to there at this point, or continue south of the Morning Star Mine an additional 5 miles on a more difficult (moderate – 4 to 5 rating) back to the CAP. Other vehicles that want to get to Vulture Mine Road should head 0.5 miles back from the Morning Star Mine north to pick back up the rest of the trail.
Continuing north after exploring Belmont Mine and the Morning Star Mine gets slightly more difficult. The trail weaves in and out of rocky washes at its head north. There are really no side trails to worry about route finding until 10.3 miles. Stay straight as two lesser roads join from the left as you pass the Belmont Mountain Gravel Pit. The trail continues north an additional 1.5 miles before reaching the intersection of Aguila Road & Vulture Mine Road. North here will take you to Wickenburg while turning right will take you back to I-10. There is a wide lot on the northeast side that can be used for staging if you want to ride the route in reverse.
Notes & Trail Ratings:
This trail is only about 15 miles (with small side trips) if you follow it north to Vulture Mine Road. Allow for 3-4 hours to complete the entire trail as well as stopping time to explore the area around Belmont Mountain. If you are on OHV’s, you can ride to Belmont Mountain and back or even to Vulture Mine Road and back in which case may take a little longer depending on which route you take. There are numerous side trails to explore. The through trail is rated a ‘4’ because of some of the washed out areas as well as the climb to Belmont Mountain. Because of erosion, high clearance is required. You may be able to get by without 4-wheel drive, but I would recommend having it for some of the tricky spots. If you take the alternate route (shown in blue in the Google Earth file) things get a little tougher and you definitely need 4-wheel drive. This trail is great for any types of OHV’s (ATV’s, dirt bikes, side-by-sides).