The Hassayampa is a usually dry river that flows from north of Wickenburg to south of I-10. It offers numerous places along its length for off-roaders to play around in its sandy bottom.
Where to go:
There are several locations to set up camp and spend the day. Some are closed to the public (see below) but all locations are listed.
The northernmost place is in Morristown just southeast of Wickenburg. To get here, take U.S. 60 northwest from Surprise 22 miles to Gates Road. Turn left and follow the road an additional 2.3 miles until you reach the Hassayampa River. Parking is available east of the road and on the banks of the Hassayampa.
Heading south is the Hassayampa River as it passes underneath I-10 (NOW CLOSED). This location was reached by taking I-10 west 30 miles from the West Valley to exit 103 (339th Ave.). This place has since been shut down to control dust and property owners have changed.
Further south is the Hassayampa River at Salome Highway. To reach this location, head west on I-10 from the West Valley for 30 miles to exit 103 (339th Ave) and turn left. Head south for 5.4 miles and turn left onto Salome Highway. Follow this for 2.7 miles. Once you cross over the railroad tracks, turn left off the highway and follow dirt road east to the Hassayampa River.
At Morristown: This location has the most riding available. Heading south from Gates Road takes riders past the stunning red cliffs of the Hassayampa. You can ride many more miles south of here but may have to open and close a lot of gates. Heading north from Gates Road, the river bottom gets narrower as it approaches the railroad bridge. Depending on the time of year, it usually gets wetter the more upstream you go since the Hassayampa River Preserve is near Wickenburg and usually has flowing water. There are great trails that begin west of the Hassayampa and take you to old mining ruins and pristine desert as they wind through the Vulture Mountains. Be sure to check out Vulture Mountain Trail while you are here.
At I-10 (CLOSED): This used to be an awesome place to ride. Close to home, wide open areas to open up your vehicle, and challenging hills to play on. Unfortunately, this area has been closed down for quite a few years with no foreseeable re-opening. There is a cement plant north of I-10 that owns property along Tonopah-Salome Highway. Don’t trespass and stay out of this area for now.
At Salome Highway: This is a smaller area to ride but it a good alternative to the I-10 location. There is a railroad bridge that serves as a good place to set up camp underneath. There is about a mile on either side of the bridge that provides a good place to open up the quads or whatever vehicle you have. At the south end, the Hassayampa River narrows and is fed by nearby irrigation. Try to stay to the north of it as the trails here are eventually disappear as you approach Old Highway 80.
Notes & Trail Ratings:
Overall, the Hassayampa River provides a fun place to get out and enjoy some time in the dirt. While it isn’t ideal for trail riding, in Morristown, there are plenty of trails to explore west of the river bottom. It should go without saying, but do not enter the river bottom if it is flooded or if rain is in the forecast anywhere upstream. You can spend 1 hour or 1 week having fun in the Hassayampa River.