Little Harquahala Mtn. Trail
Feel like taking an easy backcountry road with great views and historic places to explore along the way? Then this trail through the historic Harquahala Mining District should suffice! This easy, wide dirt road starts at I-10 and ends in the town of Salome. It can be taken in either direction and is a fun but quick shortcut through the Little Harquahala Mountains.
Where to go:
You’ll want to head west on I-10 for about 75 miles (from the Phoenix Metro area). Take exit 53, Hovatter Rd. Turn north onto Hovatter Rd. (which becomes Harquahala Rd, shortly after). Staging area for trailers can be found off to the left just after the pavement ends. The trail begins to the north.
Begin riding north on the easy and wide dirt road. Stay to the right where the signed road to left goes to the town of Hope. Road forks at 3.4 miles, stay left as road to right leads to a private mining operation. The easy trail continues north as it winds gently through the mountains. At 4.4 miles, cross two washes as you approach the Harquahala Mining District. A turnoff to the right at 4.5 miles leads to numerous mining remnants at the Harquahala Mine. Be sure to stop here and explore the area.
Old adobe buildings, clay and rock tailings, concrete buildings and foundations and plenty of mine adits dot the surrounding mountain side. This area is perfect for exploring, taking pictures, and taking a step back in time. Once you are done exploring the main Harquahala Mine area, make your way back to the graded road. This side trip will add about a mile to the trip odometer and by the time you get back to the main road, your trip odometer should read about 5.5 miles. Continue north on Harquahala Rd. to Harquahala Cemetery, off to the left just after the 5.8 mile mark. There are numerous (about 30) unmarked graves, all are people who lived and died at the Harquahala Mine. A grave covered in cement may have been a “more significant” citizen.
After you are done exploring this small cemetery, continue north into the Little Harquahala Mts. staying on Harquahala Rd. The final side trip leads to the Golden Eagle Mine. To get here, turn right off the main road just after the 6 mile mark of the trip. Make a sharp left at 6.2 miles and turn right at 6.4 miles to reach a small “parking” area. From this point, you have a perfect vantage point to explore the many mines that dot the mountain to your east. We managed to find two horizontal adits and three vertical shafts. Use caution as you explore this area and make sure not to overexert yourself hiking. After you are done, return to your vehicle.
Continue north staying left at 6.5 miles and 6.6 miles. At 6.9 miles, you should rejoin the main graded road. The Harquahala Road begins to climb and wind more as it nears a pass at 8.6 miles. The road then gently descends as it makes its way to Salome. The road passes the Rio del Monte Mine (private property) at 9, 9.3, and 9.5 mile markers. Road passes residential area and then ends at 12.1 miles at the intersection of Harquahala Rd. & Monroe St. (soon as the paved road begins). From this point, you can either continue north on the paved road into the town of Salome or return to the start via the way you came (roughly 11 miles back to I-10). Consider spending the rest of the day further exploring the many old mining trails in the area or other trails south of I-10.
Notes & Trail Ratings:
This ride is a very fun and easy-going trail. We rate this trail a 1 mostly because it remains wide and graded for the entire length (excluding side trips). Anything from passenger cars to any type of OHV will be able to complete this trail in good weather. The entire trail round-trip and with side trips is just over 24 miles, allow for 3-4 hours. For information on the history of the Harquahala Mine, visit our history page about it (coming soon) or check out another video here. Be sure to use the links at the top of this page to download the GPS tracks in Google Earth, see trail pictures and video, and find our current weather for this trail.