Vulture Mountain Trail
Take a fun and relatively short ride through some remote and scenic desert and mining areas near Wickenburg. The trail remains mostly easy, getting rough and narrow in certain areas but isn’t overly challenging. Suitable vehicles include OHV’s like quads, motorcycles, and rhino’s. If you take an SUV make sure it’s got good clearance and four wheel drive.
Where to go:
From Peoria (use exit 11 if coming along Loop 101) take U.S. 60/Grand Ave. northwest for 28 miles. Take a left on Gates Rd. in Morristown and follow that for 2.3 miles. Parking is off to the right in a wide wash or to the left in the wide open Hassayampa River.
Begin this trail by heading west across the sandy and usually dry Hassayampa River. Proceed through a gate at 0.2 miles and close it behind you. Stay left at 0.4 miles as you climb through a mining area. The trail forks as it loops around the hill - stay right at 0.6 miles. Stay on the main trail until you get to the 2 mile mark, and then stay right at the fork. The trail roughens and narrows as your cross several washes as you head north. Make an important left turn at 3.0 miles and then cross a wide wash at 3.1 miles. Make another important left at 3.3 miles where the trail splits again. At 3.8 miles the trail winds alongside a wash until you come to a clearing at 4.0 miles. Off to the right here is a stone cabin that has a collapsed roof. Off to the left are some old cans and a bedframe. This is a great place to stop for a break and check out the cabin and take in some of the great views of the mountains around.
Continuing on the trail, stay right at 4.2 miles and then enter a wash at 4.3 miles. Follow the trail through the wash and make an important left turn out of the wash at 4.5 miles. Climb uphill then take an immediate left at the ‘T’. Stay left at 4.7 miles and cross a wash at 4.75 miles. Enter another wash at 4.9 miles and follow as it weaves in and out of the wash. Stay straight in the wash at 5.25 miles where a well-traveled road goes left back to the staging area. The trail exits the wash at 5.5 miles. The trail climbs at passes close to the Mammoth Spar Mine remnants. This is a neat place to check out but use caution, there are fenced of mines close to the trail. This is also a good place to see some spring wildflowers. At 6.0 miles pass through a clearing with the remains of another smaller mine off to the right.
Stay left just after this as the trail forks yet again. Pass through a gate at 6.1 miles as the trail turns south and then west. Stay right at 6.9 miles where the road straight leads to a wildlife water collection area. Driver’s choice at 7.1 miles and then enter a wide, dry wash just after 7.5 miles. Follow the track south through the wash for a good distance until 8.9 miles where you’ll turn sharp left out of the wash. Stay straight where other roads go right and left then continue right at 9.25 miles. Stay left at 10.0 miles then pass through a gate at 10.3 miles. Immediately after the gate, take a left and then take a right into the wash. Turn left out of the wash at 10.4 miles. Continue straight at 10.5 and then again at 10.6 miles. Trail enters washed out area at 11.0 miles and stay on the main road ignoring all side roads until you get to 12.1 miles. Briefly follow a wash and then turn right onto the main trail at 12.2 miles. At 12.8 miles, stay straight through the intersection and then at 12.9 miles, you have completed the loop. Follow the trail an additional 2 miles back to the staging area (same path you took from the staging area.
Notes & Trail Ratings:
Overall this trail is moderately easy. It’s got a few rough patches but for the most part it’s hard packed dirt road. Pin stripping may occur in some tighter places if you have a bigger vehicle. Because this trail crosses so many dry riverbeds and wash beds, do not ride this trail in inclement weather or if rain is in the forecast. The main reason this trail is rated a “4” is because of the route finding which can be very tricky at times. Knowing where you are going and using good judgment and this will be a fun little trail to do. Allow for about 2-3 hours to complete the entire trail, more if you stop for the sights.