| Home | Warning | Gear | Books | Photography | Hikes | Links | Flora & Fauna | Etiquette | About Me | What's New |


Hassayampa River Canyon Wilderness

Summary: A river hike through low land desert in a cow trodden 'wilderness' area near Wickenburg.
Directions: From Phoenix drive to Wickenburg, entering the town on Highway 60. Between mileposts 111 and 110 turn right (the second right before a McDonalds) onto El Recreo Dr. The road soon merges with Constellation Rd (zero your odometer here). Constellation is paved at first, but becomes well graded dirt after 2.1 miles. Stay on the main road throughout the drive, you'll see considerable evidence of mining activity along the route. At the 3 mile point, stay right at a road sign indicating a fork, at the 8.5 mile point stay straight (towards the Williams Ranch). The road becomes steeper and rougher past this point. At the 13.3 mile point stay right at a split, then soon after passing a red sign that reads 'BLM Parking', stay right at the next fork and drive a short distance to the parking area with register at the end (16 miles).
Note: This parking area is on private land (you'll see the Williams ranch on a hill a short distance down the road). Both the book referenced below and the BLM web site suggest hikers ask permission to access the wilderness from this trailhead.
Road Conditions: High Clearance Vehicle - roads may be impassible after heavy rains
Navigation: Easy
Length: Turn around when you want.
Date Hiked: December 2005
Weather Conditions: Cloudy and warm
Required Skills: None
Hike Description: From trail register, continue down the dry wash past horse pens and the ranch about a quarter of a mile to the Hassayampa River. From here you can explore up or down canyon. Either way you'll soon have to cross a barbed wire fence, though it's not clear whether the fence is there to keep the cows in the ranch or in the wilderness (since they are on both sides). The easiest route is along the river or one of the many cattle trails that line the banks. If the stream is flowing, it's not worth the effort to keep your feet dry since you'll be crossing it several times as you hike. It's also possible to explore some of the side canyons branching off from the river. The book referenced below described Jesus Canyon (located about 2 miles downstream of the ranch) as 'highly scenic'. The author and his wife hiked down the Hassayampa River to Jesus Canyon, then walked up this drainage a ways before returning. We did not find Jesus Canyon very scenic.
Rating (1-5 stars):
I suppose the allure of this hike is water in the desert, but the degraded nature of the area and profusion of cow pies detracted from the 'wilderness' feel. Perhaps the area is more pristine further away from the ranch. The hike down the river up Jesus Canyon and back was completed in 3.5 hours.
Maps: Click here for a map of the area.
Books: Exploring Arizona Wild Areas - Scott S.
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.

Typical views in the Hassyampa River Canyon Wilderness.