In this trip, get an amazing view from the highest point in the southwest, Harquahala Peak. This 5,681 ft. peak offers an amazing 360° panoramic views as well as a history lesson.
Being by taking the I-10 west to exit 81, Salome Rd. Once here turn right and follow the road for about 9 miles. At this point you should turn right onto Eagle Eye Rd. and follow that for just over 8 miles. But beware! The sign for the turnoff is directly in front of the trail so you may need to turn around to get to it. If you don’t though, simply turn left onto it. Taking the first right will take you to the parking area, a vaulted toilet and some informational signs. These signs are very interesting and are worth the look. Also by these signs is a sign-in box, one of the two on the trail. To get back to the main trail simply follow the road and turn right back onto the main trail. Reset your trip odometer here. At .84 miles, stay right. To the left leads to the Alaska Gold mine via a small narrow trail. Stay left at one mile mark. To the left also leads to the mine but this route is a little easier. From here on out, the trail begins climbing. You will gain over 3,000 ft in just 10 miles. The trail is also marked by waypoint markers which make finding the correct path easier. At 2.15 is a picnic area with seats, a good place to stop for a quick break to take some pictures. At 2.4 miles, the trail begins to follow a rocky creek bed. Bear left uphill at 3.5 miles. The right is an optional side route to a mine. At 5½ miles the trail begins climbing up tight a set off small switchbacks. At 8.1 miles, the trail becomes difficult as it climbs a series of steep, rocky hills and switchbacks. A cemented portion of this part of the trail prevents erosion as well as allow riders to quickly climb it. At just about 10 miles, you reach the end of the trail. The best place to park is probably at the top in the provided area. At the top, there is an enclosed CAP building with solar panels. Also, there is a small helipad. Up a small little hill (near the wind sock) is the summit. There is a point marking the top as well as a peanut butter jar with a notepad in it. Here is a place started for people to sign in and tell about their journey there. Walking down the path toward the observatory, are informational signs. Along with breathtaking views, there is a lot to see at the top. The observatory was used by Smithsonian Scientists from its construction in 1920 to 1925. Here they studied the sun and its affect on the weather. Make sure to sign in at the guestbook’s at the top and bottom.
There are three side-trips on this trail. They don’t take long and they have some neat sights. The first one is on the top of the mountain. When heading down take your first left (located at 10.35 miles). Follow this trail southwest. This trail is very challenging and should only be completed with a quad or 4-wheel drive. Turn left and ride through a rocky creek bed until it ends at the remains of a mining camp. Take some time to check out this area; there are a lot of ‘Hidden treasures’. Once back on the main trail reset your odometer (or reset it when you pass this trail if you choose not to take it). Wind (or coast) your way down the trail back towards the start. The second side trip is at 6.05 miles in which you bear left off the trail. After a short ride through a rocky creek and come to a clearing with mining buildings. Continuing up hill, you make your way to a mine, however the trail is also steep and rocky. The third and final side trip is at 8.43 miles. Continue straight for 6.7 miles to get to the Alaska Gold Mine. A short walk takes you by some remnants and even by the main shaft. Simply go back or go through the creek and turn left to get back to the main trail.
The trail is about 20 miles and should take 2-3 hours plus an extra 2 for the side trips. This is probably the most user-friendly place we have been to. Trail condition (as of February 2010) is good, but somewhat rocky.
Status: Open | Trail Type: Out & back | Length: 20 miles round trip | Approx. Time: 2-3 hours