Feel like taking an easy backcountry road with great views and a great history? 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 either way and is a fun but short shortcut through the Little Harquahala Mountains.
To get there: You’ll want to head west on I-10 for about 75 miles (from the west valley). Take exit 53, Hovatter Rd. Turn north onto Hovatter Rd. (which becomes Harquahala Rd, shortly after).
Staging can be found off to the left just after the pavement ends.
The trail: Begin riding north on the easy, wide dirt road. Stay to the right where 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. Be sure to stop here and explore! 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, 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 unmarked graves (about 30), all of which lived and died at 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 Little Harquahala Mts. 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 6.45 miles and 6.6 miles. At 6.9 miles, you should rejoin the main road. The 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 Mines (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). Consider spending the rest of the day further exploring the many old mining trails in the area or other trails south of I-10.
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. 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). We’ve included a trail video, pictures and weather for this trail to help make your trip as enjoyable as ours was.