There are miles of horse trails weaving through the desert southwest of Wickenburg on BLM and State land. Maintained by the wranglers at Rancho de los Caballeros, these trails wind over and around hills, gently climb to ridges, and offer excellent views of Wickenburg, the ranch, Vulture Peak, and the surrounding Sonoran desert.
Wickenburg resident Maria Langer will lead a 3-4 mile easy hike along the same horse trails she rode for years on horseback. Highlights include a wide range of desert geology and plant life -- and there's a pretty good chance we'll spot a few deer. (She saw two separate groups on her test hike in November.) And if Maria gets the trails just right, we'll pass close by one of the many mineshafts in the Wickenburg area.
This hike is dog and kid friendly. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
About the pot luck: Because Wickenburg has few outdoor dining opportunities on a Sunday -- this town has more churches per capita than any other town Maria knows -- Maria is offering up her home as both the starting point for the hike and the location for a pot-luck lunch. Bring a dish to share, store it in Maria's fridge or oven (on low) or cooler. Maria will provide the plates, forks, cups, and soft drinks. A gas grill is on hand -- if you can get it lighted, you can grill on it. It might be a good idea to bring some chairs -- they're limited at Casa de Maria.
To get there:
FROM PHOENIX AREA: Take route 60 to downtown Wickenburg. Stay on 60 westbound to Vulture Mine Road at Safeway Supermarket. Turn southbound on Vulture Mine Road (left from town).
FROM PRESCOTT: Take Route 89 through Yarnell and congress. Head south on Route 93. Turn right (southbound) at first Traffic light (Vulture Mine Road). Next traffic light is at Route 60 and Safeway. Go straight across intersection to stay on Vulture Mine Road.
FROM VULTURE MINE ROAD AT SAFEWAY IN WICKENBURG: Head southbound. In less than a mile, make a left on Duffy (NOT DUFF) and then a quick right on Steinway. Follow that to Homestead and turn left. Pavement ends but road is maintained. Go to end at 328th Avenue and make a right. Go to end and make a left down the steep dirt road. At bottom, make a left onto the pavement and then the first right onto Maria's driveway. Follow that across the wash and up the hill to her house. Parking up there is limited; you can also park down in the wash (if heavy rain is not expected). Stow your pot luck food and gather for the hike. Hike leaves from her house.
Google says it should take about an hour to get there from the 101 & 17... or 1 1/2 hrs from Fiesta Mall.
Lost? Call Maria at[masked] for directions.