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Hassayampa River Preserve, AZ
Description 23 Triplogs 0 Topics
RatedFavorite   Wish List Region
 Phoenix NW
Difficulty 1.5    Route Finding
Distance Round Trip 4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,240 feet
Elevation Gain 200 feet
Accumulated Gain 300 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 Hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.5
Interest Perennial Creek
Course Muli-Loop Hike
Author Joel Hazelton
Descriptions 15
Routes 2
Photos 817
Trips 388 map ( 1,878 miles )
Age 29
Location Phoenix, AZ
Rated Viewed All Mine Friends
22  2014-01-12 Randal Schulhaus
4  2013-07-28 burntlizard
27  2013-04-14 Outdoor Lover
5  2013-04-13 burntlizard
10  2012-06-16 burntlizard
15  2012-03-17 azmuslima
3  2012-03-03 burntlizard
9  2012-03-03 burntlizard
3  2012-02-13 nahimana222
5  2011-04-06 JulieBoisvert
10  2011-01-15 cabel
12  2011-01-09 nahimana222
Page 1,  2
Trailhead Forecast
Historical Weather
Wilderness Hassayampa River Canyon
Backpack - No
Seasons - ALL
Dogs not allowed
Alternative Routes
Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
3.2  Joshua Forest Scenic Parkway
3.3  Constellation Road Mining District
5.1  Sophie's Flat
7.2  Dana's Arch
7.9  Dinosaur Wash
8.0  Vulture Peak
[ View More! ]
     Diesel Locomotive
     Grave - Identified
     Informational/Interpretive Tra
     American Bullfrog
     American Robin
     Anna's Hummingbird
     Ash-Throated Flycatcher
     Black-chinned Hummingbird
     Broad-billed Hummingbird
     Brown-Crested Flycatcher
   Brown-headed Cowbird
     Cooper's Hawk
     Costa's Hummingbird
     Desert Spiny Lizard
     House Finch
     Lowland Leopard Frog
     Mallard Duck
     Mourning Cloak Butterfly
   Rufous Hummingbird
     Summer Tanager
   Tropical Kingbird
     Vermilion Flycatcher
     Willow Flycatcher
     Yellow Warbler
   Yellow-Breasted Chat
     Zebra-tailed lizard
     Christmas Cholla
     Desert Marigold
     Fremont Cottonwood*
     Pincushion Cactus
     Sacred Datura

This is the desert?
by Joel Hazelton

I am truly surprised that I have not heard anything about the Hassayampa River Preserve on Hike Arizona yet. Coming from the west side of town, I believe it is the closest perennial water to where I live.

I left my apartment in north Phoenix around 4:20 AM and got out to the rest stop about 5 miles southeast of Wickenburg at 5:20 AM. Although the preserve opens at 7 AM during the summer (8 AM during other seasons) the river is accessible through a quick hop and some well worn footpaths from this rest stop. The sun had just begun to illuminate the monsoon clouds on this 75 degree morning in late July. The previous nights showers left the grass and foliage damp and the colors saturated. The purpose of this trip for me was photography, so I quickly waded through the narrow, gentle river to find a spot in the clear water to set up my tripod before the soft morning light was gone. Fallen logs produce small cascades on the river and make for some nice compositions. A roll of film and hour or two later I realize I did not bring any extra rolls, curse myself, and head off towards the preserve.

At 7:00 am sharp I arrive at the preserve and check in at the visitor center, where the lady working inside is clearly excited to meet somebody as young as myself enthusiastic enough to forego Friday night partying to wake up bright and early to enjoy the wilderness on a Saturday morning. She shares plenty of knowledge and history to me while I become ancy to explore before the clouds clear and the temperature rises. I finally walk out the door and begin my trek. I did most of the trails, although not all of them, but some are just sandy and rather uninteresting. The visitor center offers maps and a trail guide you can carry with you. I started with the river ramble trail, which takes off north from the visitor center. It spends most of it's length along a typically dry (and this trip was no exception) monsoon overflow drainage. It then crosses the river and you have the option of Lykes lookout which is a quarter mile huffer up to a lookout point with benches and a nice view of the river below. Next was the Lions trail which goes east from the visitor center, which crosses the river at a most spectacular spot. It was so beautiful and photogenic here that I was hitting myself for not bringing more film. At this point on the trail it leaves the river so I turned around and connected with the Palm Lake loop. Palm Lake was like nothing else I've ever seen. It was a swamp with spectacular birds everywhere and the constant grunt of bullfrogs. This is definitely the closest natural lake to Phoenix. Very odd though... This would be another good spot for photos. After Palm Lake I was finished, as my sweat was causing flies to be a constant bother. I returned the trail guide to the visitor center (if you borrow one for your hike don't steal it!) and started home for a much needed nap.

There is no off trail hiking allowed in the preserve. The Hassayampa runs underground throughout most of it's hundred mile course, but for a few miles, it's crystal clear waters emerge and then disappear again. The cost to enter he preserve is 5 dollars, but it is well worth it, at least once. There is obviously plenty of water in the creek, but just bring your own. A couple of liters is plenty, considering the length of the trails and minimal elevation gain.

Note: Dogs are not allowed unless they are service dogs.


Directions Preferred Months Dec Jan Feb Mar
Water / Source:See Description Above
Preferred Start7 AM Cell Phone SignalYes Sunrise6:20am Sunset6:51pm
Road / VehicleFR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay
Fees / Permit
Special Use

$5 Entrance

To hike
From Phoenix drive west on Route 60 (Grand ave) for about 45 miles until you see signs for the Hassayampa river preserve, about 3 miles southeast of Wickenburg. If you've reached Wickenburg, you've gone too far. It is easier to spot coming from Wickenburg. The rest stop is about 2 miles south of the preserve.
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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