Harquahala Smithsonian Observatory was open from 1920 to 1925. This was never a telescope site. Scientist lived atop the mountain and collected data to assist in forecasting weather. The site contained a theodolite for measuring solar activity among many other interesting devices. After five years of use the operation was moved to California. The summit lies just outside the 1990 established Harquahala Mountains Wilderness. It is possible to follow a 10.5 mile 4X4 road to the summit. Options to connect down the east side into West Fork Sunset Canyon look interesting on map but who knows.
Now read on, Ksorensen has contributed a mini summary.
The first two miles are a steady but relatively easy climb; the last three miles are pretty tough, though the trail is wide and easy to follow the entire way. The hike is quiet and desolate except for at the very summit, where flocks of Canadian snow birds drive up in SUVs and Quads to sip Milwaukee's Beast and enjoy the view. Fortunately the winter visitor approach is from the south side of the mountains and one will not encounter them until at the very peak. This is a difficult but rewarding hike...even my dogs were pretty worn out. We ran into a Western Patchnose Snake but saw no other wildlife.
To hike From Wickenburg corner of US93 & US 60 follow US 60 west 40 miles to FR(I'm not sure), hang a left and follow 2.2 miles to the trailhead at the wilderness boundary.
Ksorensen added: Exactly 40 miles west of the intersection of 93 and 60 in Wickenburg, turn left onto a dirt road. There is a lone, small marker that says 'trail' on this road. Follow the road to the nice parking lot provided by BLM.
2009-11-29 rdmciver writes: The dirt road is between Mile Markers 71 and 70 on the south side of the highway. The first trail marker (typical BLM brown plastic with black letters on white background) is at the left side of the gate. About 10 yards inside the gate is a second marker.
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