Eagletail Mountains Wander, AZ | HikeArizona

Eagletail Mountains Wander, AZ

Guide 27 Triplogs Mine 0 0 Topics
4 of 5 
no permit
338 27 0
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 10 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,603 feet
Elevation Gain 999 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,000 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3-15 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 15
 Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Ruins & Peak
 Backpack Yes
unreported if dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
27  2023-01-25
Eagle 3186 - Eagletail Mountains Wilderness
14  2022-12-11 chumley
13  2021-01-16
Roam in the Eagletail Wilderness
30  2021-01-02
Eagletail Arches and Petroglyphs
28  2020-12-27
Eagletail Exploration
20  2020-11-07
Ben Avery - Arches - Indian Spring Petroglyphs
27  2020-11-07
Ben Avery - Arches - Indian Spring Petroglyphs
6  2020-01-25 caragruey
Page 1,  2,  3
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 0
Photos 151
Trips 181 map ( 1,184 miles )
Age 44 Male Gender
Location Patagonia, AZ
Associated Areas
list map done
Southwest Region
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:56am - 6:34pm
4 Alternative
Nearby Area Water
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Fauna  Nearby
Flora  Nearby
Geology  Nearby
Named place  Nearby
Culture  Nearby
Solid off-trail exploring
by airic

I continually come back to the Eagletails, but not once have stuck to the Ben Avery Trail. It is always an off-trail day and doesn't properly fit under the Indian Springs Trail log as only now and then do I pass the petroglyphs. This has led me to create a guide, so I can log it and share it with you. Since I never do the same hike twice here, I call it a day wandering in the Eagletails... so we now have the Eagletail Mountains Wander. If you need a map, take a look at the Indian Springs description as everything I say below is just off memory.
For anyone new to hiking off-trail, I highly recommend this location. It is easily accessible, has an easy entrance trail, and has numerous recognizable peaks to help you keep your bearings. Oh, not to mention the Eagletails are excellent for wildlife viewing... I am a little biased as well, as this is the only place I've seen a cougar. Other perks include extremely cool ridges and mountain tops to hike with an uncountable number of grottos and alcoves to shelter animals... and you for a night in the desert. If you're a plant-person, this is one of the nicest pieces of Sonoran desert I've hiked. And of course, there is cultural history here ranging from prehistoric to mining activity. Basically, this is an incredible spot to explore the Sonoran desert.

I gave it a 3 for route finding and difficulty because you can make it as hard as you want, and off-trail-wise I feel the land is recognizable enough not to make it a 5. Elevation gain will vary depending on your route, so I just put 1000 feet. Mileage too is up to you, and it won't necessarily be 10. It could be 4, could be 20. Ok, enough of the preamble. I like this spot, we all get it!

I start us at the Ben Avery Trailhead, take you into what I call the Bowl, and then leave you to your devices from there. From the TH, follow the old jeep road into a reasonably sandy wash. Take a right, SW, if I remember correctly. This wash will eventually get you back to the old jeep road, a mile maybe from the TH. The wash is typically flagged at bends to lead you to the old jeep road. It's easy. As you come out of the wash, you enter the Bowl. I name it this because, well, it feels a little bowl-like. As you scan your horizons, you'll see that you're pretty much penned in by mountain ridges all around.

Ok, turn around and look at Courthouse Rock. This is the feature you parked your car at, lock it in. This is now your point of reference and can be seen from quite a distance. Also, look to the east, and you'll see a few namesakes of these mountains... eagletails. Ah, pretty cool. It makes you wish you had some climbing gear. We'll stay on the trail slightly longer, and then you're loosed. Carry on until you hit a big, sandy wash again. This is roughly an hour in and has been an easy hike. Now, look on the horizon for what looks like the coolest ridge and tackle it...that's it.

To the left, in the wash, you'll find the petroglyphs another 15 minutes up; and any other humans out here. Behind you is what I call Cougar Ridge, as that is where I spotted a cougar. Beyond the ridge are a few eagletails and some mine shafts. Northwest of you is Neon Top (my name). It is the light brown, bald looking peak and covered in green lichen up top. En route, you may pass, or see, a large alcove... it's been used as a vulture roost in the past. If you stick to the jeep road across the wash, you'll shortly come on an AGFD stock tank, Dead Deer Tank (real name). Follow the game trails beyond the tank towards Two-Holes (you may have noticed this to the west as you hiked across the Bowl, at least from a distance, you can see one hole clearly).

Plod in, around, and over arroyo after arroyo to a real nice and rugged area. Pop-out of the Bowl and climb those rocks... a passable route always appears. I don't know, explore anywhere. The ridges out in this range are fantastic. Bring a map in case you are not familiar with off-trail. But, as you'll see out here, the horizon offers many distinguishable shapes to use as a bearing. So, let your adventure unfold and go wherever the terrain, an animal, or thought leads you.

Well, that's the hike, more or less. I've spent 3 hours here... I've spent 10 hours. It's all up to the hiker really and how many ridges you want to climb. This is a sweet spot, and I always have great success in finding something neat. If you get off-trail, you're going to see more animals. Have fun, and don't tell too many friends as I have enjoyed not seeing humans out here!

Refer to Indian Springs Petroglyphs for the Ben Avery Trail section.

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2010-08-02 airic

    BLM Division Details
    Location and Description
    The 100,600-acre Eagletail Mountains Wilderness is about 65 miles west of Phoenix, Arizona, in Maricopa, Yuma, and LaPaz counties.

    The wilderness includes 15 miles of the Eagletail Mountains ridgeline and Courthouse Rock to the north, Cemetary Ridge to the south, and a large desert plain area between the two ridgelines. Several different rock strata are visible in most places, with natural arches, high spires, monoliths, jagged sawtooth ridges and numerous washes six to eight miles long.

    Recreation such as extended horseback riding and backpacking trips, sightseeing, photography, rock climbing and day hiking are enhanced by the topographic diversity, scenic character, size, as well as the botanical, wildlife, and cultural values of the area.

    From Phoenix, travel west along Interstate 10 to the Tonopah exit. Travel south from Tonopah to the paved Salome Highway, then west to the Harquahala Valley via the Courthouse Rock Road. Roads near the wilderness include the pipeline maintenance road on the north and East Clanton Well Road on the south. High-clearance or four-wheel-drive vehicles are needed for access to the wilderness boundary.

    Nonfederal Lands
    Some lands around and within the wilderness are not federally administered. Please respect the property rights of the owners and do not cross or use these lands without their permission.

    As with other types of outdoor activities, wilderness travel poses some potential hazards. You may encounter flashfloods, poisonous snakes and insects, poisonous plants, or lightning storms. Be aware of your exposure to heat or cold. Don't panic if you get lost. Carry an ample supply of water with you since many areas may have inadequate or contaminated water sources.
    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.

     Permit $$

    High Clearance possible when dry

    To Courthouse Trailhead
    From Phoenix:
    - I-10 west to Exit 81; Salome Rd/Harquahala Valley Road...left
    - Harq Valley Rd (it will jig to the right after the overpass) 5 miles to Centennial Rd/Courthouse Rd...right
    - Courthouse Rd 7 miles to a junction...right fork along gas pipeline service road
    - Pipeline road approximately 4 miles to unnamed road...left (you'll see a sign for the Eagletail Mountains Wilderness
    - Unnamed road about 1.5 miles to the TH

    Directions to trail: On I-10 west of Phoenix, take exit #81 and head south on Harquahala Valley Road. Turn right on to Courthouse Rock Road, a straight-as-an-arrow packed dirt road that heads directly toward the Eagletail, a.k.a. Courthouse Rock. After 8 miles, the packed dirt road ends at an Eagletail Wilderness sign. Angle right there on to a dirt/washboard gas pipeline road; take it slow and go easy on your axles. Three miles later, look for an Interior Department Wilderness sign on the left and turn left there, angling back toward the Eagletail. The road gets rougher and ends at an Eagletail Wilderness sign at the trailhead. Four-wheel drive and high clearance is strongly recommended but not absolutely required.

    11/19/07 crawfrdb writes: From Phoenix, I-10 West about 60 miles to Exit 81. Turn left (south) onto harquahala valley road. Road will "dog leg" before proceeding due south. Go about five miles south to a cross road- see Courthouse road on the left, Centennial Road on your right. Turn right onto Centennial Road. Proceed SEVEN miles (some sources report five miles but the correct distance is SEVEN).

    At approx seven miles, you will come to a fork in the road. This fork is an intersection of three roads- a right fork, a left fork and a left turn. You will see a BLM kiosk for the Eagle Tail Wilderness Area just ahead on the left fork, however, proceed on the right fork. The right fork is the long straight road along a high pressure natural gas distribution line.

    Proceed past a small set of gas pipes on the right, and past/between two small fenced gas control areas about a mile or so later. Continue on this fork for four miles to a left turn- at this road, you will see a "Eagletail Wilderness Area" sign. Proceed approx. 1.5 miles to a trailhead with a typical bulletin board, parking lot and entrance through a fence. Courthouse rock and the Eagletail spires can be seen at this point as well.

    Road conditions: As of this writing, a 4WD vehicle is not necessary to access this trailhead. If you are concerned about whether this trail can be accessed without a SUV or other high clearance vehicle, it is possible to access with a sedan or other lower clearance vehicle if you are willing to park a little further away from the trailhead and walk in. Specifically: Harquahala Valley Road going south is paved. Centenial Road is a hard packed, well graded dirt road and in great shape. After the left fork onto the gas pipeline road noted above, the road is not as graded but still fairly well packed dirt with a few short patches of soft, deep sand- keep your speed up going through them and you should be fine.

    If you want to attempt this with a sedan, the last 1.5 miles on the road leading into the wilderness area is where you will want to keep an eye out for a place to park. The last half mile will definitely require high clearance. Merely proceed until the road ahead appears too much for your vehicle to handle and park.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 83.2 mi - about 1 hour 57 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 190mi - 3 hours 38 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 215mk - 4 hours 1 min
    page created by airic on Aug 02 2010 8:49 pm

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