username
X
password
register help

Eagletail Mountains Wander, AZ

details
drive
no permit
forecast
map
stats
photos
triplogs
topics
location
124 17 0
Guide 17 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Southwest > Buckeye W
Rated
4
4 of 5 by 3
 
4
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
Statistics
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 10 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,603 feet
Elevation Gain 1,000 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3-15 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 15
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Ruins & Peak
Backpack Yes
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
15  2017-01-01
Ben Avery Trail - Indian Spring Petroglyphs
mazatzal
21  2016-02-14
Ben Avery Trail - Indian Spring Petroglyphs
chumley
6  2014-12-07 Alston_Neal
1  2014-08-02 mwiles
17  2014-04-27 Alston_Neal
9  2013-10-16 airic
7  2012-03-22 NatureKopelli
8  2012-02-22 Oregon_Hiker
Page 1,  2
Author airic
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 0
Photos 151
Trips 181 map ( 1,184 miles )
Age 40 Male Gender
Location Cochise, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
Expand Map
Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:18am - 6:37pm
Route
 
1 Alternative
 
Water
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 hike so I have a place to log it...and to share 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 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 come 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 to not make it a 5. Elevation gain will vary depending on your route, so I just put 1000 feet. Mileage too is up to you, it won't necessarily be 10. 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 fairly 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'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 you 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, 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 go 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 go climb those rocks...a passable route always appears. I don't know, just go explore anywhere. The ridges out in this range are awesome. Just bring a map just 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 or an animal or a 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 here. If you get off trail, you're going to see more animals. Have fun and don't tell too many friends as I have been enjoying not seeing humans out here!

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

Check out the Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

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.

    Access
    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Eagletail Mountains Wander
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    After a day exploring the northern end of the Eagletails, I decided to hit the tourist circuit. It's an easy hike out to the historic Indian Spring area and the rock art does not disappoint. Looks like the spring box at Indian Spring has dried up permanently, but I was happy to find water in a narrow slot of bedrock in the side drainage just below the springbox. I'm sure it dries up in summer, but I think it also holds water for a surprisingly long time. It is 100% shaded.

    Detoured to 726 on the way back, another AZGFD engineered wildlife watering tank. Busy day in the wilderness -- saw two other people. No sheep today. :( Great area.
    Eagletail Mountains Wander
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Took advantage of yesterday's extended monsoon cloudiness to make an early morning trek out to the Eagletail Mountains wildnerness - a vastly underestimated desert playground so close to the west valley. Instead of the usual mode - grinding out lots of miles on a well marked trail - we used this opportunity for some "desert time". Off trail exploring, wandering and generally just enjoying time away from the city.

    We went in on the southeastern side of the Eagletails and then began exploring. A little bit of up and down on the mountainsides, nothing too serious. I did enjoy the site of 5 different natural arches, the best one being at +33.375146, -113.297334. It is the arch shown in the attached picture. Two more, very small arches lie less than 50 feet away. A fourth sits about 80 yards to the west. And a final fifth one is visible on the south side of the old jeep trail high on the rocks perhaps 1/4 mile to the east.

    Not many miles today, but the steep, loose climbing up and down definitely have my legs talking a little bit.

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    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
    2+ mi range whistle
    blow it hard
    help comment issue

    end of page marker