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Dana's Arch, AZ

no permit
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Guide 8 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Southwest > Wickenburg
2.5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,739 feet
Elevation Gain 212 feet
Accumulated Gain 420 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 4.1
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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10  2013-11-26 Stoic
16  2013-01-13 kingsnake
5  2013-01-01 kingsnake
1  2013-01-01 Barrett
15  2013-01-01 outdoor_lover
7  2009-02-15 JoelHazelton
Author JoelHazelton
author avatar Guides 16
Routes 10
Photos 967
Trips 406 map ( 1,971 miles )
Age 33 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Mar, Feb, Jan → 10 AM
Seasons   Winter to Spring
Sun  6:19am - 6:28pm
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0 Alternative
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Culture Nearby
When Wickenburg gets unbearably boring...
by JoelHazelton

The Vulture Mountains, although a relatively small mountain range just a stones throw away from Wickenburg, offer beauty and feelings of remoteness and solitude that are difficult to find in even some of the larger mountain ranges near Phoenix. There are several roads and primitive campsites winding through these mountains, mostly occupied with large RV's and vans, but the rewards found in hiking the trails still exist. One such trail leads to Dana's Arch. My source for this trail was "Wickenburg Adventures" by Christine Maxa. If you're interested in some of the desert northwest of Phoenix, it is a very worthy purchase.

The trail is unsigned and begins on an old jeep track that drops steeply from the parking area into a wash, and then climbs back up the other side. After about 100 yards the road forks- take the left fork. In another hundred yards the trail to the arch branches out on the left, and is marked with small cairns on either side. Keep your eye out for these cairns or you'll miss it!

The trail is narrow, yet well-traveled, and the vegetation is up-close and personal on either side. Watch out for prickly pear and cholla sticking out over the trail. This stretch gently gains elevation, following a wash to the left. Soon the trail tops out at a low saddle. Not far past the saddle, at about 0.6 mile, is another fork in the trail- take the left fork again. This fork is cairned. If you take the right fork you will switchback steeply up the side of a hill. If you find yourself doing this, you are on the wrong trail! The route to Dana's Arch never gets steep at all. After turning left, the trail contours around a small hill with volcanic tuffs rising to the left before gradually descending off the hill and connecting with the bottom of a wash. When you start walking on the bed of the wash, you are just about to the arch. Keep your eye out for another small cairn on the left directing you out of the wash. When you climb out, the trail quickly disappears, and you can see the arch on the ridge immediately to the east (left).

It is quite easy to hike up to the arch. If you take a direct route to it, you will have to do a bit of climbing, but it's super fun. If you don't want to climb, then head up to the saddle to the north (left) of the rock formations that form the arch. This will involve some bushwhacking, but it's a very easy walk. Once up the saddle, the ridgeline to the right (south) is flat, and it's a quick stroll to the arch.

Enjoy the view of Vulture Peak from up here, as it's a different angle than what people usually see of this Wickenburg landmark. Once you're done, either return the way you came or, if you have a map, form an off-trail loop of sorts. Enjoy!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2009-02-18 JoelHazelton
    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
    Dana's Arch
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    I don't like leaving unfinished business, so off my wife and I went. Stopped at the Filiberto's /Shell just inside Wickenburg on Hwy 60 for a chorizo breakfast burrito. (Guy in line behind me, said he was getting a meal deal, said a menudo and "this", and showed me a roll of TP. :lol: ) Big, *hot*, and mmm-mmm good. Too bad I did not notice the grease I was dripping down my jacket and pants as me and the wife ventured south on Vulture Mine Rd. :roll:

    After I showed her where to wait for me (the Vulture Peak alternate jeep trail where I parked on New Year's), and the actual trailhead potty, we doubled back so I could start from where Barrett and I started before Pam's Peak Party.

    I had found a map that purported to show the arch's location ( ... 15_0_1.pdf ), but it was blurry. So I had zoomed MapDex to the same scale, traced a likely route, and took that with me.

    I had a suspicion that Barrett and I may have been one wash too far, so when I got to the first saddle, and saw a cairn, and a very faint trail east, I turned up that. (But not until I peed on a cholla ... turn about is fair play!) That takes you into the wash immediately south of Hill 3245T. (What's up with the "T"?) I was walking slow and scanning the ridgeline north and south, but saw nothing. After a couple hundred yards, the wash splits in two at a small knob. I went right. I was not seeing anything north of me, so I figured the arch had to be the ridge south of me. Up I went, needing to do a little scrambling the final 50 feet or so. Got up, looked around, and saw nothing other than steep downness. I figured the arch *had* to be to my right, further up the ridge, so down I went, towards the wash Barrett and I had searched around. (I butt scooted in some spots, and lost my water bottle along the way, so if anybody finds it next time, I apologize. :( ) I was scanning back up the ridge when I saw a very distinctive, and large, crack in the rock. Comparing that to azpride's red-line photo, I knew the arch was to the crack's immediate left, as I looked north. I took a few steps over, and ... BANGO! (As the great Eddie Doucette used to say.) But I could see where the arch revealed itself more if viewed from it's right, than from it's left (where Barrett and I had been), due to its angle in the rock.

    The arch's grid coordinates are N 33o54.055' W 112o49.213' . (I can't figure out how to get my 60csx to display in digital lat & long).

    * From BaseCamp ... lat 33.900917 long -112.820218

    I then exfiltrated down the wash towards where my wife was waiting. There is actually a cairned trail that way as well, so every so often I would stop, take a photo back up trail, and put a waypoint on my GPS, so as to create an alternate route to the arch for those who might care to give it a try. I think it might actually be easier to find that way.
    Dana's Arch
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    After a fun New Year's Day celebration on Vulture's Peak and a cool Tailgate party that followed, everyone split up and went their own ways. I knew I wouldn't have the energy or the time to follow Bob and his Crew around, but I decided that I still had time to hunt for what is now a fairly elusive Arch... :) It was a nice, unsuccessful Hike... :sweat:

    I made two mistakes. First, I should have used my odometer when I turned off the Highway. I didn't, and I probably was not parked at the "unmarked TH" although I'm fairly certain that I was in the right area...There are a ton of little "spur" roads out there past the main RV Camping Sites, so I'm not sure I even turned left down the correct road...I did stop and park where the Road leaves a large Wash and becomes a little dicey, although it appears that past that particular dicey area, the road gets pretty good again.

    I hiked up and over a small ridge from where I parked and met up with the road again. I followed it for a bit and then saw a small road go to the left down into and then out of a small wash where it proceeded to end at an outcropping of fairly large boulders. This looked like a nice, and apparently popular Camping area. Some of the Campers seemed to feel the need to tag the boulders though, so it kinda ruined it for me... :? However, on the other side of the boulders, there's a Trail and a very defined one at that... :) I followed the Trail as it was definitely leading in the direction that I wanted to go and seemed to "fit" the Description. It took me around the SW side of a small hill and a Spur went up the hill to a Saddle...Ok, this seems right...Walked all over that hill and didn't see an Arch. Back to the Saddle and climbed the larger hill, which was more like a long flat ridge. I followed the "ridge" all the way, heading NW, looking at both edges...No Arch...Second mistake, should've printed out a picture in Joel's Photoset to match things up with...Oh well, it was getting later than I wanted, so I bushwacked down the West side of the ridge and started making my way back, taking care to keep looking up in case I missed it...Nope, not there.

    Ran into an Archery Deer Hunter on the way back. Only person I saw back there. I have always enjoyed the Wickenburg area and now I remember why. It really is a pretty desert area. I thoroughly enjoyed the Hike just for that reason, if for no other... :) Pretty much made my way back the way I came and drove out. Will have to attempt to find the Arch again, another day, when I'm in the area... :)

    The Drive back to Cave Creek was outstanding. First thing I noticed, although I didn't stop, was all of the Foliage along the Hassayampa River appeared to be in almost Peak Foliage Colors for Autumn. Lots of brilliant Yellows driving along there... :) Second thing I noticed was Meteorlogical. I guess I need a Bumper Sticker that says "I Brake for Sun Dogs".... :D That was "drive home Photo Op #1"... :lol: Third, I'm almost back to I-17 and apparently there was a serious Hot Air Balloon Convention going on...I quit counting after 11...Usually you'll see 2 or 3 in this area, but not today...I had to stop. The combination of Clouds, Sun and Balloons was too hard to resist...Cool ending to a cool day in the Great Outdoors... :y:
    Dana's Arch
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    Like johnlp below, Barrett and I never did find the arch. It's not a hard, or long, walk, so I'll be back. (Though I definitely would not proceed past the Winnebago camping area .25 miles in the gravel road with a regular passenger car; high clearance vehicle the last half mile recommended.)

    Oh, and Barrett, let me know when I can have my shoes back. :D

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Wickenburg, head west on US 60 (Wickenburg Way) to Vulture Mine Road. Turn left on Vulture Mine Rd and travel about 4 miles to an unmarked dirt road on the right, just past milepost 22. Turn right here. The road is rocky and rough, but never presents much of a clearance issue as long as you drive carefully. In about one quarter mile, take a left at the first real fork in the road (ignoring the one or two false forks that will take you right back to the main road). This road will narrow and get slightly rougher. Go about 0.5 mile to a large, grassy parking area, immediately before the road takes a sharp right into a wash. This will be the beginning of the trail.
    page created by JoelHazelton on Feb 18 2009 9:58 am
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