|Guide||♦||77 Triplogs||2 Topics|
Harquahala Smithsonian Observatory was open from 1920 to 1925. This was never a telescope site. Scientists 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 the 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 snowbirds 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 challenging but rewarding hike... even my dogs were pretty worn out. We ran into a Western Patchnose Snake but saw no other wildlife.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.