East of the road leading to Alamo Lake State Park, Arizona, lies a vast 25,050-acre BLM property known as the Harcuvar Mountain Wilderness. This remote and rugged wilderness region is the ideal outdoor destination for those seeking complete solitude amidst ten miles of ridgelines and canyons.
Its isolated location, 82 miles away from the nearest town of Phoenix, Arizona, has allowed this region to remain largely untouched and still unexplored in parts. It offers adventure seekers the opportunity to immerse themselves in wilderness recreational activities such as climbing, hiking, backpacking, hunting and more in relative solitude.
The Harcuvar Mountains’ ridgeline stretches for nearly ten miles and ranges from an elevation of 2,400 to 5,100 feet at certain high points such as Harcuvar Peak and Smith Peak; two of the most prominent peaks in the Harcuvar Range.
The wilderness region is also renowned for its diverse wildlife and pockets of desert vegetation that house many wild species of flora and fauna. The landscape here includes bajadas, rocky cliffs, canyons, and not-that-hard-to-climb mountain peaks that overlook jaw-dropping views of the valley below.
Harcuvar Mountain Wilderness is located in La Paz County, Arizona, about 82 miles northwest of Phoenix, Arizona. It overlooks the smaller towns of Wenden and Salome in the McMullen Valley along US Hwy 60. The wilderness region lies north of US Hwy 60 and west of US Hwy 93. The region is also about thirty miles from Alamo State Park, with the road to the park lying on the east side of the wilderness region.
This region is truly remote and getting to its wilderness boundaries requires four-wheel drive and high clearance vehicles. Dirt jeep trails run north from US Hwy 60 and south from the Alamo Dam Access Road that lies just north of Wenden.
The BLM-owned Harcuvar Mountain Wilderness region allows for primitive camping for stretches of up to 14 days. Campfires are allowed as long as you use down and dead wood found in the area. The seven standard Leave-No-Trace principals are to be adhered to at all times while camping here. The few isolated and rarely used campsites offer splendid primitive camping and backpacking opportunities in complete solitude.
If you are seeking a more comfortable RV camping experience then head to the nearby Harquahala Mountains Wilderness. Here, close to the banks of Wolf Creek within Prescott National Forest lies Lower Wolf Creek Campground.
The campground offers 20 RV campsites that are equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, and BBQ grills. Vault toilets are also located on the campground. Max RV size is 40 ft. and no-hookups are available.
Harcuvar Mountains Wilderness has no marked trails as this region is largely untouched with very little human interaction. This makes it the ideal hiking destination for those that want to explore nature in solitude with the freedom to make their own routes and trails through this rugged ridgeline.
The hiking experience here can be quite challenging, not just due to the terrain but also because of the elevation. Large rock outcrops and boulder piles can make for tricky ascents and descents, so always ensure you have firm footing and a good pair of hiking boots.
Perhaps the most major summit of the Harcuvar Mountains in western Arizona is Harcuvar Peak that sits at an elevation of 4,618 ft. The summit of Harcuvar Peak has an anvil shape that makes the peak appear as a flattened top when viewed from below.
Getting to the summit is no easy challenge as hikers, backpackers, explorers and climbers alike need to tackle rugged desert tracks and steep rocky cliffs and slopes to make it to the summit. Some tough uphill cross-country hiking is required if you plan on making it to the top and looking out at the spectacular views that greet you.
Hunting is permitted in regions of Harcuvar Mountain Wilderness, managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Both big game and small game animals can be found in the region. This wilderness region is known to support a healthy population of deer, including some larger bucks.
No motorized hunting is allowed in the wilderness region. Hunting and trapping are permitted, as long as they are subjected to State and Federal laws and regulations. It is strictly prohibited to create permanent blinds in the wilderness.
Smith Peak is the highest peak in the Harcuvar Range at an elevation of 5,242 feet. Smith Peak can be hiked via a jeep road but still offers a challenging climb to attain its summit. Getting to Smith Peak can also be tough going as there are no real trails or roads leading to the base.
The wildlife in the region includes an array of mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects. Large mammals such as desert bighorn sheep, mountain lion, bobcat, and mule deer can be spotted patrolling the high cliffs. Smaller mammals such as chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits skitter and hide as you trek along, peeking their heads out from their hiding spots as they watch you pass by.
Desert tortoise can also be found in less elevated regions of this vast wilderness. Reptiles such as Gilbert's skinks, desert night lizards, and rosy boas also reside here in numbers. Golden eagles and various hawks can be spotted circling over the high peaks or nesting on steep cliffs and slopes.
The highlight of this wilderness region is the ability to immerse yourself in nature in complete solitude devoid of any contact from the outside world. This solitude is most enjoyable on dark nights when the stars shine out in the billions, covering the vast skies in a dazzling display of lights. The region is so far away from the nearest town that the nights here can get very dark, making for some truly epic stargazing.