Arizona Outback Points of Interest

provided by the McMullen Valley Chamber of Commerce

Welcome to the Great Big Beautiful Arizona Outback, hopefully you will enjoy visiting these significant and historical points of interest, we have a rich and colorful history and take pride in this wonderful Arizona desert that we call home.

Please feel free to stop by our Chamber office to pick up brochures, ask questions, or to just chat!

McMullen Valley Chamber of Commerce ~ 66710 Hwy 60 ~ Salome, Arizona

McMullen Valley Chamber of Commerce

Arizona Outback Points of Interest Map

Map Legend: (click on a point of interest name to go to the description)

  1. Alamo Lake State Park
  2. Eagle Eye Mountain
  3. Harquahala Pack Trail
  4. Harquahala Peak – Smithsonian Observatory
  5. Wenden Cemetery
  6. 9-11 Memorial
  7. Dick Wick Hall Marker
  8. Harrisburg Cemetery
  9. Indian Springs
  10. Harcuvar Mtn & Mtn Pass Petroglyphs Tank Pass, Cunningham Pass
  11. Bouse Assay Office
  12. Camp Bouse
  13. Swansea
  14. Bouse Intaglio
  15. Buckskin Mtn Range – Tank Pass, Cunningham Pass
Arizona Outback Cactus

Point Descriptions:

1. ALAMO LAKE STATE PARK (NEAR WENDEN, AZ)

additional info: Alamo Lake, Gateway to Alamo Lake

Nestled in the Bill Williams River Valley away from the hustle and bustle of ever day life, Alamo Lake is one of Arizona’s best kept secrets. Visitors here enjoy outdoor fun, premier bass fishing, rest and relaxation. Fishing tournaments are common at the lake and anglers have an excellent opportunity to catch bluegill, largemouth bass, channel catfish and black crappie. Spring rains bring an abundance of wildflowers and the lake environment attracts a variety of wildlife year round, including bald and golden eagles, waterfowl, foxes, coyotes, mule deer and wild burrows. Stargazers are sure to enjoy the unbelievable view of the night sky, with the nearest city lights some 40 miles away. Camping is a great way to take advantage of these incredible star viewing opportunities. There are 80 campground sites with hook-ups to water and electricity. 19 full hook-up sites, developed and undeveloped campgrounds with restrooms and showers. There is also a dump station and fish cleaning station. Alamo Lake was created with the completion of Alamo Dam in 1968. Its elevation is 1300 feet. The park is located 47 miles north of Wenden, AZ (off US Route 60) on Alamo Dam Road.

2. HARQUAHALA MOUNTAINS WILDERNESS AREA

additional info: Arizona Wilderness Areas and Public Lands

Different from many Sonoran Desert mountain ranges, the Harquahalas (22,880 acres) contain a screened interior canyon system. The distinctive ecosystems provide exceptional natural diversity, including interior chaparrals, desert grasslands and rare cactus populations. The area also supports habitat for desert bighorn sheep, desert tortoise and mule deer populations. Access the northern boundary by jeep trails along Highway 60, east of Wenden. Numerous off-road trails can be found to the south, off Eagle Eye Road. 4-wheel drive vehicles are recommended if you venture off Eagle Eye Road.

Arizona Outback Harquahala Mtn

3. HARQUAHALA PACK TRAIL (NEAR SALOME, ARIZONA)

The Harquahala Pack Trail was built in the 1920’s to supply the people who lived at the Observatory. Base Camp Trailhead is at an elevation of 2,230 feed, and the Summit Trailhead is at 5,618 feet. It is 5.4 miles from Base Camp to the Summit, with an elevation gain of 3,361 feet. It is rated difficult and not well marked. To reach the trailhead, proceed east from Salome approximately 13 miles on Highway 60 to Milepost 70.5, turn south through the gate (please close gate), follow the BLM signs to the trailhead, approximately 2.1 miles. There is a larger turn around area at about 1.8 miles, with an unloading area for horses.

4. HARQUAHALA PEAK SMITHSONIAN SOLAR OBSERVATORY (NEAR SALOME, ARIZONA)

Arizona Outback Harquahala ObservatoryThe Harquahala Peak Observatory

The Harquahala (originally spelled Harqua Hala) Peak Observatory was at it’s height of glory in 1924. What remains of the field station can be seen first hand by traveling from Eagle Eye Road, up the south side of the mountain, to the peak of the Harquahala Mountains, at an elevation of almost 6,000 feet. In recent years the Bureau of Land Management has refurbished the Observatory and made improvements to the road, as well as adding signs and restrooms at the base of the trail. Even with these improvements, the road is steep and treacherous and it is recommended for high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicles with experienced drivers only. The panoramic and breathtaking view from southwest Arizona’s highest point, is well worth the trip.

5. WENDEN CEMETERY, WENDEN, ARIZONA

additional info: Wenden Map

The Great Arizona Outback Rumor and Innuendo Historical Society spearheaded a county-wide effort to clean and restore the Wenden Cemetery. The Master Gardeners of Salome put in watering systems and landscaping. The La Paz County Parks Department donated cement benches and a gazebo was built for shade. An area adjacent to the cemetery was dedicated to the memory of Cactus Kelli, who was the inspiration for the project. A ‘Cactus Kelli Park’ sign was constructed and the VFW Post #3708 donated the solar light for the flag pole. There are 135 plus marked graves and 87 unmarked sites in the cemetery. A number of the ‘oldtimers’ who settled the country are buried at Wenden. To reach the cemetery drive east on Highway 60 from Wenden across the Centennial Bridge, turn south on Wenden Hillside Drive. Proceed south and west to the cemetery.

6. 9-11 MEMORIAL MONUMENT, SALOME, ARIZONA

additional info: 911 Memorial Monument

The 9-11 Memorial Monument was the culmination of three years of planning on the part of the McMullen Valley Fire District, Salome Lions Club and the McMullen Valley Chamber of Commerce. There were many individual volunteers and local businesses that provided labor, donated materials and made monetary donations to make this memorial possible. The monument was built honoring the victims of the terrorists’ attacks of September 11, 2001. It is the first 9-11 Memorial in La Paz County. It is located at the McMullen Valley Chamber of Commerce, 66710 Highway 60, Salome, Arizona.

7. DICK WICK HALL’S HISTORICAL MARKER & GRAVESITE , SALOME, ARIZONA

additional info: Dick Wick Hall

"Arizona’s most Famous Humorist" – Publisher of the ‘Salome Sun’ 1925- 1926, owner of the ‘Laughing Gas’ gas station, creator of ‘ The Salome Frog’ and the ‘Greasewood Golf Lynx’, published in the Saturday Evening Post, author of a syndicated column in 28 newspapers from New York to California 1925 – 1926, co-editor of the Wickenburg News-Herald, 1901. Salome was established in 1904 with the help of Charles W. Pratt in the area that Dick Wick Hall liked to call ‘Happy Valley’. It was during that time that Mrs. (Salome) Pratt attempted to walk on the hot desert sand in her bare feet and proceeded to ‘dance’ to her destination. There and then Dick Wick Hall named the town ’Salome – where she danced - Arizona’. The founder of Salome is honored with both a historical marker on Highway 60 and Center Street, and the historical gravesite near the site of his old office and home, located at the intersection of Center and Hall Streets.

8. HARRISBURG CEMETERY, HARRISBURG, ARIZONA (NEAR SALOME, ARIZONA)

Harrisburg was established in 1886 by Captain Charles Harris, and his partner Governor Frederick Tritle, as a mill town to process ore from the Socorro and other mines in the area. By 1887 two mills were operating here. The post office was established April 29, 1887 and discontinued September 29, 1906. Harrisburg was a ghost town by World War I – noted by the La Paz Historical Commission. It’s not clear, based on historical information, but Harrisburg may have been referred to as Orville, and/or Centennial. There was believed to be 30 people living there with one saloon and one general store and stamp mills. Today the valley is populated with mini ranches, a gravel operation and full fledged working ranches. Travel south east on Salome Road approximately 5 miles and you will come to a historical marker on the (west) of the road. It reads ‘Harrisburg’. Slightly south of this marker on the right side of the road, just past 40725 Salome Road, there is a road/trail with a ‘Y’ leading off the black top on your right. It is a little hard to identify. Follow the road west approximately mile until you come to the main gate of the Harrisburg Ranch. Turn left following the fence line on the west side of the fence. You will travel past some old structures along the way, continue about 1/3 mile. You will come to the beautiful Pioneer Cemetery of Harrisburg. Very well maintained and cared for by the local residents. The cemetery is fenced with a large stone monument in the center, which was erected by the La Paz Sheriff’s Posse in December 1985. There are a few headstones standing that are legible. Several small white rock enclosures outlining additional graves, but no names or dates indicating those interred. In total there are approximately 33 interments.

9. INDIAN SPRINGS

This is a popular picnic area in the Harcuvar Mountains, near Tank Pass. This was an old granite quarry, with some of the rock going to the state capital in Phoenix. You can walk around to the southwest to see the quarry. There are still some stones lying around with the drill holes that were used to split the rock. (Contrary to popular belief, this was not an area where prisoners were held.). The road is very sandy and it is recommended that you use a 4-wheel drive vehicle. In Salome, from Hwy 60 go north on Center Street until it dead ends at a stop sign. Turn west on Hall Street and continue to Indian Springs Road and turn north, then follow the trail markers.

10. HARCUVAR MOUNTAINS

additional info: Arizona Wilderness Areas and Public Lands

The Harcuvar Mountains are a narrow mountain rage in western-central Arizona. The range lies just east of the north-south Colorado River, and south of the east-west, west-flowing Bill Williams River. The range is part of the three-range sequence of mildly arc-shaped ranges and two intermountain valleys in the Maria fold and thrust belt, a region in western Arizona and southeast southern California, with the Colorado River flowing south through the western part of the belt. The fold-and-thrust-belt region contains numerous plains, valleys, and mountain ranges about 30 landforms in all. The range is a narrow range about 25 miles long and 5 miles wide, and trends southwest to northeast. The McMullen Valley is the southeast border of the range, and is traversed by US Route 60. Four peaks are found in the range, the highest peak is Smith Peak, Arizona, 5,242 feet in the northeast, but not easy accessible by road. In the southwest, is Harcuvar Peak, at 4,618 feet. Accessible by unimproved road, via Cottonwood Pass. Two other peaks lie in the center of the range, one lies adjacent and north of Cunningham Pass, called ECC Peak, at 3,000 feet, and further northeast, ECP peak, at 4,593 feet. One of the most important aspects of the Harcuvar Mountains is the major, and southern access route to Alamo Lake State Park approximately 30 miles upriver on the Bill Williams River. It begins at Wenden, Arizona and immediately climbs through the Harcuvars to Cunningham Pass. Another 24 miles traverses the Butler Valley’s northeast, and the flatlands northeast of the Buckskin Mountains. The entire southeast perimeter of the Harcuvar Mountains borders the McMullen Valley, with US Route 60, The series of communities starting at the southwest are Vicksburg, Hope & Harcuvar, then Salome, Wenden and lastly after 26 miles straight stretch, Aguila

 

11. BOUSE ARIZONA ASSAY OFFICE MUSEUM

additional info: Bouse, Arizona

Bouse was settled in 1906 and named Brayton for John Brayton Martin who kept the Brayton Commercial Company for the Harquahala Mine. However, when the postal application was filed in 1907, postal officials picked up the applicant’s name, Thomas Bouse, and the name Brayton faded into history. East of Bouse, 30 miles along a dirt road, Swansea, now a ghost town, Swansea was once a copper mining community of 750. Although the mine closed in 1924 and the town died, many remnants still exist. Twenty miles east of Bouse, in the remote Butler Valley, is Camp Bouse. This secret Army base was built during World War II to train men with a ‘new’ tank designed for night warfare. Camp Bouse Ninth Tank Group Memorial was recently established in Bouse. The Bouse Assay Office has been restored and opened as an information and tourist center. Founders Day is celebrated in November. The Bouse Boosters hold both a Christmas Bazaar and Spring Fever Days.

12. CAMP BOUSE, BOUSE ARIZONA

General George S. Patton established Camp Bouse in 1943 in the Butler Valley as the site for training over 5,500 carefully screened and qualified volunteers. These soldiers were trained to use a highly secret weapon called the Canal Defense Light. Dubbed the ‘Gizmo’ by the soldiers who operated it, the CDL was a 13-million candle power searchlight mounted on specialized tank for the purpose of illuminating the area at night to dazzle the enemy with its flickering light. Troop trains brought the highly trained soldiers and their equipment from Fort Knox under heavy guard on October 14, 1943. The CDL tanks were never deployed to war. The post was occupied by the 9th Tank Group and the 526th Armored Infantry Battalion. The site was dismantled and abandoned in 1945. The monument was erected in 2010 by Arizona State Society Daughters of the American Revolution Jo Beaver Andress, State Regent. The marker is in Bouse, Arizona on Broadway Avenue, route 72 at milepost 27, south of Main Street on the right when traveling west. It is east of the railroad tracks across from the U. S. Post Office, in the post office area located on Powerline Road in Butler Valley west from Alamo Lake Road.

13. SWANSEA TOWNSITE

additional info: Swansea Arizona Ghost Town

Prospectors began working the area in the year 1862. Results were slow until 1886, when three miners struck a silver-lead ore on the Ruby Silver claim. Soon the silver ran out, leaving only a ‘worthless’ copper deposit. John W. Johnson eventually sold the mining claims in 1904 to the Signal Group. The new owners found the key to fully developing the copper mine lay with the Arizona & California Railroad’s new line from Wickenburg to Parker. T.J. Carrigan, one of the new owners, began looking for investors. He convinced George Mitchell to take a 21 mile buckboard ride through the desert to visit the claim in 1908. It worked. Mitchell, a Swansea born Welshman, incorporated the Clara Consolidated the following year. Gaining capital from foreign investors, he then built a blast furnace smelter, power plant, water system and dug more mine shafts. By 1909, with a population of 500 people, the town blossomed to include saloons, a general store, post office and even a moving picture house. The first train arrived at the adobe depot on the new Swansea Railroad in 1910. By May of that same year, the furnaces began producing the first copper at a rate to 50 tons a day. Unfortunately, Mitchell, who invested heavily above ground and not enough in the mines, was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1911. After bankruptcy was declared, the mine had several false starts until 1915, when Ernest C. Lane became the manager and successfully ran the mine for a number of different owners. New adobe houses were built for company families and worker cottages were built near the store. The mine fell victim to the Great Depression and a declining copper market, and never boomed again. The last milling was reported in 1944. It now sits as a reminder of gold seekers and gamblers on the edge of the Swansea Wilderness area just northeast of Bouse, south of the Bill Williams River. Today as one of Arizona’s favorite ghost towns, Swansea has only remnants of a blast furnace smelter, power plant, railroad, company store and workers cottages. Travel north to Vicksburg, then turn northwest on AZ 72 to Bouse. From Bouse take Swansea Road north through Midway to Swansea.

14. BOUSE FISHERMAN INTAGLIO (NEAR BOUSE, ARIZONA)

additional info: Bouse, Arizona

Arizona Outback Bouse Intaglio The fisherman is an intaglio (geoglyph or earth figure), a large figure created in the soil by Indians many years ago. Visit the site of this protected giant on Plomosa Road near Bouse where you will also find an interpretive sign and bronze plaque set in a stone pillar. Special recognition has been given to Con & Dawn Bergland by the Bureau of Land Management as ‘Friends of the Fisherman’. Plomosa Road, off Hwy 72 in Bouse, is also referred to as the ‘Quartzsite Scenic Route’. Wander through spectacular natural desert vistas, cross a mountain range, and drop down into an open valley before you come into Quartzsite. The road is paved and well maintained, scenic viewing and parking areas are abundant.

15. BUCKSKIN MOUNTAINS

additional info: Arizona Wilderness Areas and Public Lands

The Buckskin Mountains are a mountain range in western-central Arizona. The range lies just east of the north-south Colorado River, and south of the east-west, west flowing Bill Williams River. The range is part of a three-range sequence of mildly arc-shaped ranges, and two intermountain valleys in the Maria fold and thrust belt, a region in Western Arizona and southwest Southern California, with the Colorado River flowing south through the western part of the belt. The Buckskin Mountains also extend west into a section abutting the Colorado River. Buckskin Mountain State Park borders the south of the Bill Williams River. The southeast section of the Buckskin Mountains are part of a three-mountain range thrust-faulted system with the Harcuvar and Harquahala Mountains. The highest peak in the section is Battleship Peak, 2,579 feet at the southwest end, and directly northeast of Bouse in the Ranegras Plain, and the Bouse Wash Drainage. The west end of the mountains abut the north-south Colorado River. Located here is the Gibralter Mountain Wilderness, with Gibralter Mountain, at 1,566 feet. The entire north perimeter of the range is the Bill Williams River. Buckskin Mountain State Park is at its confluence in the northwest at the Colorado River. Abutting the Bill Williams in the center is the Swansea Wilderness, the northeast contains the Rawhide Mountains Wilderness on both sides of the river. The northeast of the range borders Alamo Lake State Park, which also borders the Rawhide Mountains on the lake’s northwest side.

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