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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Take the “A” trail, out Wickenburg way.


Sophie Burden made wicked good beer biscuits---an accidental concoction she created when camping companions guzzled the milk she was saving for the recipe. Not one to be so easily disarmed, she rustled up some good 'ol fashioned western ingenuity, tossed a can of brew into the batter instead and viola, a Wickenburg icon was born. Dubbed the "First Lady of Arizona Inn keeping" by former governor Paul Fannin (1959-1965), Sophie ran popular Wickenburg dude retreat Remuda Ranch (where her biscuits were legend) frequently taking guests on cookouts to the flats, hills and trails surrounding the property. The ranch was sold in 1968 and is now a high-end treatment facility for eating disorders, where they likely do not serve ale-addled quick breads.  The ranch site is private, but the peripheral stomping grounds remain open to recreational hikers and equestrians.  A roomy, rustic trailhead with separate parking areas for cars and horse trailers anchors the site’s 7.1-mile main “A” loop trail. The hiking here is a leisurely amble through a hilly landscape shaped by mining, ranching and harsh desert conditions.  This area northeast of Wickenburg consists of 9.4 miles of non-motorized trails laid out in wagon-wheel-style, looping among shared motorized use dirt roads.  A maze of washes, Jeep roads and unnamed trails intersect the route, so be sure to follow the “A” signs to stay on course.

LENGTH: 7.1-mile loop
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 2400'- 2740'
FACILITIES: restroom, map kiosk
From Phoenix, travel north on I17 to Carefree Highway/SR74 (exit 223) and go west toward Wickenburg. Drive 30 miles on SR74, turn right at US60 and continue to just before  the Hassayampa River bridge traffic circle in Wickenburg and turn right on El Recreo.  Go 0.25 mile, veer right onto Constellation Road and continue 2.7 miles to Blue Tank Road on the left.  Follow Blue Tank Road 1.3 miles to the trailhead. The last 4 miles are on sedan-friendly dirt roads. 
INFO: Bureau of Land Management

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