|View from Aspen Peak|
Monday, April 20, 2015
ASPEN PEAK-POTATO PATCH LOOP
Hualapai Mountain Park, Kingman
In Arizona's northwest corner, an archipelago of "biological sky islands" juts from the desert around the town of Kingman providing cool respite for heat-weary hikers. The roads and trails that ascend into the razorback ridges and rounded granite pinnacles of the Hualapai Mountains glide up from arid foothills through vegetation life zones of chaparral, pine-oak, mixed conifer and fir-aspen. Occupying a band of high elevation cool air and shady forests, the sprawling recreational hub of Hualapai Mountain Park makes exploring this diverse sphere of outdoor wonders a cinch.
The 2,300 acre park offers camping, picnic sites and over 10 miles of hiking trails.
There's so much to see and do here that you'll want to pitch a tent, park a RV or splurge on "glamping" in one of the rustic rental cabins built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. With your base camp established, grab a map from the ranger station and hit the trails. The beautifully illustrated map which complements the well-signed routes also corresponds with numbered points along the trails and has tidbits on the history and natural features visible at each stop. If you enjoy climbing to high summits, there's plenty to keep you busy as trails lead to Hayden Peak (8,390'), Hualapai Peak (8,417') and Aspen Peak (8,124') while numerous overlooks with comfy benches offer more casual ways to view the ring of mountain ranges flanking the park. The park's signature trek--4.3-mile Potato Patch Loop--begins at the main trail junction (#4 on the map) and forms sort of a wagon wheel around the site with spokes connecting to major roads and trails. The loop winds through thick forests, exposed edges and massive stone outcroppings with expansive views all the way around. An optional 1.26-mile roundtrip hike up the Aspen Peak Trail leads to Dean Peak Overlook (7,950') where you can relax and enjoy the vistas or scramble to the true summit---a short haul that requires route finding and some hand-over-foot climbing.
LENGTH: 4.3-mile loop (5.56 with Aspen Peak)
ELEVATION: 6,486' - 7,950'
FEE: $7 day use (7 a.m. - 7 p.m.) See website for camping & cabin rental rates.
6250 Hualapai Mountain Road, Kingman.
From Phoenix, travel north on I-17 to SR74 (Carefree Hwy) exit 223. Head west on SR74 to US 60, turn right and continue to the US93 junction in Wickenburg. Take 93 north to I-40, head west to the DW Ranch Road exit 59, turn left and follow the signs to the park.
INFO: Mohave County Parks, 928-681-5700