The Hassayampa River flows freely for several miles along the southern and eastern portions of this Wilderness, supporting a riparian habitat. The area reaches a high point on Sam Powell Peak at 4,015 feet in the western portion (rising from a low point of 2,400 feet within the Wilderness boundaries), where you'll also discover a striking geological monolith called The Needle. Side canyons and uplands are covered in chaparral, paloverde, and saguaro. Common wildlife includes mountain lions, bobcats, javalina, other smaller mammals, rattlesnakes, and a variety of other non-venomous snakes.
Average annual temperatures in Hassayampa River Canyon Wilderness range from 35 degrees Fahrenheit in winter to 100 degrees in summer, with 8 inches of precipitation falling annually. Visitors come to backpack or horsepack and to photograph the landscape. There is a total of 21 miles of trail in the Wilderness. Private land exists adjacent to the Wilderness boundary and should not be crossed without prior permission.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Hassayampa River Canyon Wilderness.
The 11,840-acre Hassayampa River Canyon Wilderness is about eight miles northeast of Wickenburg and 48 miles northwest of Phoenix, Arizona in Yavapai County.
From Phoenix, travel west to Wickenburg via Highway 60 or 74. From Wickenburg, take the Constellation Road north toward the Williams Ranch. Access to the wilderness area is across private land, so please ask permission first. High-clearance or four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended for access to the wilderness boundary.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Water is scarce to non-existant. Shade is minimal in the desert. Access to the wilderness area is along a minimally maintained meandering road with cliffs and no guard rails.
Primitive recreation experiences, encounters with others, and solitude opportunities are measured through the visitor register boxes. Please provide us with your comments to help us manage this area.
Existing non-motorized and non-mechanized trails in this area include: Hassayampa (it follows its name sake river), Black Rock Mine, Treasure Canyon, Jesus Canyon, Cooper, Dropoff, Needle, RW, Ralanced Rock, Slaughterhouse Canyon, Fool's Canyon, CW, Oak Creek, and Jacob's Ladder.
Climate and Special Equipment Needs
High clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicle with good tire tread to navigate the access road.
Proficiency in Leave No Trace skills and ethics.
Minimal to no water available. Best to plan your trip during the early spring run-off.
Summertime temperatures exceed 110F degrees on any given day.
Safety and Current Conditions
Monsoon season begins early July and lasts until September, bringing with it high winds, lightning, and sleet/rain.
Do not drive through low areas where water is running during flash floods. These generally occur during the summer months.
Try not to travel on the 13 mile backcountry road once the sun goes down. The road becomes extremely dark making it hard to see the cliffs, wash-outs, rocks on the road, and other possible hazards.
Want to Volunteer for Wilderness?
Citizens who volunteer their time to steward our wilderness areas are an essential part of wilderness management. Contact the following groups to inquire about volunteer opportunities.