The Harquahala Byway Staging Area serves as the gateway to the 10.5 mile Harquahala Mountain Backcountry Byway and the Harquahala Mountains Wilderness. The byway leads to the 5,600 foot Harquahala Mountain summit which provides dramatic views of the surrounding mountain ranges, most notably the Eagletail Mountains. This beautiful Upper Sonoran Desert landscape features majestic saguaros, palo verde and ironwood trees ocotillos, barrel and hedgehog cactus, teddy bear cholla, and many others. Sandy desert washes also traverse the area with lush riparian vegetation along their banks, only carrying water during heavy rainstorms. Due to cooler temperatures and higher precipitation, the upper elevations of the mountains transition to the Chaparral vegetation which includes mountain mahogany, silk tassel, desert scrub oak, sumac and beargrass. Small-scale mining for gold, silver and copper ore has been popular in this area over the past 100 years and abandoned sites can be found scattered throughout. The best season of use is between October and May. Four-wheel drive is required. The semi-primitive staging area offers visitors a large ramada with extensive interpretive information, a vault restroom, two campsites with picnic tables and metal fire pans, and a loading ramp for off-highway vehicles (OHV). There is no drinking water, dumping stations or shade structures.
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