My friend Lorna and I started walking for our health recently. I’m talking about brisk 60-90 minute walks to get our blood flowing, heart beating, lungs working, and calories burning.
Although my neighborhood is not conducive to walking — unpaved roads with lots of dust when cars go by — there are quite a few places in Wickenburg where walking can be a real pleasure. We checked out two of them last week.
The first is the walking/biking trail put in by the Arizona Department of Transportation about a year ago. This nicely paved path winds along the side of the California Highway (West Wickenburg Way) between Vulture Mine Road and Sunset Park. There’s ample parking in the park, right at the end of the trail. The trail, which is about 1.5 miles long, is closed to motorized traffic, leaving it open for walkers, joggers, bicyclists, and, I assume, skaters. It doesn’t get a lot of use, but we did pass a few people walking in each direction. I think it would be an excellent track for joggers, keeping them off the road but on a good surface for running.
Walking/Biking Trail Along the California Highway.
Although the path is in good condition and is wide enough for two or more people to walk side-by-side, it isn’t exactly what I’d call a pleasant place to walk. It is, after all, right beside the road. Cars and trucks zoom by on their way into or out of town. We could do better than that.
And we did. Lorna introduced me to the Old Stagecoach Road. This road, which runs through the north end of the Flying E Ranch’s property, is an unpaved road which crosses several washes. The surface is not as even and smooth as the asphalt hiking/biking trail, but I like that. Walking in sand for part of the distance helps get the muscles toned. The road is relatively straight for most of the distance we walked, from West Park to the west about a mile and a half. We went through three gates. Although there were signs of cattle in one area, we didn’t see any cows.
From the Old Stagecoach Road, looking back toward Wickenburg.
What I like best about the Old Stagecoach Road is the views. The west end of town is at a higher elevation that downtown, so you can clearly see the mountains in the distance. You can also see Vulture Peak and the buildings of the Flying E Ranch to the south. Picturesque and removed from highway traffic.
Vulture Peak, from the Old Stagecoach Road.
Accessing the Old Stagecoach Road from a parking area isn’t straightforward. We came in through a gate adjacent to West Park, but that’s a private community and I don’t think they’d like it used for hiker parking. Your best bet is probably to park at Sunset Park, near the end of the hiking/biking trail and walk across West Wickenburg way to the Wickenburg Massacre Monument at the entrance to the Flying E Ranch. Then walk down the paved road toward the Flying E Ranch and turn right (recommended) or left at the sign for the Old Stagecoach Road.
By the way, the Old Stagecoach Road is where the Wickenburg Massacre actually happened — not at the monument. I think it was west of Flying E Ranch’s road, about a mile or so. We haven’t walked that far yet, but I hope to one day soon.