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PhotoJeeping: Off Constellation Road

Yesterday, Jack the Dog and I took my Jeep out on Constellation Road. It’s a dirt road that winds into the desert northeast of Wickenburg, past numerous mining sites. It was named for the town of Constellation, which is on many maps. But I’d driven and flown the area extensively and cannot find a trace of the town where it is supposed to be.

Off Constellation RoadPhotoJeeping is like photowalking, but done in a Jeep. Sure, you get out and do some hiking now and then, but most transportation is by Jeep or other 4WD vehicle. I covered 40 miles yesterday, roundtrip, in about five hours. I made stops at a number of mining sites and more than a few “scenic” areas near the road. And, for the first time ever, I drove all the way out to the Williams Family Ranch on the Hassayampa River.

Along the way, I took plenty of photos — more than 150, in fact — and a bit of video. I’m sure I’ll show more of it off here.

This is one of the last photos I took on the way back. The light was getting good but I was exhausted. I really didn’t think I’d get back as quick as I did, but wasn’t interesting in hanging around for the light to get even better. This spot is about 8 miles out of Wickenburg, right at the beginning of the hills (43.04841° / -112.6031767°).

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Last 5 posts by Maria Langer

4 comments to PhotoJeeping: Off Constellation Road

  • Allan Hall

    The remains of Constellation are located at the following coordinates:
    N 34 03′ 48″ by W 112 33′ 55″ (WGS84). The easiest way to reach it is by hiking one mile upstream in Slim Jim Creek at the point where Constellation Road crosses. Although ATVs can usually make the drive, regular 4WD vehicles cannot. The creek has a tendency to reinvent itself after heavy rains and even ATVs can have difficulty.

    There isn’t much left at Constellation anymore – a few dry stack foundations and a couple piles of broken glass from the saloon. There is an old stage coach trail the descends into Constellation from the southwest and the famous trail built by Mahoney to reach the Gold Bar Mine via O’Brien Gulch begins near the corral.

    A bit farther upstream is the remains of the Cavannass goat ranch, which was prominently mentioned in Frank Crampton’s book “Deep Enough”.

  • Allen


    You mentioned in your latest article “PhotoJeeping: Constellation Road” that you cannot find the old Constellation townsite. Dana Burden has identified the townsite as being approximately one mile up Slim Jim from the intersection of Constellation Road and Slim Jim Gulch. I have been there several times. It is rough going up Slim Jim via Jeep but it can be done. I have done it. The best is to drive a few hundred yards, park the Jeep and start walking with the dog Jack. The site is very near a standing windmill that I believe is owned by the William’s Family. In the vincinty, you will find evidence of old foundation sites and the old road into and out of the area. The foundation would be very difficult to see from the air. Another good reference is to read Frank Crampton’s(sp) book called “Deep Enough”. He was in the area many decades ago and took pictures of a few of the buildings. I have the book and would be happy to loan it to you but I loaned it to “someone” and they have not returned it. The book is out-of-print and I found an old used one on eBay.

  • Allan & Allen: Thanks for this information. I guess what I should have said it that I’ve never been able to find any identifiable ruins from Constellation. There are plenty of signs of past habitation up there, but no buildings and very little in the way of foundations. Mind you, I haven’t taken my Jeep up Slim Jim or hiked up there. Most of my observations are from above, while flying helicopter tours in the area.

    I’ll look up “Deep Enough,” which you both mentioned. I like looking at old photos and comparing them to what’s now visible.

    Do either of you think it’s worth a group hike up there? We haven’t done one of those in a while.

  • Allan Hall

    In addition to the aforementioned points of interest, a hike in this area could include visits to the Copper Belt and/or the Copper Blossom mines. There are several others in the vicinity as well. Once you get out of Slim Jim Creek, there is some fairly steep ground in the area, but Mahoney’s trail into O’Brien Gulch is a good path that would take hikers in viewing distance of other old mines as well. It would be a function of how ambitious a group wanted to be.

    Another option would be to hike all the way down to O’Brien Gulch. In that case, I would recommend having vehicles staged at both ends of the hike. That route would involve passing through some private land and someone should contact the owner in advance.