Harquahala Peak Observatory


Harquahala Peak Observatory was built in 1920 by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to measure and record solar activity. Although deserted now, from 1920-1925 a hardy group of scientists lived and worked atop the highest mountain in southwestern Arizona (5,681 foot elevation). How these individuals lived, worked, and relaxed up on this peak, struggling with its seclusion and weather, represents an enlivened story of dedicated scientific pursuit and American inventiveness.

Know Before You Go

  • Watch for rattlesnakes and other venomous creatures in the desert.
  • Please do not harass reptiles. Many people are bitten while playing with, collecting, or attempting to kill them.
  • Remnants of prospecting and mining lie near the Observatory and elsewhere in the Harquahala Mountains. Be aware of the danger these remains pose and avoid them when exploring the area.
  • Thunderstorms on Harquahala Peak are often violent and dangerous. Should stormy weather arise during your visit, leave the mountaintop as quickly as possible.

Adventure is at Your Fingertips


Geographic Coordinates

33.811068, -113.346594


Take Interstate 10 to Salome Road exit. Go north to Eagle Eye Road 9.6 miles then turn right. Go 8.5 miles to the dirt road heading north. Follow the dirt road to the western end of the Harquahala Mountains Wilderness. The byway leading to the observatory is 10.5 miles long and is very rugged and steep in places. Four-wheel drive is required.