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Vulture Peak Trail
Bike Trails and Tours > Vulture Peak Trail (AZ) 
10 miles southwest of Wickenburg, Arizona.
Vulture Peak Trail is a short, but steep, trail that takes hikers 2 miles from the base of Vulture Peak, elevation 2,480 feet, to a saddle at 3,420 feet, just below the summit. The trail is located in the Sonoran Desert and treats visitors to a larger-than-life garden including saguaro cactus, palo verde, mesquite, bursage, creosote, jojoba, ocotillo, ironwood, and numerous cactus species, including prickly pear, teddybear cholla, barrel cactus, hedgehog cactus, and various shrubs and grasses. Years with abundant winter rains can result in springtimes with hillsides awash in thick blankets of wildflowers. Hikers can expect to see globe mallows, mariposa lilies, blackfoot daisies, lupine, red penstemon, desert poppies, and brittlebushes. The area provides habitat for a number of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
From Wickenburg, drive west on U.S. Highway 60 for 2.5 miles, turn left at the Vulture Mine Road, and drive south for 7 miles, then turn left at the Vulture Peak Trail sign to the parking lot.
Visitor Activities
Hiking, picnicking, horseback riding, mountain biking, all-terrain and four-wheel driving, plant viewing, wildlife viewing, and geologic sightseeing.
Special Features
Vulture Peak Trail meanders through classic Sonoran Desert landscapes, including dense stands of saguaro, cholla, and other cactus varieties. The trail crosses wide desert washes andoffers dramatic, scenic vistas of rugged desert mountain ranges and valleys in all directions.
Permits, Fees, Limitations
Vulture Peak Trail is not wheelchair-accessible. The primary trailhead is suitable for passenger cars and may be reached via the paved Vulture Mine Road from Wickenburg. An upper trailhead, suitable only for four-wheel-drive vehicles, is near the base of Vulture Peak. Four-wheel-driving visitors should follow the posted primitive dirt road from the primary trailhead.
Camping and Lodging
On-site camping is primitive. There are no developed campsites.
Food and Supplies
There are no services on-site. Food and supplies are available in Wickenburg.
First Aid
There is no first aid station on-site. The nearest hospital is located in Wickenburg.
Additional Information
From May-September, afternoon temperatures range from 100°–112°F. Average annual precipitation ranges from 8–10 inches a year, most of which occurs during the summer monsoon season. Lightning and flash floods are hazards to expect in July, August, and September. The best time to visit is October–April. Visitors are advised to bring plenty of water and to pack out all refuse. Rattlesnakes and other poisonous creatures may be encountered, so visitors should watch for them and be careful where placing hands and feet. Hikers need to be in good physical condition to ascend the final section to the top of the peak. From the saddle (4,320 feet), experienced hikers can scramble up an extremely steep, narrow chute to the summit of Vulture Peak, which tops out at 3,660 feet. The final ascent is not maintained and should be attempted only by experienced and well-conditioned hikers. The primary trailhead offers a picnic table and parking for 15 vehicles. The four wheel-drive trailhead offers parking for four vehicles. No other facilities or services, including water and trash collection, are provided.
Contact Information
BLM - Phoenix District Office
21605 North 7th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85027
Tel: (623) 580-5500              

Vulture Peak Trail Map

Beavertail Cactus

The beavertail cactus, which thrives on dry, rocky slopes, is one of the many varieties of desert plants that greet hikers on the Vulture Peak Trail. The large, brilliant blooms appear in springtime.   (Doran Sanchez, BLM California Desert District Office)

Last updated: 10-23-2009