Just an hour northwest of Phoenix is the old west town of Wickenburg, Arizona. This is a fun town to take a day trip to. Voted as one of the best western towns in the world. Wickenburg’s history is rooted in mining and farming.
Things to do in Wickenburg
- Take the Historical Walking Tour
- Visit the Desert Caballeros Western Museum
- Hike the Hassayampa River Preserve
- Hike Vulture Peak
- Tour Vulture City
- Visit the Annual Gold Rush Days and Senior Pro Rodeo in February
Learn about Arizona’s old west by taking the Historical Walking Tour.
Wickenburg’s Historical Walking Tour
The Santa Fe Depot built in 1894 is now home to the Chamber of the Commerce. The tour begins at the Santa Fe Depot where visitors can obtain a map and start their self-guided tour.
There are 31 stops on the walking tour. Visitors can begin the tour by the statue of the teacher with luggage. Look for her near the Santa Fe Railroad engine and caboose.
Throughout the downtown there are six sculptures with buttons visitors can press to learn more about the history of Wickenburg.
One of the stops on the historical tour include the Hassayampa Building on the corner of Frontier and Yavapi Street. A sculpture of hotel owner Elizabeth Smith, tells visitors about the hotel’s history. Nearby, the Desert Caballeros Western Museum has a great western historical and art exhibit.
Across the street from the Desert Caballeros Western Museum, next to the gas station, is the Jail Tree. This 200 year old Mesquite tree served as the town’s jail from 1863 to 1890. Outlaws were chained to the tree for punishment.
Tour Vulture City
Just 12-miles outside of Wickenburg is a deserted mining town just begging to be explored. Vulture City was home to 5,000 people back in the mid 1800’s and is located next to an active gold mine. My daughter and I drove out here one Saturday morning to check it out.
Vulture Mine Tours offers guided tours on the weekends, however if you can’t make it on the designated tour times you can take a self-guided tour. I found the guides there to be very helpful in answering any questions that we had.
We learned that Vulture City was abandoned soon after World War II and that millions of dollars have been invested in restoring the original buildings in this settlement.
My daughter and I had fun exploring the settlement. Some of the buildings we visited included: Henry Wickenburg’s cabin, the Wells Fargo post office, the bunk house, the building where gold alloy was once produced, a brothel, a gas station, and the hanging tree. One of the first buildings you will see was once the superintendent’s house. Inside is a small museum about the history of the settlement.
Vulture City is a fun day trip. On our way home we stopped by our favorite place to eat in Wickenburg: The Mecca Bar & Grill. They remodeled the inside, and have a great outdoor dining area as well. Best of all the staff are friendly and the food is good.
Hiking in Wickenburg
Hassayampa River Preserve is a popular hiking trail.