Harquahala Mountain in Aguila, Az, turn onto the Eagle Eye Road, a few miles in watch on the left for the mountain with a hole at the top - Eagle Eye!
Drive 18 miles turning R at the Harquahala Mountain Byway staging area. There’s plenty of parking, a outhouse, and a information kiosk, with interesting facts about the area. This mountain is the highest peak in the SW corner of Arizona. The name comes from Native Americans - "Aha-qua-hala" meaning " water there is, high up" due to the numerous springs. Volcanic magma rock formed 900 million years ago, and the Sonoran desert floor was a shallow sea bed 100 million years ago.
Starting in 1860 the road was built for mining access over a 70 year span and reached the summit in 1981. Over the years they mined gold, silver, manganese and gypsum.
The road is for OHV or 4 wheel drive vehicles because it is narrow and very steep, watch out for fallen rocks, motorist and wildlife like desert Bighorn sheep, mule deer, javelina, rosy boa snake and the desert tortoise.
We continued back up the main road, it is easy to traverse, but at the same time it could be washed out, rocky and there are many switch backs. We stopped for several photo opportunities going up the mountain. You will see great vistas of the flat desert land with a few roads cutting across like ribbons, numerous rugged mountains and patchwork farmland.
By the time you reach the summit you will travel 3800 ft. in elevation! Near the top there is a chance to see Mt. sheep. As you rise in elevation you can see the vegetation changing from cactus to scrub oak. On top of the mountain you will be at an elevation of 5681 ft. and you will find a large parking and tent camping areas.
At the summit the solar panels provide power to the microwave towers which control water canals. Opening and closing of water gates hundreds of miles away.
In 1920 the Smithsonian Institution constructed the 2 story metal building used for collecting solar data, it was used for forecasting climate events for 5 years. They lived in this harsh environment with temperatures ranging from above 100 degrees in the summer to windy, 20 degrees in the winter.
It took less than 2 hours to get down, we did meet 2 vehicles and 1 group of OHV's going to the summit.