When Monsoon clouds tumble down off the rim and unleash sheets of rain over Lake Pleasant, the wash that crosses over Castle Hot Springs Rd near Lake Pleasant becomes so fast and furious that the road is literally re-arranged. Do NOT take this road when raining or wet. Be especially careful during the monsoon season. We recommend a high clearance vehicle, although we made it in a small sedan. The wash is shown in the photo on the right.
This very scenic drive lies just NE of Phoenix. Take Hwy 74 west to Castle Hot Springs Rd. This is also the turn-off to Lake Pleasant. Continue past the main entrance and north entrance to Lake Pleasant. Castle Hot Springs Rd.
will continue through the Hells Canyon Wilderness on the way to the historic Castle Hot Springs, once a playground for the rich and famous.
Views of the Hieroglyphic Mts. rising out of the desert make this rough, twisting road definitely worth taking.
Shortly after Castle Hot Springs, follow the road back around to the south; it will eventually take you back to Hwy 74 near Wickenburg.
INTERESTING FACT: Although the Mountains are named "Hieroglyphic" they contain no Egyptian Hieroglyphs. Instead, they contain early American "petroglyphs", which is rock art.
NOTE: A side road runs from Castle Hot Springs road north to Crown King. A high clearance vehicle is necessary for that road as well.
As with all back road travel, a good map is required. Take all usual back road precautions when traveling through this area. Refer to our travel safety tips.
ALTERNATE ROUTE: Take Hwy 74 to Morristown, then take Castle Hot Springs road NE toward Castle Hot Springs (now closed). This is the route the stage coach used when taking the rich and famous
to the springs in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The 3 mile stretch of road that runs through the bottom of the river bed lies east of Castle Hot Springs, so this is a safer route during rain. You can always turn around and head back
to Morristown when you come to the springs, thus avoiding the river bottom portion of road.
The pavement ends shortly after the north entrance to Lake Pleasant (coming from Lk Pleasant end). The road is not regularly maintained; it twists and bumps its way through rocky terrain.
Several signs stating "fee area" are posted along the road. You can travel the road without paying a fee, but you cannot park your vehicle to hike or ATV on back roads without paying
a fee at the Lake Pleasant fee station. Castle Hot Springs Rd. travels through areas of Lake Pleasant Regional Park as well as some areas that are private property.
ATV's are NOT allowed in the Hells Canyon Wilderness area. Rangers at Lake Pleasant can provide information on ATV trails and parking. Off road vehicles are allowed in the Hieroglyphic Mts. area.
All vehicles on the county roads must be street licensed.
Many trails in the area are "multi-use" meaning they are used for hiking, ATV, and horse riding.
Wild burros and other wildlife are abundant in the area; respect all wildlife!