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Explore / back road

Castle Hot Springs Rd

2 Cool Lizards travel guide




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Castle Hot Springs Road leads past the old Castle Hot Springs Hotel site, which was once a resort and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located in the Hieroglyphic Mountains north of Phoenix. A high clearance vehicle is required for the east end of the road (closest to Lake Pleasant); the road runs along the bottom of a river bed for 3 miles.


Castle Hotsprings Road Arizona 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!


Castle Road Castle Hotsprings
Castle Hot Springs Road
view of Lake Pleasant
Peek At Lake Pleasant
Castle Hot Springs Road wash area
Wash Area Of Road


Directions


From Phoenix or Flagstaff, take I-17 (north from Phoenix and south from Flagstaff). Go west Hwy 74 toward Wickenburg. Turn right on Castle Hot Springs Rd. Go past the Lake Pleasant Regional Park main entrance and north entrance. Continue on the Castle Hot Springs Rd.

NOTE: It might be a good idea to stop at the fee station at the north entrance to use the facilities and obtain information on current road conditions.

ALTERNATE ROUTE: Take Hwy 74 to Morristown, then take Castle Hot Springs NE road toward Castle Hot Springs. 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.

Resources:

maricopa.gov/parks/lake_pleasant Lake Pleasant Park

travel with children Children

Burros on Castle Hot Springs Road Since the only facilities are at Lake Pleasant Regional Park on the east end or Morristown on the west end, I highly recommend paying the small fee at the park and making a stop there before taking Castle Hot Springs Rd (if coming in from that end). Bring plenty of water and food and follow all safety precautions and preparations for back road travel.

We spotted turkey vultures, coyotes, lizards and these two wild burros - and this was while making no real attempt to spot wildlife. See the "real desert" and its numerous inhabitants while traveling this area.


accessible travel Accessibility
Lake Pleasant Regional Park contains wheelchair accessible restrooms. These are two stall restrooms with one stall being large and accessible. Wheelchair accessible picnic areas are also provided. For more information on Lake Pleasant, go to: Lake Pleasant

Castle Hot Springs Rd requires a high clearance vehicle. Trails and roads are not wheelchair accessible.
travel with pets Pets
For your pet's safety, as well as the safety of wildlife, your pet should be leashed (it is a requirement in all parks).

Bring plenty of water and food and follow all safety precautions and preparations for back road travel. For the safety of your pet, NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET UNATTENDED IN A VEHICLE. Temperatures can be extreme in Arizona.

Nearby Wickenburg has pet-friendly accommodations at the Best Western Rancho Grande (restrictions apply).
Call 800-854-7235 for more information.


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