Wickenburg AZ: Where cowboys roam and artists reign
Wickenburg AZ is a true western town, where the spurs have a job to do and hats are not accessories. The town is full of character, where spirits remain wild and the souls are Western through and through. If you conjure images of the west, generally what emerges in the mind’s eye are horses, open space, clean air and cowboys. With fewer and fewer areas to enjoy a true western experience, there is one place that has flourished for well over a century…Wickenburg AZ.
Located about sixty miles northwest of Phoenix, Wickenburg AZ is arguably the “west’s most western town.” 150 years ago a man named Henry Wickenburg came to the area in search of gold, he was fortunate enough to find it at the Vulture Goldmine, which helped the community become the third largest town in Arizona during its heyday. 2013 marked Wickenburg’s sesquicentennial, 150 years since Mr. Wickenburg first came to the area, making it the 2nd oldest town in the state north of Tucson.
Over the years Wickenburg AZ has been able to maintain its roots as a western town, one that continues to embrace the cowboy lifestyle. Visitors will enjoy a plethora of activities, from dude ranches, lush golf courses, shopping, horseback riding, hiking, arts & culture to exploring those great outdoors.
Here are my top-10 suggestions of things to do while in Wickenburg AZ:
- Stroll downtown Wickenburg and enjoy the various sculptures with audio narration and historic buildings. Stop by the Chamber of Commerce, which is located in the old Santa Fe train depot, and pick up info on the various activities in the area.
- Visit the Desert Caballeros Western Museum for an impressive collection of Western artifacts and Southwestern art.
- Hike to the top of Vulture Peak, an iconic sight in Wickenburg AZ. The 360 degree desert views are simply spectacular!
- Check out the Hassayampa River Preserve, a lush riparian area where the normally underground river rises above ground. There are many trails and great places to enjoy a picnic.
- Enjoy a concert or theatrical presentation at the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts.
- No visit to Wickenburg would be complete without a Dude Ranch experience. There are several guest ranches in the area where you can ride horses, rope cattle, square dance or enjoy a camp fire as a famous southwestern sunset fills the sky with color.
- Take a Jeep tour of the area…see abandoned mines, get a history lesson, and enjoy the diverse landscape.
- Peruse the local shops and galleries to get a real sense of the western flair in the community.
- If you’re like me and you enjoy golf, don’t miss either of the three courses in town…the Wickenburg Country Club, Los Caballeros Golf Club and Wickenburg Ranch.
- If you really want to know what it was like back in the gold rush days, give the folks at Miner’s Creek a call for a gold panning experience in which you get to keep everything you find.
For more information on the area, visit the Wickenburg AZ Chamber of Commerce website.
If you’ve ever been to Wickenburg AZ, please leave a comment below and share your favorite activities.