Wickenburg is a small in Arizona, in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, where people go when they want to experience the authentic Wild West. A walk through town is a trip into the past, with historic, now renovated saloons, shops and hotels, the notorious Jail Tree, a dude ranch, a ghost town, and an abandoned mine. Located an hour and 15 minutes from Scottsdale, Wickenburg is a fun day trip or weekend getaway stop in Arizona.

1. Desert Caballeros Western Museum

Desert Caballeros Western Museum
© Desert Caballeros Western Museum

The Desert Caballeros Western Museum is a fascinating small museum in Wickenburg, Arizona that brings alive the regional Western heritage through a series of displays and exhibits as well as fascinating true stories of explorers, settlers, cowboys, miners, and other adventurers who lived and worked in the 19th century American West.

In the basement, there is a recreation of early 1900s Wickenburg with a store, saloon, and a hotel as well as furniture, oral histories, and dioramas.

The museum, which was founded in 1960, combines the history with the town’s love for the arts, bringing together historic artifacts in a world-class art collection. The museum is renowned for its creative programs and exhibitions. Visit this wonderful little museum and discover the Old West and the Next West.

21 N Frontier St, Wickenburg, AZ 85390, Phone: 928-684-2272

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2. Hassayampa River Preserve

Hassayampa River Preserve
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The Hassayampa River Preserve is a 770-acre nature reserve near Wickenburg, Arizona, that is owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy.

The preserve is located deep in the Sonoran Desert, protecting the area of the Hassayampa River, which contains flowing water year round.

The Sonoran Desert contains cottonwood-willow forest, one of the rarest and most threatened kinds of riparian environments.

The Hassayampa River Preserve is home to more than 280 species of birds and a large number of raptors, such as the zone-tailed hawk, the Harris hawk, and the black hawk.

Trails through the Hassayampa are self-guided, running along lush river edges, across the vibrant river’s floodplain, and through ancient majestic cottonwood-willow forests and dense forests of mesquite.

One nice trail loops around Palm Lake, where you can spot waterfowl, not common in the desert.

49614 U.S. Hwy 60 89, Wickenburg, AZ 85390, Phone: 928-684-2772

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3. Vulture Peak Trail, Wickenburg, Arizona

Vulture Peak Trail, Wickenburg, Arizona
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Less than an hour’s drive from Phoenix, near Wickenburg, the Vulture Peak Hiking Trail is a 3.8-mile loop trail that runs through the Sonoran Desert, among ocotillo, saguaro barrel, cholla, and hedgehog cactus and other desert vegetation. Moderately difficult, the trail starts flat and easy, running through small forests of teddy bear cactus. After about a mile, the hike climbs up to the saddle, which is a bit more challenging, with a few switchbacks. The views from the saddleback are spectacular. You can reach the peak from the saddleback by climbing about 250 feet on an unmaintained, steep trail, but the view you will enjoy at the top is 360 degrees and out of this world, encompassing the entire desert and surrounding mountain ranges. Sign your name in the book provided by the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce.

Wickenburg, Arizona, Phone: 623-580-5500

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4. Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts

Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts
© Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts

Established in 2001, The Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts is a state-of-the-art theater dedicated to enriching the cultural and educational experience of Wickenburg and the surrounding areas. Built in 2000 as a part of the Wickenburg High School campus, the theater can accommodate 600 people and operates as a joint effort between the Wickenburg Unified School District, the Wickenburg Foundation for the Performing Arts, and a group of local arts supporters. The Webb Center had its first season in the fall of 2001. Since then, it has developed a diverse and successful program of work that includes public theater performances, live music concerts, ballet performances, educational outreach activities, after-school classes, artist-in-residency programs, and a summer arts camp.

1090 S Vulture Mine Rd, Wickenburg, AZ 85390, Phone: 928-684-6624, (website link)

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5. Vulture Gold Mine, Wickenburg, Arizona

Vulture Gold Mine, Wickenburg, Arizona
© Vulture Gold Mine

The Vulture Mine is an abandoned gold mine located near the once thriving settlement of Vulture City. The settlement was established in 1866 in the picturesque Sonoran Desert in Arizona and is considered a precursor of today’s Wickenburg. The settlement was developed to accommodate the miners and other workers in what was at that time Arizona's most successful gold mine. At one time, Vulture City had 5,000 residents. After producing 340,000 ounces of gold from 1863 to 1942, the mine was quickly exhausted and the War Production Board closed it in 1942. Today, fascinating tours of this once thriving settlement and mine offer a glimpse of the life and culture of mining communities in the American Southwest in the late 19th century. Visitors have a chance to explore a number of nicely restored buildings and imagine how it all once looked with 5,000 people milling around.

36610 N 355TH Ave, Wickenburg, AZ 85390, Phone: 602-859-2743, (website link)

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6. The Jail Tree, Wickenburg, AZ

The Jail Tree, Wickenburg, AZ
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At the corner of Tegner St. and Wickenburg Way in Wickenburg there is a 200-year-old mesquite tree that once served as the town jail. At its early days, in the mid-19th century, Wickenburg was a rough Wild West town. Its colorful population consisted of gold-obsessed miners, angry Native Americans, Wild West gunslingers, and all sorts of outlaws. According to local lore, Wickenburg did not have a jail for its lawbreakers until 1890, and the criminals were just chained to the Jail Tree until they could be transported to a real jail in Phoenix. To enforce this legend, artist Seward Johnson made a life-sized sculpture of a sad cowboy, wearing typical convict stripes, sitting dejectedly on the ground with one ankle chained to the tree. If you would like to learn more about the city’s past and the Jail Tree, visit the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce in the Old Train Depot.

45 N Tegner St, Next to the Circle K Store, Wickenburg, AZ 85390-1454

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7. Kay El Bar Guest Ranch

Kay El Bar Guest Ranch
© Kay El Bar Guest Ranch

Kay El Bar is a historic guest ranch about an hour from Phoenix, on the banks of the Hassaymapa River, in the foothills of the Bradshaw Mountains on the outskirts of the historic Old West town of Wickenburg. Kay El Bar Guest Ranch offers a fascinating vacation experience that brings to life Arizona’s Wild West days. The stay at the ranch includes lodging, meals, and a range of exciting activities such as horseback riding through the spectacular Sonoran Desert. The authentic adobe ranch was built in the late 1800s as a cattle ranch, and its adobe walls were made of 18-inch-thick sun-dried bricks made by the Maricopa Native Americans, who lived nearby. This beautifully renovated historic dude ranch offers its guests all modern amenities such as luxury bathrooms, a swimming pool, and a spa.

2655 S Kay el Bar Rd, Wickenburg, AZ 85390, Phone: 928-684-7593, (website link)

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8. Wickenburg Legends and Ghost Tours

Wickenburg Legends and Ghost Tours
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With its fascinating past full of colorful characters, outlaws, and adventurers, Wickenburg has its share of ghost stories and spooky places. Madam Mariah leads very special tours on her Ghost Coaster or Doom Buggy, sharing with the visitors stories, lore, and legends about the historic spots you will be passing by and characters that lived in the city when the streets were teeming with miners obsessed with gold, swaggering cowboys, and reckless adventurers. You might see some ghosts, or not, but you will surely learn more about this fascinating historic city and the people that built it.

416 Frontier St, Wickenburg, AZ 85390, Phone: 360-609-2280

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9. Anita's Cocina, Wickenburg

Anita's Cocina, Wickenburg
© Anita's Cocina

Located in the heart of historic Wickenburg, Anita’s Cocina is a family-owned Mexican restaurant famous for its quirky Western decor, classic Mexican dishes, and fantastic margaritas. The restaurant has been Wickenburg’s favorite place for Mexican food since 1986. What started as a tiny spot with ten tables and a walk-up window grew into a modern restaurant, but with the same traditional family recipes and a pride in fresh, high quality ingredients. The extensive menu has everything you would expect in Mexican restaurants, plus some of the owners’ secrets such as a fantastic chimichanga-tortilla stuffed with meat and the deep fried, topped with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, cheese, black olives, and guacamole. It is so big that you might want to order only half. Anita’s has a nice selection of American and Mexican beers, but they are famous for their margaritas.

57 N Valentine St, Wickenburg, AZ 85390, Phone: 928-684-5777

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10. Things to Do in Wickenburg: Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream

Things to Do in Wickenburg: Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream
© Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream

Bright and cheerful and located in La Siesta Plaza in downtown Wickenburg, Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream is a popular local spot for indulging in a sweet tooth. This charming mom-and-pop ice cream parlor and coffee shop offers a large range of home-made ice creams with new flavors coming up every day. They also have shakes, malts, ice cream sodas, sundaes, hot fudge, and brownies, and that is only the sweet side. They also have whole-day breakfasts, imaginative sandwiches, hot soups, salads, premium hot dogs, and much more. What you eat first – dessert or sandwiches – is entirely up to you. They also have a private room for small celebrations and parties.

472 E Wickenburg Way #201, Wickenburg, AZ 85390, Phone: 928-684-3252

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11. Adventures of a Lifetime ATV

Adventures of a Lifetime ATV
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If you are visiting Wickenburg and are looking for something more challenging than regular old tours, let Adventures of a Lifetime take you through the surrounding desert in a desert-equipped ATV or UTV to explore real ghost towns and abandoned gold mines, drive through canyons, and climb mountaintops. You will see some amazing places you might have missed on your own. This family-run business specializes in small-group adventures in the Sonoran Desert in their open-air customized four passenger desert Rhinos, promising the adventure of a lifetime in this remote, ancient, and wonderful world. There is a range of tours to choose from: Crown King, Box Canyon, Gold Rush, Sunset Tours, Wickenburg Massacre, and Vulture Pass.

36675 S Scenic Loop Rd, Wickenburg, AZ 85390-3655, Phone: 928-684-1200

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12. Flying E Ranch, Wickenburg, Arizona

Flying E Ranch, Wickenburg, Arizona
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Flying E Ranch offers a great way for visitors to have fun in Arizona’s Great Sonoran Desert. Set on approximately twenty thousand acres of desert, the ranch is still a working cattle ranch. Located around an hour from the airport, Flying E Ranch has something for just about everyone who loves the outdoors. Activities here include arena work, cattle drives, horseback riding, and other activities associated with Arizona's heritage. In addition to activities with horses, Flying E Ranch also offers several 4x4 adventures, cookouts in the Old West Town under the stars, biking trails, nature hikes, skeet shooting, and target shooting.

2801 W Wickenburg Way, Wickenburg, AZ 85390, 928-684-2690, (website link)

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13. Wickenburg Friends of Music

Wickenburg Friends of Music
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One of the town's, and possibly state's, oldest presenting organizations, the Wickenburg Friends of Music in Wickenburg, Arizona has been around for more than thirty seasons. Started by two women who brought an idea to the Mayor in 1974, this community-based, music presenting organization is dedicated to bringing live professional musical concerts to the town. These music concerts are performed by professional artists and are open to everyone, free of charge, thanks to business and individual patrons. Concerts provided by the Friends of Music take place at the Community Center in downtown Wickenburg on Sunday afternoons.

Wickenburg, AZ 85390, 928-684-2694

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14. Historic Santa Fe Depot

Historic Santa Fe Depot
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By the 1920’s, the Historic Santa Fe Depot in Wickenburg was the last of the Santa Fe Railroad Line's original wooden depots. The Santa Fe Railroad had decided the old wooden depot was too outmoded, as the railroad was replacing its line's wooden depots. However, th3 ranchers and townspeople of Wickenburg, Arizona felt their artisan-built, "Old West" depot was a critical part of the town's atmosphere, for both visitors and town residents. When the historic depot closed to passenger service, local residents started to write to the Santa Fe Railroad's administrate office to acquire the train depot for alternative uses.

Wickenburg, AZ, 928-684-5479

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15. Things to Do in Wickenburg: Garcia Little Red Schoolhouse

Things to Do in Wickenburg: Garcia Little Red Schoolhouse
© Visit Wickenburg, Arizona

Built back in 1905, the Garcia Little Red Schoolhouse is a historic red brick building situated on land that was donated by "the father of Wickenburg education," Don Ignacio Garcia. The current building replaced what was once a small wood building that was set up in Wickenburg in 1895. The Garcia Little Red Schoolhouse today is home to a written and pictorial history of the area’s early education. A replica of an early 1900's schoolroom is on display, as well as stories of the school's former students, vintage photographs, and yearbooks going back to the year 1921.

245 North Tegner St, Wickenburg, AZ 85358, 928-684-7473, (website link)

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16. Massacre Monument

Massacre Monument
© Visit Wickenburg, Arizona

The Massacre Monument in Wickenburg, Arizona enshrines the stagecoach ambush that left seven people dead. Known as the Wickenburg Massacre, this ambush turned mass murder took place on November 5th of 1871 and occured just outside of town in the desert. The attack occurred on a passenger stagecoach headed west with eigh passengers on board, and all but two of them would be killed in the massacre. The Massacre Monument today exists with a bit of controversy and rumor. Written and witness reports dispute where the passengers' bodies ended up after the attack, with the exact location still remaining a debate.

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17. Rancho Casitas Guest Ranch

Rancho Casitas Guest Ranch
© Rancho Casitas Guest Ranch

Rancho Casitas Guest Ranch offers a round horse pen for guests to use, 120 acres for riding, and accommodation for two horses per each rental. Originally the White Land and Cattle Company's headquarters, Rancho Casitas of today was the dream of Louise and Reg Craig, who bought the main headquarters of Bob White in 1964. Now offering long-term vacation casitas, Rancho Casitas Guest Ranch provides a picturesque lodging facility where guests can have their animals on vacation with them. The ranch also offers the natural beauty of the desert with its incredible colors, vistas, and night sky.

56550 Rancho Casitas Rd, Wickenburg, AZ 85390, 928-684-2628

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18. Things to Do in Wickenburg: Vulture City

Things to Do in Wickenburg: Vulture City
© Vulture City

Vulture City is a place where visitors can celebrate and remember the history of the "American West." Situated around twelve miles outside of Wickenburg in the Sonoran Desert, the site transports guests back to a bygone era through remaining artifacts and restored buildings as they travel down a half-mile gravel path through an old mining town. Open daily for self-guided tours, Vulture City consists of the Original Home of Henry Wickenburg, Post Office, the infamous Hanging Tree, Cookhouse, and the Assay Office. There's also picnic tables available. It's recommended that visitors wear closed-toed shoes for exploring Vulture City.

36610 355th Ave, Wickenburg, AZ 85390, 877-425-9229

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