The town of Wickenburg is only about an hour northwest of the Phoenix Metro area, but it feels a world away from the noise and strip malls of the city. Named after Austrian settler Henry Wickenburg, today Wickenburg is a vibrant city loaded with Old West charm. To get here from Phoenix, take Route 60-89 towards Las Vegas. Here are some can't miss highlights for this easy day trip from the big city of Phoenix to the mining town charm of historic Wickenburg.
This is Wickenburg's main drag, featuring well-preserved early 20th century building constructed of vintage wood and brick. The old train depot now houses the chamber of commerce, where you can pick up a map for a self-guided historic walking tour of downtown Wickenburg. Frontier Street is also home to plenty of souvenir shops, eateries, boutiques, and a small movie theatre.
Hassayampa River Preserve
This picturesque river preserve, located on the southern outskirts of town, is one of the only places in the state where you can catch a glimpse of the Hassayampa River. For most of its 100-mile course across the desert, the river flows underground, but you can walk besides the clear waters at this preserve. The lush riverside habitat is home to a unique and fragile ecosystem where you can catch spectacular glimpses of bird wildlife.
The Hassayampa River Preserve — Photo courtesy of Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce
The Jail Tree
What is the jail tree? Before Wickenburg had its own jail, criminals being transported from Phoenix to Prescott were chained to a tree, where friends and relatives brought them picnic lunches. See the tree for yourself, located on the property of the Chaparral Ice Cream Parlor, and have your picture taken in front of the jail tree statue on the corner of Tegner Street and Wickenburg Way.
Desert Caballeros Western Museum
This unique museum is dedicated to preserving and promoting traditional Western, American Indian Art, and local Wickenburg history. Check out the Street Scene exhibit in the Hall of History room, which shows what Wickenburg looked like at the turn of the century. Other art galleries feature American Indian Art and Western masters of past and present. If you have always daydreamed of being a cowboy, you'll definitely want to check out the exhibit dedicated to authentic cowboy gear.