While Wickenburg’s main attractions remain the guest ranches outside of town, a walk around downtown also provides a glimpse of the Old West. Most of the buildings here were built between 1890 and the 1920s (although a few are older), although not all of them look their age.

Frontier Street is preserved as it looked in the early 1900s. The covered sidewalks and false fronts are characteristic of frontier architecture; the false fronts often disguised older adobe buildings that were considered “uncivilized” by settlers from back east. Stop by the old Santa Fe train station on Frontier Street, now the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce, 216 N. Frontier St. (www.outwickenburgway.com; tel. 928/684-0977 or 928/684-5479) to pick up a map that tells the history of the town’s buildings. The brick post office, almost across the street from the train station, once had a ride-up window providing service to people on horseback. The Garcia Little Red Schoolhouse, 245 N. Tegner St. (www.wco.org; tel. 928/684-7473), open Tuesday through Saturday 10am to 2pm, is another of the town’s old-timey sights.

Two of the town’s most unusual attractions aren’t buildings at all. The Jail Tree, behind the convenience store at the corner of Wickenburg Way and Tegner Street, is an old mesquite tree that served as the local hoosegow. Outlaws were simply chained to the tree. Their families would often come to visit and have a picnic in the tree’s shade. Then there’s the Wishing Well, standing beside the bridge over the Hassayampa. Legend has it that anyone who drinks from the Hassayampa River will never tell the truth again. How the well adjacent to the river became a wishing well is unclear.

advertisement

The Team Roping Capital of the World

 

Team roping is when two cowpokes on horses chase a calf across an arena and get points for how fast they immobilize it. Wickenburg’s large rodeo facility, the Everett Bowman Rodeo Grounds, 935 Constellation Rd. (www.ci.wickenburg.az.us/69/Rodeo-Grounds), is a mile or two northeast of the town center; another popular roping venue, Rancho Rio, is north of downtown at 1325 N. Tegner St. (ranchorioaz.com). From November through April there are team roping events there and at several other venues. For an event calendar, go to outwickenburgway.com or call the Chamber of Commerce at tel. 928/684-0977.

advertisement
En Route to Prescott

Between Wickenburg and Prescott, as Ariz. 89 climbs out of the desert, the town of Yarnell lies at the top of a steep stretch of road. The landscape around Yarnell is a jumble of weather-worn granite boulders, giving the town a unique look; in recent years it's become a favored getaway for Phoenix types. Several crafts and antiques shops here are worth a stop. However, the town’s main claim to fame is the Shrine of St. Joseph of the Mountains (tel. 928/778-5229), a beautiful path set on the side of the mountain with carved stone sculptures marking the Stations of the Cross. Watch for the sign to the shrine off Ariz. 89 on the north end of town.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.