“This ride meanders through scenic high mountain forest and is not for the faint of heart.”
— John Myers
Weather conditions are most comfortable in the spring and fall. Morning use during the summer can be pleasant as well.
This 29-mile ride meanders through scenic high mountain forest and Mohave Desert vegetation. Located in the higher elevations is a forest of Ponderosa Pine, Gambel Oak, and New Mexico locust. The lower elevations consist of Sonoran Scrub Oak, Manzanita, Desert Ceanothus, Silktassel and scattered Pinyon Pine.
Traveling along Moss Wash underneath the tall pines and within a riparian area of Arizona black walnut and species of willows. The trail passes by several historic mining areas, including Gold King Mansion.
This ride is a mixture of both maintained and unmaintained dirt roads and some very challenging OHV trails. There is tons of climbing and you are rewarded with awesome mountain views.
Need to Know
The abandoned mines of this area are dangerous. For safety purposes, stay away from mine shafts and adits. There is no drinking water available.There can be snow and ice in the cold months at higher elevation, even when it is warm down below. Moss Wash can also have areas of snow and ice due to the wash being shaded by the steep canyon walls.
Most locals park at Hualapai Mountain Resort so they can get a bite to eat when they are done. Wild Cow Campground is also an option if you have a 4x4, which knocks off 1,600 feet of climbing and 7 miles.
You'll head south on Flagmine Road, Route 7101, and you'll warm up the legs and lungs with the first climb out of the gate. This dirt road climb averages about a 9% grade and starts in a beautiful mountain community frequented by elk and deer in the early morning and late evening. After this climb, you have a nice, fast downhill followed by another climb and then some big fast sweeping s-turns. At the three-mile mark, you'll stay right and continue on Route 7101. At around the four-mile mark, you'll begin to climb for two miles until you reach 7,007 feet elevation which is marked by a big 40+ foot ponderosa pine ahead on your left. This is a good place to take a breather and snap some pics as there is an overlook with an awesome view of Moss Wash below.
For the next three miles, speeds can reach 30+ mph as you head downhill on twisting and winding doubletrack. Watch out after you cross the cattle guard, as there is a tight right hand turn ahead that can catch you by surprise if your speed is not in check. There could be severe consequences to your left. There are plenty of rocks to launch on the way, if you choose!
At the nine-mile mark, you'll need to look for route marker 7200 on your left. This is a very sketchy, flowing two mile OHV trail that will need your undivided attention. As you reach the bottom, the trail turns right and you continue on straight and enter Upper Moss Wash Trail Route 7200
. The trail turns left and you are now in Moss Wash OHV Trail Route 7200
Head down the sandy wash for a few miles with a little climbing and then there is a steep rocky downhill. At the bottom, make a tight left and continue on Moss Wash OHV Trail Route 7200
. It is up and down for the next four miles. There are areas that could have running water after a rain.
At about the 14-mile mark, make a left hand turn and there is a very tricky section with large rocks and drops that all but the most skilled riders will want to walk. Now you turn the corner and there is highlight of the ride, the Gold King Mansion. This is also the half way point of the ride. This is a good place to take a rest and fuel up for the long grind ahead.
From the mansion, you'll have an easy climb followed by one of the funniest sections of the ride. It is a very fast, flowy section that is filled with whoops and banked turns. It is easy to get caught up in the fun so take it easy the first time through as it is easy to carry too much speed and wind up in trouble. Continue on Moss Wash OHV Trail Route 7200
until you reach a dirt road. This unmarked road is Blake Ranch Road and is the lowest elevation on the ride at 4,460 feet.
You'll continue for four miles, up and down but a gradual climb, take it easy because the REAL climbing is about to begin. You can see your big climb if you look at your 9 o'clock and up the mountain.
At the 20-mile mark, there is a sign off to the right marking Antelope Wash OHV Trail 7192
. You can only turn left and head up. The first mile is between a 10-12% grade. After an s-turn it reduces to about a 4% grade as it winds up the mountain. This 4.3 mile, 1,276 foot-climb tops out at a cattle guard. This is a nice place to snap some pics, catch your breath and enjoy the views.
Now, there is a short downhill and an uphill that leads you to a four-way intersection. You'll make a right and start climbing. You'll gain about 500 feet in elevation in one mile where you'll be back on Flagmine Road. This is the same doubletrack you came in on. You'll continue to climb some big switchbacks until about the 26-mile mark. A big pinyon pine on the left will let you know you reached the crest of the hill. Now, climbing is finished and you'll welcome a nice two-mile descent through the mountain community back to the parking lot.
History & Background
Gold King Mansion is an historic, two-story concrete building built in the late 1920’s by the Gold King Corporation, which used the ornate structure to entertain wealthy investors and to house the mine foreman. The nearby Gold King Mine produced gold, silver, copper, and lead, but production never reached the level investors had hoped for. The stock market crash in October 1929 brought an end to the mine and to the mansion.