Between September, 1872 and March, 1873 more than 120 Yavapai were killed in army campaigns. The Yavapai tribes surrendered in April, 1873 and were forced off their ancestral lands during the winter of 1875. 1,426 Indians (a mixture of Tonto Apache, Yavapai and Hualapai, were marched to the San Carlos Reservation, but 105 died along the way. When you visit the Wickenburg Massacre, you might do well to think about the full context of this site — what transpired here, and what followed afterward.
Many local residents of the time believed the attack was carried out by Anglo or Mexicans bandits and not Yavapai Indians. Local descendants of that era grew up with an understanding that the victims were buried where they died and were never transported to Wickenburg. These strongly held beliefs persist to the present time.
If you are interested in the history and legend of Wickenburg, — particularly if you are interested in preservation — then you should visit the massacre site. By any standard of definition it qualifies as a derelict pioneer cemetery. It is not maintained. The only thing that protects it today is its location and obscurity. It is, however, on State Trust Land; which means that the area will eventually be sold to the highest bidder for future development. It is my firm belief that when we become informed citizens, when we know and understand the heritage of our land, we will be motivated to protect and care for it.
The turnoff point is six miles west of the intersection of Vulture Mine Road on US-60. This is west of mile marker 102. The turnoff is not marked and can easily be missed.
Exit from the highway to your right onto a dirt road. It will lead you to a gate with a sign that says you are entering State Trust land. The sign also states that a valid lease or permit is required for entry. This basically means (1) you are grazing cattle on leased land or (2) that you have a valid hunting license or some other type of permit. Use your own judgment about entering this area without a permit.
The distance from US-60 to the massacre site is 6.6 miles along an unimproved dirt road.
The road will take you in a northerly direction before turning east, where it leads to an abandoned ranch and corral. Turn right at the ranch and pass between the fence posts to the left of the water tanks. Continue in a southeasterly direction until you arrive at a large wash. Turn left and follow the wash until you arrive at the massacre site.
High-clearance vehicles are required and 4WD is definitely recommended. There are numerous erosion channels that cross-cut the dirt road between US-60 and the old ranch house. After turning into the wash, you will be in deep sand the remainder of the way.
Finally, stay on the trails — there are no shortcuts. And… pack out your litter.