One reason I write books is my love for sharing special places. In Kingman the list of those type of places is a lengthy one. One of these are the stunning landscapes at White Cliffs Historic Wagon Trail Site less than one mile from the historic district, a half mile from the golf course, and two hundred years removed from the modern era.
After two days of near gale force winds we awoke this morning to a picture perfect fall morning with temperatures hovering at about forty degrees, a radical departure from the hundred degree days of a week ago! The skies were the sharpest, crispest blue and it was a true test of will power to go to the office rather that the back country.Monday is technically my day off but as we have a new trainee I have to open the office and stay close as well as remain tethered via the cell phone. Still, I was able to open the office, take care of errands, and pick up my dearest friend for a hike into the Cerbat Mountains all before eleven o’clock.
We had just arrived at one or favorite places in the hills above Beale Springs when an issue at the office required my assistance. Needless to say I was not a happy camper, you might even say I was disgruntled, frustrated, and … Well, you get the idea.
As is often the case simply taking a deep breath and resolving the problem works better than anger and a fit. I do forget that on occasion but as a result of the delay and other pending tasks my allotted time for enjoying a stroll among the solitude of the desert with my dearest friend was now halved. So, my dear wife suggested White Cliffs, less than a half mile from our home.The center piece of this wilderness surround by the trappings of the modern urban landscape is a section of road where countless wagons hauling ore from the mines at Stockton Hill to the rail head in Kingman wore deep grooves in the tufa stone below towering bluffs and mesas.
In the 1960s the Job Corps transformed this area into a delightful city park with picnic area, hiking trail to an observation point near the summit of the bluff above, and drinking fountains. Vandalism thwarted all efforts to preserve this park as a Kingman jewel and as a result little remains today with the exception of the timeless scenery, the observation point, a few miles of roads that twists throughout the canyons, and the old wagon road.
Its proximity to our home as well as the illusion of desert solitude created by this wilderness island make it one of our favorite places for a de-stressing walk when time is short. This is just another reason Kingman is such a unique and wonderful place.
With a vehicle such as our Jeep most of the canyons are accessible but that defeats the whole idea. So, the next time you motor west, or east, on iconic Route 66 and need to stretch the legs may I suggest the delightful “wilderness” at White Cliffs?
From Locomotive park, and the Power House visitor center, continue west on Route 66 about one block. At the junction, with the murals of the Mohave Museum of History and Arts facing you, a left turn places you on Route 66. Instead turn right following the edge of the park.
At the stop light continue straight, north, on Grandview Avenue. At Lead Street, about five blocks past the high school, turn right.
At roads end turn left on White Cliffs Road. The parking lot is on the right about two hundred years after the pavement ends at a graded gravel road.
Lock your vehicle, be sure valuables are out of sight in the truck, and walk across the bridge. The wagon road is about two hundred yards up the main trail. This road continues and ties in with a series of twisted trails and roads through the canyons.