Saturday, February 10, 2018

King Valley to Castle Dome, Part 1

Warm breezes blew overnight, so we woke to a warm campsite. I took off on my morning walk early to beat the heat. After my walk, we got ready for our planned outing. Barb put together a lunch and drinks while I aired up the jeep tires to highway pressure. The plan was to head 40 miles south on 95 to Stone Cabin and then east across the King Valley.

This is our first drive on this road and we found it one of the prettiest in the area. So nice, that we took too many photos and I will split this in 2 parts. This entry, part 1, will cover the drive up King Valley Road and then McPherson Pass over to the Castle Dome Mine Museum. The entry tomorrow, part 2, will cover the mine museum. The turn off 95 at Stone Cabin.

Once off highway 95, we stop to air down the tires and then head east on the King Valley Road. This road climbs over a low saddle between the Kofa Mountain Range on the north and the Castle Dome Mountains to the south.

Many folks like to camp along the King Valley Road, which is limited to a 14 day stay. There are some nice campsites here.

We cross the KOFA Wildlife Refuge boundary, and continue east looking for the McPherson Pass road.

We turned south on the McPherson Pass road, which starts out as Rd #60. This road is rather primitive, compared to the King Valley Road. It is an easy drive for a high clearance SUV, not recommended for cars or minivans.

The McPherson pass road heads south on the east side of the Castle Dome Mountains and crosses over to the west side at the summit of the pass. The views of the rugged mountains here are spectacular.

We stopped for a break and I took a few shots of the jeep in this awesome scenery.

In the distance to the east are the Tank Mountains.

The road crosses quite a number of washes as we drive south. These wash crossings are where high clearance is recommended.

As we climb up the north side of McPherson Pass, the mountain tops loom high above the road.

Nearing the top of McPherson Pass, the road gets quite a bit rockier. It's not a difficult drive, but I did have the jeep in low range a few times.

As we descend the south side of McPherson Pass, we pass through some grand valleys in the Castle Dome range.

Views along the trail up here look characteristic of the Sonoran Desert. Saguaros, Palo Verde trees, Ocotillo, and Teddy Bear Cholla.

Here is a mountain with a predominance of red rock.

This side of the Castle Dome mountains are very rugged.

Barb took a selfie as she took a photo of the Castle Dome Plain.

I will wrap up part 1 of this entry with a photo of Castle Dome Mountain in the distance.

Tomorrow, I will post a photo story of our visit to the Castle Dome Mine Museum.

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