Beyond The Pavement-Wickenberg Massacre Site
On the morning of November 5th, 1871 a stagecoach belonging to the Arizona Stage Lines was ambushed by 15 presumably Yavapai Indians from the nearby reservation, killing all 8 on the stage. While there is a Historical Marker not all that far away on US 60 on the western fringe of the City of Wickenberg, Arizona, one doesn’t get the real feel for the scene until you stand and see where it actually happened.
The terrain, vegetation and the time of day all help one clearly imagine the horror of the event. It was a very brutal attack as explained by the information markers at the actual site and as described HERE. The terrain in the northern fringes of the Sonoran Desert isn’t the most hospitable and traveling across this landscape had (and still has) its risks both natural and man made. This moment in history is but another almost lost and forgotten because access to it isn’t along an improved roadway.
What to expect getting there.
The site is approximately 2.3 miles as the Raven (this is Arizona, Crows aren’t common) flies north from US 60 with the trail distance (yellow line) being approximately 3.2 miles from highway to the site.
Getting to the site from US 60 requires a high clearance vehicle as the trail is made up of gravel, rocks with spots of sand especially in the washes (stream beds where water flows during the rainy season).
A four wheel drive or AWD is recommended! The “road” to the site is essentially a loop, although most public information takes you in from the west end. That is the (red) section of the loop. This is pretty good unimproved road/trail, but that section has a stretch that is soft silt which one can easily get stuck in if not in the proper vehicle or properly equipped one.
The (yellow) stretch is mostly gravel with some sandy wash crossings a couple of moderately steep inclines with loose rock. Both sections have vegetation close to the road/trail that can cause scratches. The short jaunt from the road/trail requires navigating a short distance along a wash, with a right turn up onto the location of the massacre site itself.
This is but one such historic site located in Arizona. Each one is unique and if you’re a history buff, its worth a visit to see firsthand.
Ride along as we take the trail from the highway to the site itself. For a Christmas Day it was gloomy weatherwise but a perfect day for a ride though.