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Birding the Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area
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Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area
Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area

Overview

There are many riparian corridors in Arizona, and many roadside rest areas, but this is the only roadside rest area in a riparian corridor where I would stop and expect to see Vermilion Flycatchers in the parking lot. The Hassayampa River riparian corridor is a migration route for birds crossing the desert that can be a good place for a quick stop along the highway. Some 230 species of birds have been recorded in the area.

Link to Map.

Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area

Description

Hassayampa is a Native American word that translates to "upside down river." While the Hassayampa runs all year, it runs underground (under the sand, not on top of the sand) in most of the area, including along the roadside rest. Despite the apparently dry wash, there is water to support stands of cottonwood trees and desert willow along the edge of the wash and a fringe of saltbush and other shrubs. The surrounding vegetation is typical Arizona uplands desert with a variety of shrubs, paloverde trees, and saguaro cactus. In addition to the traditional roadside rest area facilities, there are 15 signs explaining various aspects of the Sonoran Desert habitat and wildlife.

Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area

The rest area is fairly small, as rest areas go, and the easiest way to bird the area is by walking the sidewalk along the perimeter. The shrubs and cottonwood trees at the north end of the rest area can be productive. Near the restrooms, there is a path through the shrubs to the sandy wash. This is a good way to get around the fences and into the wooded areas.

Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area The Nature Conservancy operates the Hassayampa River Preserve, a natural area along the Hassayampa River just north of the roadside rest area. The preserve is located on Highway U.S. 60, 3 miles south of Wickenburg (west of the highway near mile marker 114). Watch for the "Hassayampa River Preserve" sign over the driveway. Conservancy members get in free, but others are asked for a $5 donation. During winter, the preserve is closed Monday and Tuesday; and during summer, it is closed Monday to Thursday. When open, the hours of operation are 8-5. For more information, contact: Hassayampa River Preserve; 49614 Highway 60; Wickenburg, Arizona 85390 (928-684-2772). We have been through only once when the Preserve was open, and we spent a fun afternoon wandering the trails to the river.
Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area

Location

The Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area is located on the west side of Highway U.S. 60, about 5 miles south of Wickenburg, Arizona (GPS Coordinates; 33.9094N, 112.6758W; 1,925 ft). Watch for standard highway signs for the rest area.

Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area

Hours

The rest area is always open.

Fees

None.

Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area

Specialties

Vermilion Flycatchers, Cactus Wrens, and neotropical migrants. Red-shouldered hawks nest in the Nature Conservancy area, the only known nesting site in Arizona.

Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area
Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area
Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area hassayampa roadside rest area

Recent Visit: 2012 2:00 PM - 2:20 PM. 11 species Gray Hawk 1, Mourning Dove 3, Gila Woodpecker 1, Black Phoebe 2, Vermilion Flycatcher 7, Verdin 1, Curve-billed Thrasher 1, Lucy's Warbler 1, Summer Tanager 3, Northern Cardinal 1, Lesser Goldfinch 2.

Happy birding! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 131010

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