Sunday, March 2, 2014

Picacho...Once a Bustling Boomtown

Cocopah RV Resort
Yuma, AZ
February 27, 2014

The other day when we took the Indian Pass Road, we ended up in Picacho State Recreation Area. After a little research, I found that Picacho had actually been a booming mining town in the 1890s.

The main dirt road thru Picacho...

About 700 men mined ore and the population reached 2,500. When the river was dammed (1938), Picacho was flooded and destroyed.

Picacho SRA offers three signed trails. Our choice for the day was Stamp Mill. It was described as a two mile round trip hike that crosses the park's volcanic slopes and visits the abandoned Picacho's stamp mill.

We enjoyed vistas of Picacho Peak...

 the Colorado River...
and exploring an old stamp mill.

Jose Mendivil discovered gold in the surrounding mountains here in the early 1860s. He laid out the townsite, sold claims, and homesteaded a section of land along the Colorado River. He even named the streets after his daughters. During its heyday, the town had three stores, schools, saloons, and was served by steamboats that connected mining towns along the river.
Today all that remains is the lower stamp mill constructed in 1877-78 of hand cut native rhyolite stone.


It's so cool discovering these old historic sites. It sure sparks a did these people live?  Did their saloons have swinging doors and bar fights, how did they escape floods from the river, did the schools have books...


Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time...



  1. It is interesting discovering how the folks lived. I'm just thankful I live in this time and not in that time.

  2. I think like you do, Gay, when I visit a once settled area. It is eerie looking around and thinking about all the activities that were going on around you years ago. You can't help but have a head full of questions.

    Sure looked like a beautiful day:)

    1. It was a beautiful day Pam. The weather here in Yuma has been the best ever for a winter stay this year.

      I sure hope to visit some of the old Indian ruins you and John visited last year when we head north.

  3. Looking back in time and finding places that were boomin over a century ago and now deserted, really makes you wonder what actually happened there.

  4. Definitely an intriguing historic place. I don't know what a stamp mill is but I am guessing it has something to do with the mining industry?

    The history of water and the decision to build dams often took its toll on existing communities. I guess the broader good outweighed the smaller impact of flooding towns like this.

    1. Hi Pam... I was curious too and had done alittle research on stamp mills. I didn't include that info and am glad you asked. Its a mill that crushes the material by pounding rather than grinding. Water was an important part of the process thus many stamp mills were found near rivers.

  5. First off, fabulous photography of the desert just about to awaken to spring. The contrast on the mountains, the waters and the foliage is just awesome.
    Now, when I read the title I thought you made it Picacho Peak! The telegraph hill was just a warm up for your next challenge :) another guarantee the views are fantastic.
    I never knew there is even a Picacho Town, thanks for all those wonderful photography.

    1. Thanks MonaLiza...Picacho Peak is on our list to do. But it will have to be another time as we are packing up today and moving on tomorrow. I can't believe our month here is over.

  6. Thanks for the history lesson Gay and the wonderful photography. We lived in the Phoenix area for many years and still can't believe we never hiked Picacho Peak. Since we will head back west later this year, perhaps we can climb it yet.

    1. You are so welcome LuAnn. I have been pleasantly surprised at all the things we have found to do here. Our month has flown by! The views of the Colorado River and the painted desert have been breathtaking!