Aquarius Stargazing Ranch
8 units · Motorhomes, Tents640 acres · AZAquarius is a rarity in our busy, modern world--it is a primal experience. So silent you can hear your heartbeat. This remote and peaceful campsite gives you a backcountry wilderness experience you can reach in a regular car. It is popular for stargazing and viewing the Milky Way Galaxy with your bare eyes.
Guests also enjoy the abundant wildlife, birdwatching, hiking and taking drives to a hot springs and swimming holes with waterfalls in the region.
The area is also great for 4x4 exploration in your short wheelbase 4x4 or ATV.
No visible city lights, or signs of civilization. No traffic noise whatsoever. You can see the Milky Way galaxy with your bare eyes here.
We are in the second darkest "Dark Sky" zone in the world, and stars are unforgettable. (The darkest in USA is the Grand Canyon, 200 miles East.)
Winter daytime weather in the 70s, sunny most of the time, 3000-5000 ft elevation and above the heat.
REMOTE FEELING BUT FREEWAY CLOSE
Our base camp site is a long, but scenic drive off of Highway 93, between Las Vegas and Phoenix, (2 1/2 hours either way)
We are about 3 hours from the Grand Canyon and 45 miles from Prescott.
We have a few campsites with fire rings you can safely drive to in a regular 2 wheel drive car, minivan, camper van or smaller (not monstrous)
RV. Pull behind trailers are ok if you have a truck. You can pull through the site.
The rest of the ranch is 4x4, hike in camping only.
Roads beyond the Base Camp and in surrounding wilderness are rugged and a great adventure for those with a Subaru, Jeep or ATV -- miles and miles of dirt roads in this adjacent 27,000 acre wilderness.
BETWEEN PHOENIX AND VEGAS
Aquarius Stargazing Ranch is in the Aquarius Mountains, 3 hours and 200 miles West of the Grand Canyon near the ghost town of Nothing, Arizona.
We are 6 hours from Los Angeles or San Diego.
We are halfway between Phoenix and Las Vegas, (2 1/2 hours between either city).
It is usually 10 - 20 degrees cooler than Wikieup or Phoenix. It rains more up here and there are trees and thick brush. Never snows, sunny year round. Summer brings spectacular Monsoon thunderstorms.
You will notice the landscape starkly changes as you drive from the Highway up into these steep and remote mountains.
The ecosystem is a blend of Saguro Cactus, prickly pear, and cholla cactus, desert sagebrush, Southwestern hardwoods like mesquite and manzanita and deciduous leafy trees like Aspen, Gingko, Cottonwood, and Sycamore. Wildflowers are prolific in Spring and after rains.
Wildlife is abundant including endangered species like Bighorn Sheep, Wild Burro, Wild Horses, Pronghorn Antelope, Bald Eagle, Falcon, Great Horned Owl -- 150 species of birds. Bees, dragonflies and butterflies thrive here as no pesticide or herbicide has ever touched this land.
This is a primal experience. No human habitation.
SWIMMING HOLES NEARBY
Surrounded on all sides by 27,000 acres of the very remote Upper Burro Creek wilderness through which a creek flows uninterrupted for 13 miles, year round, enabling wildlife to flourish and creating amazing swimming holes and waterfalls.
There are also hot springs in this area.
Hiking is easy and gentle on miles of roads and sandy washes, lovely trails made by wild deer, antelope, bighorn sheep, wild burros, and the occasional stray cow.
There is also very challenging and rugged, steep, uphill off trail hiking for the adventurous explorer.
PRISTINE, SACRED LAND
We consider ourselves guardians of this sacred land.
Our intention is to preserve this absolutely pristine, untouched and virtually uninhabited land as a wildlife corridor for future generations, and develop it only according to ecological Permaculture principles.
We also intend to protect the wild horses and wild animals that roam freely here.
As you walk the road that heads into the higher mountain region of the land where volcanic peaks reach above 5,000 feet, you will notice that it is an natural bowl that protects a seasonal stream and canyon.
Native tribes lived here because it was a defensible and safe haven, it is truly a natural fortress of red rock and granite. Before that, dinosaurs roamed this region of Arizona and fossilized remains are evident, as well as petroglyphs.
Nearby Wikieup was once the settlement of the Hualapai Indians, also known as Walapais.
The Native Americans used to cultivate corn and other food crops aided by the rich, river-nourished soil of the valley. They had fierce rivals in the tribe of the Tonto Apaches. Mostly, the two tribes did not seek disputes with each other but all that changed with the coming of the settlers, and later, the Gold Rush and miners.
The settlement of the settlers pushed both tribes farther from their source of livelihood. This resulted in disputes between the white men, the Yavapai Apaches, and the Hualapais.
The natural fortress like formation of the canyon on the ranch was an important refuge because it was easily defensible.
We have found artifacts making it obvious that this was inhabited by aboriginal tribal humans before the Native Americans. Perhaps the land has
not changed significantly since then. Dinosaurs roamed Northern Arizona before that, and this sandy region was once a sea. It does look like an ocean without water.
Explore magical Aquarius and let us know what you discover.
Learn more about this land:
You aren't just here for camping.
You are here for transformation.
"Hipcamp Finalist - Best in Arizona - 2019"
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Guests have described Aquarius Stargazing Ranch as:
"A deeply powerful experience."
"A spiritual experience."
"A life-altering experience."
"Silent, mystical and powerful land."
Silence. Serenity. Dark, starry skies. Log off your devices, get way off the grid, and go deep into a remote wilderness that is easily accessible in your 2WD RV, van or car.
Stargazing and UFO sighting is extraordinary -- in the second darkest sky in the world with no passing traffic or electricity for miles.
Surrender to the silence. So quiet you will hear your heartbeat.
Log off, do a digital detox, leave your electronics behind and tune into a higher frequency.
Clear your head of the clutter of city life, and empty it out here.
Primal -- yet not really that far away from the Interstate 93/11 (35 minutes), Los Angeles (6 1/2 hours), Las Vegas (2 1/2 hours), Metro Phoenix (2 hours), Prescott (1 hour,) the Grand Canyon or Sedona (3 hours.)
Our reviews are mixed because Aquarius Ranch is not for everyone.
If you want electricity, pavement, trash cans, street lights, bug zappers, Netflix, hot showers, dumping stations and a liquor store -- please don't come here, you'll hate it!
If you want to... take a bath alone with your sweetie in a primal geothermal hot spring, swim in a natural spring fed swimming hole, walk barefoot on white sand illuminated by moonlight, follow animal footprints instead of written signs, navigate by stars, hike to a spring or a well for fresh water, watch the flames dance and listen to the Cicadas....if you want a 5 BILLION STAR experience....
Aquarius is for you. Read on.
This is a 2,000 acre, State Park-level beauty, Dark Sky wildlife sanctuary-- uninhabited for over 50 years and never developed. There is nothing here and that's what you came for. (The nearest town is, indeed, Nothing, Arizona.)
The only signs of humans are arrowheads, caves, petroglyphs. The only evidence of the 21st Century are satellites. (Airplanes are rare.)
You will see dinosaur fossils embedded in sandstone. It is literally a Jurassic Park.
The land has a very high frequency as it is covered with pink quartz crystals.
I want to make sure you "get" why you are coming here, and are prepared. Aquarius is a journey -- not a destination.
Yes, it's hard to find and you can't just use your GPS. Sorry.
Put your iPhone away unless you're taking photos or using Satellite to navigate with maps you downloaded in advance.
There are no signs and the only trail markers are rock cairns.
You're going to have to rediscover how to use a map and follow directions. As you hike, you will remember how to observe the stars and the sky and the shadows of sun.
This is part of your DNA, it is part of your soul as a human.
You'll remember Aquarius. Your soul has been here before.
Have you ever seen the Milky Way Galaxy? We are in the Earth's second darkest "dark sky" region. The photo of the sky here was taken by a guest!
You can see the Milky Way here with your naked eyes.
A VIRTUAL GUIDED EXPERIENCE
I am a trained Red Cross Advanced Wilderness First Responder and trained wilderness guide with Outdoors Unlimited, Desert Survivors and Sierra Club. My partner is a badass level 5-11 rock climber and full time Van Lifer.
We are here as your "virtual tour guides" to guide you and give you advice, directions and guidance during your journey. We're in our 60s and we remember life before the GPS, iPhone and Internet. That said, we are old and still managed to climb and walk around here -- so I'm sure you can manage too.
A minivan or car camping with a tent will be fine here, but this is not a State Park, or a "glampground." The Guide we give you when you reserve your space will give you details on how to pack, prepare, survive heat and cold, and directions to hot springs, swimming holes and hikes.
READ THE GUIDE AND ASK QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU DRIVE HERE.
Aquarius is not really that hard to reach, but it's not convenient, either. "The journey is the destination," and the drive is more amazing than the campsite itself.
This is not "glamping" or a developed campground with wifi and services -- it is a destination for those of us who crave the rare and hard to find experience of total silence, serenity, dark sky and potent powerful land.
It's not for tourist who wants electricity, a faucet, hot shower, and a chlorinated pool -- it's for human BEings who want to firelight, starlight, moonlight, drinking from a well or spring, bathing in a hot spring and a natural spring fed swimming hole.
Remember life, not that long ago, when humans could communicate with each other, plants and animals, without words or devices.
Come here for a personal vision quest, a personal transformational journey, for deep inner healing and reflection.
When you remove the stress of traffic noise, light pollution, EMF, devices, the Internet, signs, radio waves, chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and all the interference of the modern world, you will remember, deep in your intercellular DNA -- what it means to be human.
You will discover how many stars, galaxies and solar systems are out there. This alone could move you to tears.
You will discover who you really are. Not alone in the Universe, and much more powerful than you have been told.
THE SOUND OF SILENCE
Have you ever been somewhere so quiet you can hear your heartbeat? It will happen here. This is not just one of the darkest places on Earth, it is one of the most silent. There is no electrical, noise or light interference -- an experience so rare in the modern world.
Silence is unbelievably restorative. Meditation and states of awareness, inspiration, soul purpose and a connection with Source happen spontaneously in this silence.
You are unlikely to see another vehicle once you turn off the main Interstate. Even if we are "busy" (4 or 5 campsites filled, but usually just one) you will find solitude easily if you just wander off a bit up the jeep trail or down one of the ravines.
SELF RELIANT CAMPSITES
These are bare land, flat, drive in campsites and they are accessible with regular 2 wheel drive cars, camper vans or RVs -- or smaller pull behind trailers. These pristine, bare wilderness campsites have large stone fire rings, and there is a shared, community wood pile.
The nearest gas/food is 7 miles away (at 80 mph) plus 14 miles at 20-40 mph. There is a well you can hike to, and there is drinkable water 1 mile down the road.
For a bright full moonlight hike to the hot spring or hiking the creek beds and canyons around the ranch in the cool of the night. You will not need a flashlight--the sand and canyon walls will reflect the moonlight and you can even see your moonshadow. It's fascinating to hike the desert in moonlight and see bats and other night creatures.
Accessible in a regular car
These sites are 15 miles from the main Interstate freeway -- far enough to feel remote and totally silent with no light pollution and no traffic noise whatsoever. This silence is worth the (spectacular) drive into the mountains. Keep in mind it will take about 35 minutes to drive here off the freeway -- the journey is the destination. The drive is spectacular, Instagram worthy through the little traveled Aquarius Mountain range, and you will see wild animals so unaccustomed to human visitors that they stand in the road.
DAY TRIP TO HOT SPRING
There is a secret Hot Spring (no sulfur smell, 100 degrees clear water) and we will give you directions to drive to it in a regular 2WD car and hike in -- 1 mile, flat, easy walk on sand though a beautiful canyon.
NEARBY SWIMMING HOLES
From our Base Camp, you can take day trips by a regular 2WD car to nearby swimming holes.
CAVES, PETROGLYPHS, CLIMBING
If you have a mountain bike, are a hiker, backpacker or have an ATV/4X4, (with short wheelbase and high clearance is best -- though Subaru Outbacks have done fine here) you can explore the surrounding vast and uncharted wilderness on miles of jeep trails.
The surrounding wilderness area has a deep creek that flows year round, waterfalls, deep blue pools and swimming holes. There is much to explore here and very few people visit this area, so it is perfect for social distancing.
HIKE, BIKE OR AWD AND EXPLORE
From here, if you want, you can continue into the ranch on a short wheelbase, high clearance 4x4 vehicle, (Subaru Outbacks have managed it), mountain bike, or a horse. You can hike by foot with day pack or backpack for overnight camping on the three square miles of land of the ranch.
Please book "Isolation Point" if you plan to backpack overnight so we know you are out there.
In the Spring, after rains, you will see fields of red, orange, gold, and purple wildflowers, including sweet scented white flowering agave, yellow flowered prickly pear, orange flowered cholla, red flowering Ocotillo, red Indian Paintbrush, fields of orange poppies, violet datura, and blooming purple sage.
Along the ride you will see blooming Joshua Trees, Barrel Cactus and endangered Saguaro and BLOOMING AGAVE FORESTS. Wow. They smell amazing.
A BASE TO EXPLORE THE AREA
We love using the ranch as a base to explore the Joshua Tree Highway, swimming in the creek, hot springs, Alamo Lake, going to the small towns in this lost and lonely part of America, abandoned mines and ghost towns, and wandering the dirt roads around here.
If you love the desert, like we do, you will find this a uncharted, wild, untouched, authentic and untouristy gem in the Southwest.
BE SELF RELIANT
You must be self sufficient with water, food and a full tank of gas -- this is nothing in Nothing, Arizona. It is a very isolated area, even though it's only 3 miles "as the crow flies" from a busy Interstate and 7.5 miles from gas and food.
It's perfect for vans or small RVs and great for camping with a pop up shade structure or 10 x 10 with bug netting and a good cushy pad.
We reveal the specific maps you need, GPS coordinates, precise directions once you register.
ABOVE THE HEAT, BUT MILD YEAR ROUND
The ranch is up high above the heat at 3,900 - 5000 foot elevation, similar climate to Prescott at the higher parts of the ranch, weather like Wikieup in the lower elevations.
Winter is clear and sunny with averages in 50s-60s daytime and lows of 30s-20s at night.
Daytime is mild and sunny 60-70 in January, but nights can dip down to 20s and if it's windy, it's brisk.
Spring is like a summer, in the 70s and 80s, with cool nights in the 50s.
Summer is blazing in the 100s down at the Highway -- but up here in the Aquarius Mountains, it is usually in the 90s, with nights in the 70s, more like Prescott. We get the most rain in the Summer, not the Winter. (Dramatic monsoon thunderstorms!)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
CAN I BRING A DOG?
Yes, and your pet can go unleashed and run -- but bring tweezers in the event that they step on a burr or cactus thorn. (Best to stay on trail.) Leash your pet at night, or bring her into your vehicle in Winter for her warmth and safety.
DO I NEED SHADE?
We recommend bringing shade for your campsite in Summer. We are "Burning Man" desert camping veterans and used to being self reliant in the heat of the desert sun. Some folks like a sheet, tapestry or tarp fastened to their car, SUV, Van or RV. In Summer, bring a pop up shade structure with bug netting.
CAN I HAVE A CAMPFIRE?
Yes, as long as there are no restrictions.
ARE THERE ANY TREES?
For hanging out during the day, there is a nice cottonwood, aspen and gingko forest a short walk from the Base Camp--it is leafy in Spring/Summer and bare in the Winter/Fall. You can hike around and find shade, as the Primal humans did -- rocks, caves, and mesquite trees.
Because of the silence, distance from major roads, lack of fences and natural "bowl" of mountains surrounding from which to observe the distance, the ranch is a sanctuary for Endangered Species, many found only here. If you sit still and very silent, the animals and birds will appear. They are shy and will not bother or beg from you.
Often they will just stare at you, fascinated but unconcerned, as human visitors are so rare for them.
This is primal desert ecosystem, virtually uninhabited for decades. Wildlife abounds including 100 varieties of birds -- quail, blue jays, hawks, roadrunners, raven, owl, blue jays and wild turkey, even black hawks and bald eagles.
If you are silent, you will see desert cottontails, raccoon, skunks (spotted, striped, and hognose), mule deer, pronghorn antelope, elk, bighorn sheep, wild Mustang horses. You will see wild burros along the roads. (Bring binoculars!)
It is rare to find an ecosystem untouched by pesticide or herbicide in which so many species thrive.
There are lizards, snakes, bees, dragonflies and butterflies. You will hear a symphony of cicadas, crickets and birds.
There are predators here but they don't bother humans. They are wild.
PETROGLYPHS AND CAVES
Discover petroglyphs, prehistoric sites, ancient lava fields, volcanic formations and caves, and feel like you are truly the last human (or the first) alive on Earth.
BIKING, HORSEBACK RIDING, AWD, OHV, QUADS
Fat tire Mountain Biker's paradise with miles of winding dirt jeep roads to explore.
We can help you rent an off road vehicle tour from a local outfitter.
The ghost town of Nothing, to the south has... almost nothing. Signal is another ghost town nearby.
HISTORIC SMALL TOWNS
Wikieup, about 10 miles North, has gas, RV dumping, great classic American road trip food (even great Chicago pizza and steak sandwiches at Dazzo's), homemade pie at Luchia's, and a Trading Post with Native American jewelry and art.
All the food around here is surprisingly good with eclectic decor and fun roadside attractions for the kids, like peacocks!
Wickenburg, 50 miles south, has a great restaurant we love called Cowboy Cookin', and a big grocery store with block ice, water machine outside with filtered water.
Kingman, 60 miles north, is going hipster fast -- this town caters to tourists and truckers with all the services you need, like health food store, camping supplies and laundromat.
Bagdad is the nearest town as the crow flies if you are checking the weather.
Check out the Train Museum, historic downtown, Route 66, funky antique and secondhand clothing stores, flea markets, great tacos, two brew pubs, Black Ridge Brewery for live music. Desert Diamond Distillery for a tour of how Agave cactus is turned into Tequila.
Explore the magic of Aquarius Ranch and let us know what you discover