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Wild Western History in the Bradshaws

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Hohokam Indian Ruin, south side of Bradshaws







Old West Law and Justice



Mines, Stay Out!


Spruce Mountain


Willow Lake Sunset


Hassayampa Hole



Interesting Geology




Old Gillette Stage Stop, south side of Bradshaws




Many species of humming birds inhabit the Bradshaws


Old train tunnel near ghost town of Poland

Hells Canyon Wilderness, Hells Creek, Southern Bradshaws

Pottery Shards, Southern Bradshaws


Custom Tours

Frequently Asked Questions
on the Bradshaws


The Bradshaw Mountains were named after brothers Isaac and William Bradshaw after their deaths.

 American Indian History

The first known settlements in the Bradshaws were the Hohokam people.

They built settlements near rivers, springs, and hilltop forts. It’s thought because of a prolonged warming period on the earth they abandoned their Bradshaw settlements and left around 1100 AD.

Wildflower Bread Company
of Prescott Advertisement


Today, the Hohokam is thought to be the Pima Indian tribe. They left many signs of their culture behind that can still be seen today. Sometime during the 1500’s fierce Apache Indians are thought to have migrated from Canada south into the West. They were already well established in the Bradshaws when  Europeans attempted to explore. In the 1860s, the Yavapai’s population was over 2,000 people.  A long ten year war began between the Yavapai Apache and the US government, many bloody battles were fought in and around the Bradshaws. They surrendered in 1873. By the end of the war, the Yavapai Apache tribe numbered around 500. 

Today there is a reservation near Prescott and Camp Verde where the Yavapai Apache tribe resides.

The Yavapai Apache Indians named the Bradshaw mountains, Wikanyacha, for its rugged black range of rocks. AZ’s Yavapai County is named after this tribe. 

Anglo History 

Because fierce Indians lived in this mountain range Mexicans and Americans stayed clear of these dangerous mountains even though they were rumored to be filled with gold. . 

William and Isaac Bradshaw, both engineers, migrated to Arizona from California.

In 1863, William was the first to lead a group of men into the Bradshaws in search of silver and gold. They traveled as a group for protection up Black Canyon Creek (Poland Creek) above Black Canyon City. They did find the fabled gold and left unseen by Indians.

William, a heavy drinker, became sick and committed suicide after his return. He is buried in an unmarked grave near La Paz, AZ.

His brother, Isaac, ventured into the Bradshaws at age 66 in search of the gold locations his brother told him about. He and his party also found gold and silver. He died and is buried in a remote area of the mountains near Bradshaw Springs. 

In 1864, the Walker Party entered the Bradshaws and followed Lynx Creek deeper into the higher elevations near current Lynx Lake. Gold and silver was found. 

News of these two parties gold finds spread and a gold rush began in the Bradshaws. It was dangerous travel as the Indians defended their homeland attacking often. Yavapai Apache leaders like Big Rump, Quails TopKnot, Grean Leaf and others, earned fierce reputations. In return Indian fighters like William Fourr, King Woosley and Joe Dye were known for their successful civilian Indian campaigns during the Civil War, when US troops were scarce. 

After the long Bradshaw Indian war ended in 1873, white men flooded into the Bradshaws and towns sprung up. Mining for gold and silver was the activity that supported them. Smelters were built to melt gold and silver, stage coach lines were established to move people, plenty of saloons were constructed in towns and, of course, jails to house bad men. Gunfighters like Jeff Standifer, Charles Beach and others gained bloody questionable reputations. Lawmen such as Buckey O Neill, James Dodson and many more earned reputations by capturing bad men and keeping the peace.

During the early years, woman were scarce in the Bradshaws. But several brave woman made this mountain range a more civilized place. One of the first (during the 1860's) was Mary Ramos, living on the south west side of the range, on the banks of Humbug Creek. Others like Sarah Mayer, at Mayer Station and of course, during the early 1900's, Sharlott Hall.

Cattlemen began ranching the area to provide food. The old west culture of cowboys, miners, gamblers, gunfighters, lawmen and robbers began in the Bradshaws. 

Ghost towns and mining camps

There are over 40 ghost towns and mining camps in the Bradshaw Mountains. Visit our ghost town page to learn more. 


  • Mount Union… highest peak, 7,979 feet.

  • Mount Davis… second highest, 7,897 feet.

  • Mount Tritle… third, 7,793 feet.

  • Spruce Mountain…fourth, 7,696 feet, provides spectacular views north, east and west.

  • Towers Mountain… fifth, 7,628 feet, provides spectacular views south.

  • Maverick Mountain… sixth, 7,443 feet. 


Elevations in the Bradshaws range from 1400' to 8,000'. With the differences in elevations, rainfalls vary greatly. Summer monsoons and winter snows produce the much needed moisture. Flooding occurs, so be careful.

Lower elevations include the Sonoran desert. Saguaro and other cacti inhabit the lower levels. As one climbs to the higher elevations within the Bradshaws the following habitats occur: 

  • Upper Sonoran Desert 

  • Grass lands

  • Interior Chaparral (much of the Bradshaws is covered by this plant community)

  • Pinion Juniper

  • Ponderosa Pine

  • Mixed Conifer Forest

When a wet winter occurs, Spring wildflowers can be prolific in many areas. 

Bradshaw Mountain Average Precipitation 

  • Jan…….1.74”

  • Feb……1.86”

  • March…1.74”

  • April…..0.95”

  • May……0.48”

  • June……0.40”

  • July……2.90”

  • Aug……3.27”

  • Sept..…1.71”

  • Oct……1.11”

  • Nov……1.26”

  • Dec……1.63”

Average Annual Total Rainfall

  •  19.04” 


  • The geology of the Bradshaw Range includes Precambrian schist, granite and other intrusive rocks. These older rocks are part of the main North American crystal plate, and have been brought to the surface by geologic uplift. While there are some younger tertiary volcanic rocks, such as basalt, which cover the hills and mountains. Older Precambrian rocks are underneath. 

  • Gold is widespread at many locations within the Bradshaws. Many smaller tributary and ravines have been panned for their placer gold.

  • Yavapai Precambrian schist outcrops are good places to look for gold down stream. 

  • Some of the first discoveries of gold in the Bradshaws was made in Poland and Lynx Creeks in 1863 by the William Bradshaw and the Joe Walker parties. Lynx Creek was very rich in certain areas.  Successful prospectors recovered more than an ounce per day 

Today’s Gold

  • The gold districts within the Bradshaw range are among the most productive placers in the state. Gold districts in this area include Lynx Creek, Big Bug Creek, upper Hassayampa River, Groom Creek, Black Canyon and others. 

Wilderness areas

There are several nearby wilderness areas. Visit our wilderness page to learn more. 

  • Castle Creek

  • Granite Basin

  • Hassayampa

  • Hells Canyon 


  • Because of the differing habitats, the Bradshaws has a very abundant, unique and diverse population of wildlife. Visit our Wildlife Page to view a list. 

Click to enlarge

Common Access Points into the Bradshaws

  • Several of these locations require high clearance 4x4 vehicles. 

South Side

  • Lake Pleasant Road, Castle Hot Springs & Cow Creek Roads 

East Side

  • I 17, Table Mesa Road

  • I 17, Black Canyon City, Old Black Canyon Stage Road 

  • I 17, Bumble Bee/Crown King Road

  • I 17, Bloody Basin Road

  • Hwy 69, Spring Valley, Antelope Creek Road 

  • Hwy 69, Mayer, FS 67 Pine Flat Road

  • Hwy 69, Poland Junction, FS 261

  • Hwy 69, Humboldt, Iron King Mine Road 

North Side

  • Walker Road, Lynx Lake Road, FS 197

  • Senator Highway, FS 52 road

  • Ponderosa Park, FS 66 Road

  • Wilhoit, FS 72 Road 

West Side

  • Kirkland Junction, Wagoner Road

  • Congress, Stanton Road

  • Wickenburg, Rincon Road

  • Wickenburg, Constellation Road FS 362

  • Morristown, Castle Hot Springs Road 



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