Monolith Garden Trail At Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area ~ Arizona

Monolith Garden Trail At Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area ~ Arizona

U.S. Highway 93 runs from the Great Basin Desert through Las Vegas, before the road turns east toward Arizona.  After passing by the Hoover Dam on the border, Highway 93 goes through about 100 miles of wide open spaces in the desert to Kingman and this road continues south to Phoenix. As can be imagined, there is quite a bit of long distance commuter traffic between Las Vegas and Phoenix, so the pace on this old highway can be hectic. Fortunately there is a peaceful place to take a break from the road before getting to Kingman. Better still, this little spot on the map is not just another weird desert tourist trap! The Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area offers majestic views and fun things to do, yet most commuters on Highway 93 do not even realize it is there, because they are in too much of a hurry!

When traveling on Highway 93 from the west, Kingman literally is the gateway to all scenic destinations in Arizona.  Kingman is also the heart and soul of Historic Route 66. From Kingman a tourist can go to Hualapai Grand Canyon West, Grand Canyon South Rim, Oatman Ghost Town, Laughlin or Lake Havasu City on the Colorado River. A tourist head toward destinations in the Sonoran Desert or Phoenix from Kingman too. Of course, touring historic Route 66 is an option and this is what Kingman is famous for. With so many major tourism destinations to choose from when in Kingman, the Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area kind of gets lost in the shuffle, which means that this destination is rarely crowded. This is like music to the ears of those who seek a convenient place to getaway from it all!  

When traveling long stretches of road, like from Las Vegas to Phoenix, taking a break to stretch the legs is the best way to reinvigorate the body and refresh the mind.  Since the Monolith Garden Trail of the Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area is located only a couple miles west of Kingman, this quiet little spot is perfect for taking a break from the road. Stretching the legs on a short hiking trail does have a way of giving a long distance driver a second wind.

The Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area offers several short hiking trails through the scenic Mojave Desert landscape.  The facilities and trails are managed by the BLM in conjunction with Kingman tourism, so they are well maintained.  BLM recreation areas are usually not highly publicized, so there is no such thing as dealing with an endless sea of tourists like what can be found at a National Park.  Road related stress relief is easy to find at the lesser known BLM destinations, because there is much more elbow room.

The Monolith Gardens Trail is the easiest trail to find at the Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area, because the access is located on Highway 93.  Just a few small signs mark the entrance and it is easy to miss this destination while driving downhill on this section of the highway, so be sure to keep the eyes peeled.  There is ample room here for RV camper or trailer parking. Even horse trailers can unload with ease in this area, because the the Monolith Garden Trail area is horseback rider friendly. Riding the Cerbat Foothills Trails on horseback is what many folks do and there are even trails that go into downtown Kingman, so you can roll into the Route 66 scene with some old wild west style! 

Those that take the time to get off the highway to stop and look around will be rewarded for their venture, because this is such a picturesque place. The name of the trail refers to the eroded rock outcrops that look like they are built with massive stone blocks that resemble ancient monolith building material. The Monolith Garden Trail is a 7 mile loop, but most people just hike to a few points of interest along the way instead of doing the entire loop.  When the weather is cool, hiking the full 7 miles is easy to accomplish, but when the extreme heat of summer rolls around, it is best to shorten the hiking distance or just take in the scenic views. 

There are also many little sidetrack trails and shortcuts for those who only want to take a short walk and get some fresh air after driving across the desert expanse.  For those who really like to get some exercise, one of the marked hiking trails ends in the Historic Route 66 district in Kingman, so grabbing a taxi back to the Monolith Garden Trail parking lot after partying on old Route 66 is an option. 

The perception of size and distance can be deceiving in the Mojave Desert.  Mountains look like they are within reach and the gigantic rock outcrops appear to be much smaller than they really are.  After walking a short distance on the Monolith Garden Trail, the monolithic rock formations tower overhead.  It is then that the real scale of things starts to set in and the monolith blocks take on an ominous look. 

The Monolith Garden Trail area is definitely worth taking the time to see and this place is very photogenic!  This is a great place to take a break while driving the long distances in this vast desert expanse.  Hiking the Monolith Gardens Trail is also a good way to work up an appetite for some old fashioned classic American Route 66 food in Kingman too!      


Author: wildwestdestinations

I worked as a chef in remote resorts and National Parks, which provided the time to explore western travel destinations. I have a BA Degree in Culinary Management with high honors and currently I am working on a Masters Degree in Adult Education. My food and travel blog writing began as a means to generate income during college and now photo journalism has become my lifestyle.

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