The Beale Wagon road was surveyed in 1857 by Lt. Edward Beale who was sent by Congress to explore Northern Arizona and find an overland route to California. Among the expedition were 20 camels as part of an experiment to see if camels could handle the American desert. A good route was found which was developed in 1858 and 1859.
The forest service and local historians have located and marked about 75% of the original wagon road.
We set off on a lovely sunny morning and took CR 74, a nice paved road that turned into a good dirt road with campsites all along the road. About 7 miles along we took a right along FR 141 before heading north on FR 730.
FR 730 was another good gravel/red dirt road, although there were a couple of teeth rattling sections, with yet more campsites along the way. Most were group camps, but there were a few RV’s on their own. Not sure I’d like to camp just the two of us in the forest, it would creep me out at night, I'd half expect Yogi and Boo Boo to come knocking on the door!
There were some fabulous views and some lovely prairies full of wildflowers, the further we got along the road the more water there was on the sides of the road.
Further along we turned onto FR115, which was a much narrower red dirt road but we didn’t follow it for long before taking a left onto FR2030. FR 2030 was an even narrower road that dead ended in a parking circle by the Laws Spring and Beale Wagon Road Trailhead.
Donning our boots we followed the short trail through the rocks down to the spring. The perennial spring is a beautiful spot and was full of water.
As we walked back past the spring and through the rocks, we found the pictographs, there were quite a few and once we’d seen one we found more.
As for the camels, Lt Beale loved them and the cowboys absolutely hated them, at the end of the expedition they were turned loose and the last one was sighted in 1934.
It never did rain.
Have fun, we are!