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Bradshaw Mountains

Known in Yavapai as Wikanyacha "rough, black range of rocks", and to European explorers as the Silver Mountain Range, the Bradshaw Mountains are a mountain range in the Sonoran Desert of central Arizona, later named for brothers Isaac and William Bradshaw.

The first known settlements in the Bradshaws were a group of Yavapai Indians, called the Kwevkapaya who built forts and mined copper from around AD 1100 to 1600. Apaches occupied the area around 1800 as a means of keeping White settlers out.  But by 1863, a party led by William Bradshaw was in the area, followed by the Walker party. In 1864, a group of five white settlers was attacked by Apaches at what is now called Battle Flat.  One of the settlers went for help, but upon his return found the Apaches had left.

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The Walker party found gold, and within a few years, the Bradshaws were filling up with settlers mining for gold, silver, and copper. In the early part of the 20th century, most of the towns that had sprung up were little more than ghost towns.

Located approximately 5 miles south of Prescott, Arizona, between the Agua Fria River on the east, and the Hassayampa River on the west, the range is 40 miles long, and almost 25 miles wide.


  • Mount Union, named during the Civil War, is the highest, at 7,979 feet.
  • Mount Davis – second highest at 7,897 feet, named for Jefferson Davis.
  • Spruce Mountain – 7,696 feet, misnamed for Douglas firs mistaken for Spruces.
  • Mount Tritle – 7,793 feet, named for Frederick Augustus Tritle Governor of Arizona Territory (1882–1885).
  • Towers Mountain – 7,628 feet
  • Maverick Mountain – 7,443 feet
  • Mount Wasson

The Bradshaw Mountains consist primarily of precambrian granite, gneiss and schist.

The biotic community of the Bradshaws ranges from interior chaparral and montane conifer forest, to plains and desert grassland, and Sonoran desert scrub.  Many species of trees are found in the Bradshaws, including Piρon, Alligator Juniper, Ponderosa pine, Blue Spruce, Quaking Aspen, White fir, and Douglas fir.  As well, much wildlife is present, including javelinas, Mule deer, wild turkey and Short-horned Lizards.

Several creeks have been dammed to form reservoirs, including Lynx Lake, Goldwater Lake, Lake Marapai, Hassayampa Lake, Horsethief Lake, and Cedar Tank.

Human use
Gold was first discovered in the Bradshaws in the 1863, over $2,000,000 worth being taken from just the Crowned King Mine.  Copper and silver were also mined in the early part of the 20th century.

Ghost towns and other settlements
There are over 40 ghost towns in the Bradshaw Mountains, including Crown King, Bumble Bee, Goodwin, Bradshaw City, Alexandra and Cleator.

Protected areas
Much of the Bradshaw Mountains are on Prescott National Forest land.  Other parks include Horsethief Basin Recreational Area, Lynx Lake Recreational Area, and the Castle Creek Wilderness.

Bradshaw Mountain Railroad
The railroad was incorporated on February 6, 1901.  It commenced grading from the Prescott & Eastern connection at Mayer on September 10, 1901.  The Bradshaw Mountain Railroad was built to serve the mines of the southern Bradshaw Mountains.  Unfortunately, these mines were never very productive, and the BMRR was a financial failure. The line from Middleton to Crown King was abandoned in 1926, and both the Crown King and Poland branches were abandoned in 1939.  Much of the road to Crown King uses the old railbed.

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