Norton Road

Quartzsite, Arizona (Yuma County)

Last Updated: 01/27/2020
4 / 5 ( 2 reviews )
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Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 29.77 miles
Highest Elevation: 1599 feet
Duration: About 3 hours
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Quartzsite
Nearest Town w/ Services: Quartzsite
Official Road Name: YE089, YE006, YE008, YE043
Management Agency: Bureau of Land Management
District: Yuma Field Office


Highlight: Norton Road
We had long discussed finding a passage that skirted the northeastern corner of the Yuma Proving Grounds. Crossing the Proving Grounds was a no go for obvious reasons -- no trespassing signs, unexploded ordinance, live weapons firing and possible death to name just a few. This trail is called Norton Road because it begins on Norton Road. But Norton eventually goes directly into the Proving Grounds and in effect ends at the associated no trespassing sign. So we turn east onto a remnant of the old Red Raven Road and follow it until cornering south on BLM road YE08 and then veering southeast on BLM YE043 at the eastern end of the Tank Mountains. Confusing isn't it? Not really. Just follow the track, check off the waypoints, and enjoy the adventure! Simply getting to the trailhead on the Hovatter Road is a scenic adventure. Norton Road drops out of the ruggedly beautiful Little Horn Mountains onto the broad Palomas Plain, a wide flat valley of stately saguaro, firestick ocotillo, and the omnipresent creosote bushes. The plain is cut by washes large and small, all thickly lined with palo verde, mesquite, other thorny shrubs all eager to add more pinstriping on your rig. To the south, hills comprised entirely of jet black basalt boulders rise ominously from the otherwise level Palomas Plain. Our trail ends by intersecting with the Palomas Harquahala Road, another great trail running through the Palomas Plain up to the Eagletail Wilderness and beyond. Now there is a proven route around the Proving Grounds. All that is left is for you to go explore it. Enjoy.


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1. Trailhead (0 mi)
Turn right off Hovatter Road onto Norton Road.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Quartzsite, Arizona

Proceed east on Interstate 10 for 34 miles to Exit 53. At Exit 53 go south across a canal and turn right to the Hovatter Road trailhead. Follow Hovatter Road 21.7 miles to the trailhead on the left.



Trail Reviews (2)

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Writer Information

Wade May

Hi! I'm Wade. After 43 years as a pilot, split evenly between flying fighters for the Air Force and Boeing 737s for the airlines, my feet are firmly planted on the ground. Seems I spent a lot of my flying time looking out the cockpit window thinking, "Yep, I could drive that trail." My trips range from a few days to a month. Most are solo in my silver 4Runner named Bullit. We range over all the southwest exploring remote places and trying to get as much dirt under the wheels as possible. Occasionally I get in some hiking, backpacking, and bushcraft as well. My most ambitious Overlanding plans include a trip to Tuktoyaktuk and Dead Horse when travel restrictions permit. Sharing my experiences as a member of the Trails Offroad crew, instructing at Overland Expo, and hosting the Gaia GPS Offroad podcast are true pleasures. Hope to see you on the trail soon.
For individual use only, not to be shared.