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Peeples Valley is an unincorporated town that has its roots in mining and ranching. Today Peeples’s population is 1,315, which is a combined total with the town of Yarnell. The town sits at an elevation of 4,780 feet. The climate is mild all year round with a winter low temperature of 23 degrees and summer high temperature of 89 degrees. It is the place to visit when searching for real peace and quiet, in an attractive rural setting with cool fresh air. It is said that Peeples Valley is “Where the Desert Breeze meets the Mountain Air.”
There is one nearby attraction that is an amazing sight. The Shrine of Saint Joseph of the Mountains is located in the Weaver Mountains, about a half-mile west of Yarnell. This hillside shrine has a chapel, the Way of the Cross, replicas of the Garden of Gethsemane and the Last Supper. Felix Lucero sculpted all of the work out of reinforced concrete. The Catholic Action League of Arizona commissioned Lucero. The life-sized pieces are set among a tree-shaded area amidst the boulders. Visitors can take a trail through the statues or mediate in the beautiful park like setting.
An outdoor attraction that will make your eyes dance is the scenic overlook near town. You will find the lookout point just west of Yarnell, before you begin your descent into the Valley. Highway 89 drops 2,500 feet down the side of Table Top Mountain. This steep drop occurs in only four miles. The lookout point provides a panoramic view of the desert regions below. It is a view that you won’t soon forget.
In 1863, the expedition of A.H. Peeples organized. They entered Arizona from California by way of Yuma. Here they found Pauline Weaver awaiting them in response to Peeple’s request for him to join them. Weaver was a rugged frontiersman, who led the party up the Colorado River to La Paz.
Next, they headed across the Plomosa Range to Cullen Valley. Near the mountains they found antelope. After killing five, Peeples named the stream Antelope Creek and the mountain by its bank Antelope Peak. Soon, they discovered another stream where they panned for gold. They named this stream, Weaver Creek in honor of their guide.
The following day, a group of men headed off in search of their horses. The horses had strayed during the night. That evening upon their return, they showed Peeples the gold nuggets that they had discovered on top of a nearby mountain.
The next morning, the party headed up to the mountaintop. There they could see innumerable nuggets of gold in a sloping basin. It is said that Peeples picked up seven thousand dollars worth of gold before breakfast. After a month’s time, it is believed that the amount of gold removed was estimated to be at a quarter of a million dollars. The mountain was named Rich Hill.
Abraham Peeples stayed in the area and developed a ranch. His ranch bore his name and soon so did the town. Peeples later sold his ranch and moved to Wickenburg.
Today, Peeples Valley remains a cattle ranching area. The Hays Cattle Company runs its cattle just outside of town and is noted as being one of Arizona’s most historic ranches. The ranch’s brand the Bar-Muleshoe-Bar dates back to 1876. The Hays Cattle Company has owned the ranch since 1912 and is operated by John Hays. While taking the highway through town, you will spot the cattle and horses roaming the land.