YAVAPAI COUNTY – Skulls are usually hidden away where they’re hard to find, but the Giant Skull of Date Creek is right out in the open, and it’s been in the exact spot for more than 100 years. The skull is actually a huge boulder painted white with black eyes, nose and a black toothy mouth so it looks like a real skull, even to those who are “imaginationally” challenged. Like many pieces of rock art, the origins are a bit hard to trace, but local legend says it was the work of some railroad workers who had extra paint and extra time on their hands.
Somewhere around 1900, a Santa Fe Railroad work crew in charge of painting mileposts along the tracks used the leftover paint to create the over-sized cranium. When passenger trains still ran on that line, conductors used to delight in telling their fares scary stories just about the time the train came around a corner and the skull popped into view.
Skull-watchers and others interested in things anatomical can reach the ghostly apparition by taking State Route 89 a couple miles north of Congress, then turn west on Yavapai County Road 62, also known as Date Creek Road, for 6.3 miles. It’s a gravel road, but well maintained.