New: Your hiking help needed!
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New: Hanging Canal Directory List!
New: Hanging Canal Cloud Projects!
New: Triangular Trinchera Discovery!
NEW: Hanging Bajada Canals Wikipedia Entry!
NEW: Hanging Bajada Canals Image Tour!
NEW: Hanging Canal AZ Republic Story and Video!
NEW: Hanging Canal AZ Lafayette Story
NEW: Little Known Gila Hikes Slide Show!
NEW: Hanging Bajada Canals Intro!
NEW: Revised Hanging Canal Summary!
NEW: Revised Hanging Canal Paper!
NEW: Revised Hanging Canal Lecture!
Over the years, I've managed to make at least one trip
somewhere just about every week forever. Some for
caving, some for prehistoric canals, some for tinaja quests,
some for escape, some for Bed and Breakfasts, and some
as plain old dog walks or day hikes.
I thought I might compile a list of nearby Gila Valley
day hikes here. Some of which even the natives have
never heard of.
I've newly provided lat-lon text links on many of these
locations, but certain sensitive areas involving Indian
habitation sites, some caves, and a few other areas
have been purposely omitted.
I've personally visited nearly all of these sites at least
once. While many are close in, a very few of the more
intriguing locations may involve an hour's drive or so
from the greater Bonita-Eden- metropolitan
Please report your own additions, corrections, present
conditions, or comments here.
You can click here for...
Find Find Hodge's Arizona as it is here.
And Hinton's Handbook to Arizona here.
Acme Mapper Topos
Allen Dam Failure Docs
Arizona GIS Land Ownership
Arizona Place Names
Arizona Stream Gauges
Arizona Water Atlas III
Bureau of Land Management
Coronado National Forest
Desert Magazine Reprints
Fewkes 1897 Archaeology Report
Food and Restaurant Guide
Fossils of the San Simon Valley
Gila Valley Hiking Club
GPS Format Conversions
Greenlee "Needles Eye" Tunnel
Graham County Birds
Graham County Dams
Graham County Lakes
Graham County Historical Society
Graham County Minerals
Graham County Peaks & Summits
Graham County Place Names
Historic USGS Maps
Hodge's Arizona as it is (ebook)
Hanging Canal Cloud Projects
Hanging Canal Directory List
Hanging Canal Image Tour
Hanging Canals of the Safford Basin
Hanging Canal Library
Hanging Canal Resource Directory
Hanging Canal Slide Show
Hanging Canal Summary
Hanging Canal AZ Republic Video
Highway Milepost Markers
Hinton's Handbook to Arizona (eBook)
Map of Allen Canal Status
Map of Mud Springs Canal Status
Mine and Mineral Data
More Website Links
Multipurpose Trail Map
Natural Arch and Bridge Society
Neely Prehistoric Ag Paper
Reay Lane Wetland Birds
Safford BLM Paleontology
San Carlos Minerals
USFS Fire Lookouts
Walnut Grove Dam Disaster
Wikipedia Hanging Canals
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 1 - 15:||
FRYE MESA FALLS -- Waterfalls, rock scrambling,
fishing. Family thru canyoneering. Access recently
greatly improved, but last 4WD mile can be very rough.
N 32.74517 W 109.83710
RED KNOLLS -- Has many dozens of pseudokarst pits.
These are very easy to rig -- just push the bolts in with
your thumb. A recent scientific experiment here verified
that if you are going to blow the top off a mesa, it might
end up suboptimal to be standing on the mesa at the time.
N 32.96087 W 109.94031
McENIRY TUNNEL -One of many local investment scams.
This one to tap Mount Graham for water and gold. You
simply scraped the gold off the ceiling directly into your
ore cars. The last quarter mile of 4WD is usually hiked
instead. AKA the Triumph Tunnel.
N 32.77583 W 109.86747
SAFFORD GRIDS -- Incredibly spectacular prehistoric
ag structures. Many thousands north of the river, and
a few hundred to the south. Possibly used to farm aguaves
for mescal. Or possibly the paleo prototypical Dilbert
Such as N 32.93309 W 109.82023
CCC CAMP -- An amazingly close in "ghost
town" that seems virtually unknown. Includes buildings,
trails, auto service training ramps.
N 32.86087 W 109.57744
TENSION STATION -- Much of the Mount Graham
Tramway is very hard to access. But the first tension
station is an easy hike with minimal 4WD.
N 32.80700 W 109.88106
COTTON CAVE -- Site of long removed prehistoric cotton and
pottery artifacts a difficult climb above the McEniry Tunnel
Actually a void formed from collapse of Gneiss boulders, rather
than a "true" cave. The historic documents appear here and a
recent trip report here.
BONITA CREEK - Nearby wet stream includes Indian ruins,
birds, hiking, and history. Note that Lee Trail midway access
is strictly limited to 4WD + Granny ONLY!
N 32.91551 W 109.49230
PREHISTORIC HANGING CANALS-- Literally hung on
the sides of steep bajada mesas as much as 180 feet (!) above
the surrounding terrain. Creating ag complexes many dozens
of miles long. This is world class unique engineering beyond
stunning. Thirty one canals are now known with a total distance
above sixty miles!
RINCON SPRING - Mile long dayhike gives you sweeping
valley views. Very seldom traveled. Excellent winter trip. Go
north from Marijilda crossing.
N 32.72353 W 109.79454
DEAD CAMEL PLACE - Footprints of paleo animals and
other Pliocene paleontology. South of the Mackenzie River.
THOSE "ICE CAVES" -- Spheroidally weathered granite voids
just below the Grant-Goudy trail once held year long ice. Perhaps
sixty feet or so of total depth. Rather overrated. Approach from
Soldier Creek Campground.
N 32.69479 W 109.91945
GOAT HILL SITE -- Indian ruin on the summit of a small knoll.
Dating from the 1300's. Other ruins nearby.
ZEOLITE MINES -- Thin layers of minerals with an incredible
variety of catalytic, filtering, and similar uses. Several different
sites in intermittent use south of Hot Wells Dunes and north of
Some locations near N 32.46976 W 109.41021
CARTER BOX -- Secret hidden pools here once held native fish.
I am not sure what our drought conditions have done recently.
N 32.79435 W 109.97086
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 16-30:||
MORENCI CRYSTAL CAVE - Several hundred feet of limestone
passage, typically with a lake blocking some easier access.
HIDDEN GILA ACCESS -- Several obscure ag roads lead to
an amazingly pristine river stretch halfway between Pima and
Thatcher. Approachable by 4wd from either north or south.
N 32.89068 W 109.79279
ASH CAMP - Nice picnic area with a usually running stream.
Flume and mountain access trails further up. Above Cluff ponds.
The road above the camp has recently been much improved.
N 32.79710 W 109.85665
MOUNT GRAHAM OBSERVATORY -- Incredible technology.
Guided tours only from Discovery Park. Seasonal.
APACHE BOX -- A favorite hiking area of BLM employees just
over the NM border. Nearby Buddhist monastery tours.
N 32.93375 W 108.99324
STOCKTON & GILLEPSIE WASHES -- Nice picnic areas.
Through hikes down stream are easy but only seldom done.
N 32.56892 W 109.76138
HOT WELL DUNES - BLM hot tubs, sand dunes, off road
vehicle paradise. Enforced dress code.
N 32.52349 W 109.42644
EDEN WATER SPREADERS -- Enigmatic check dams leap
out at you from satellite photos. These appear to be mostly
CCC water control structures dating from the 1930's.
N 32.96768 W 109.83663
SAN CARLOS FALLS -- Spectacular but rather difficult
canyoneering on the res. Rec permit required and enforced.
N 33.43966 W 110.27326
ALLEN RESERVOIR -- Failed flood control dam is rarely
visited. Makes for interesting close in exploration. Supposedly
once used for water skiing!
N 32.83338 W 109.79374
OAK GROVE CANYON -- Seldom visited and little known
feeder canyon to Aravaipa offers a wet stream, cliffs, riparian.
Check BLM for access.
N 32.84564 W 110.44502
GOAT WELL DETENTION -- Spectacular San Simon erosional
features caused by extreme long term overgrazing.
N 32.70529 W 109.55081
CUNNINGHAM ROADS -- Old logging trails atop Mt. Graham
are closed to vehicles but offer superb and easy hiking, horsing,
and mountain biking. North of Swift Trail.
N 32.67733 W 109.88020
GRANT HILL ROADS -- Very similar to the Cunningham Roads,
except earlier and to the South of Swift Trail. Superb views.
N 32.66555 W 109.88320
SANTA TERESA ROCK CLIMBING -- World class climbing
granite is little known and seldom visited. Klondyke Wall is
particularly challenging. As can be parts of Pinnacle Ridge.
N 32.88591 W 110.21275
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 31-45:||
MARIJILDA PICNIC AREA -- Small pools are perfect for
kiddies. Lots of big trees, but fewer because of recent flood
N 32.69925 W 109.78810
MORENCI MINE TOUR -- Commercial tours of one of the
largest copper mines in the world are not presently available,
but info on planned new ones might be found here.
Overview at N 33.08943 W 109.38066
YELLOWSTONE DAM -- small catchment in scenic area
has an unusual flying buttress architecture. Separate from
Yellowstone Tank, but in the same area.
N 32.86432 W 109.36343
SAN CARLOS LAKE -- Often the largest lake in the area
offers fishing and boating plus unusual Coolidge multiple dome
dam. Reservation permits required.
N 33.18140 W 110.51023
WEST END MINES -- Historic district east of Duncan offers
all sorts of exploration possibilities. Avoid tunnels and shafts!
N 32.81640 W 108.98076
PIMA BOX -- Unusual geological feature forms a short box
canyon in the Upper Sonoran life zone. Javelinas and Saguaros
common here. The Black Hills Arch is further upcanyon.
Box at N 33.06978 W 109.93902
Arch near N 33.07837 W 109.93464
ROPER LAKE STATE PARK -- Has developed hot springs,
lakes with islands, fishing, camping, hiking. Fees charged.
N 32.75522 W 109.70487
FLYING BOXCAR - Rare static display of a military C119G
"flying boxcar" twin boom cargo and paratroop plane at Pima
International Airport, aka the Flying J. Call in advance.
N 32.84627 W 109.88065
LEBANON PONDS - Collection of fairly large reservoirs that
hold seasonal water and provide storage for a historic irrigation
Number one at N 32.73472 W 109.76092
Number two at N 32.74454 W 109.74718
GILA BOX -- Hiking access to the box itself is difficult, but the
white water takeout near the Flying W picnic ground includes
Gila Box at N 32.93903 W 109.42824
Flying W at N 32.88462 W 109.48260
DEADMAN CANYON -- Offers several waterfalls, mid-route
access to the Round the Mountain trail, and an irrigation canal
that runs along the highest point on its ridge. A "secret" and
seldom traveled track routes backwards and south off Deadman
Mesa into the lower canyon.
Main Deadman at N 32.73890 W 109.81142
Secret track at N 32.74522 W 109.79824
EAGLE CREEK BAT CAVE -- Early guano mining combined with
seasonal bat flights. F-M permit recommended.
N 33.02369 W 109.41273
OLD MARBLE QUARRY -- Historic artifacts in Emigrant Canyon
once included steam engines and other equipment. Also rappelling
and huge stone blocks. Landowner relations often less than stellar.
N 32.11505 W 109.40300
SAN SIMON BARRIER DAM -- Erosion control structure quickly
filled with mud the instant it was built. Does prove that one of the
indicator species of overgrazing is cows.
N 32.78109 W 109.60895
DANKWORTH PONDS -- One time warm spring fish farm offers
hiking and day picnicking, trails, and shady escape. Fee charged.
N 32.71958 W 109.70525
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 46-60:||
CHINA PEAK OBSERVATORY -- A largely abandoned U/A
geophysical facility includes a remote airport runway and an
experimental geodetic dome
SNOW FLAT -- Small lake near the end of the Swift Trail
pavement. A hidden trail leads the back way to Treasure Park.
N 32.65273 W 109.86505
DISCOVERY PARK -- A failed museum is now part of EAC.
Nature trails, ranariums, telescope access, flight simulators,
lectures, Circle D Ranch facility, more. Train rides are not
N 32.79852 W 109.72798
MARIJILDA RUIN -- Multi-family rock architecture prehistoric
native structures date from the 13th century. 4WD access to
start of hike is mesmerizingly awful.
SAFFORD-MORENCI TRAIL -- An old horse route has been
developed and marked by BLM. Mine activity limits partial access.
West end N 32.97274 W 109.62221
East end N 33.05820 W 109.44051
ROCKHOUNDING -- Areas include Black Hills and Round
Mountain for fire agate and chalcedony; Old Highway 70 for
amygdule specimens; Many other San Simon valley locations
may show the odd piece of chalcedony. The Grand Reef mine
once offered spectacular mineral specimens, but may be under
ADEQ remediation. Note that Stanley Butte garnet and Peridot
peridots are off limits. Agate can be found in the Limestone Gulch
and Mulligan Peak areas More on our local minerals here.
Black Hills N 32.85485 W 109.39210
Round Mountain N 32.54134 W 109.10530
Amygdules N 32.77117 W 109.40571
Grand Reef N 32.88250 W 110.31750
Mulligan Peak N 33.08165 W 109.26796
ARAVAIPA GHOST TOWN -- Some buildings remain from an
old mining district. Access may be landowner restricted.
N 32.95714 W 110.35569
ROUND THE MOUNTAIN TINAJAS Just below the crossing in
Upper Marijilda. These are world class rock pools.
N 32.68482 W 109.81136
FISHOOKS WILDERNESS - Remote area with solitude, ruins,
small intermittent streams, riparian. Rarely visited.
N 33.21583 W 109.97862
RIGGS FLAT LAKE -- Fishing, camping, hiking on top of Mount
Graham. Closed in winter.
N 32.70784 W 109.96514
NATURESWEET TOURS -- Huge tomato production facility on the
other side of the mountain sometimes offers free tours. Acquired
by NatureSweet. Call in advance.
N 32.46861 W 109.94141
PADDIE'S RIVER -- Interesting side canyon in the Galiuros.
You can approach from the Sunset area.
N 32.62344 W 110.26036
WILD RASPBERRIES -- Late August in most any old burn area
on the top of Mount Graham. Also prickly pears and commercial
apples later and lower.
raspberries around N 32.65622 W 109.85794, etc...
pears all along the Swift Trail such as N 32.63767 W 109.82305
apples at N 32.63988 W 109.81977
EAGLE CREEK HOT SPRING -- There are several of these. The
nicest is like soaking inside a giant geode. A F-M mine access permit
N 33.04796 W 109.44097
PIMA BADLANDS -- Huge area to the west is largely roadless.
Interesting geology full of nooks and crannies of one sort or another.
area around N 32.88002 W 109.87159
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 61-75:||
ARAVIPIA CANYON - World class riparian wilderness
stream. BLM permits required.
east end N 32.88002 W 109.87159
west end N 32.86449 W 110.60054
CLUFF PONDS -- Several small reservoirs in an Arizona Game
and Fish developed location. Easy access south of Pima.
N 32.82195 W 109.84446
NORTH TAYLOR CANYON -- Hiking trails lead to a divide
in the mountains separating Mt Graham proper from West Peak.
N 32.74336 W 110.00595
COPPER CREEK CROSSOVER -- An ancient and vehicle
impassible wagon road once connected fourmile with the upper
end of the Copper Creek mining district. Access may be restricted.
N 32.77238 W 110.41532
CARTER SAWMILL - One of many earlier sawmill sites that
are reachable by a hiking trail beyond 4WD access.
N 32.74369 W 109.99527
POWERS GARDEN -- Scene in the Galiuros of a major historical
shootout. Today a pleasant but very long riparian hike.
N 32.65375 W 110.35973
OLD US 70 - Two stretches of long abandoned and and somewhat
overgrown roadways are perfect for hiking and mountain biking.
Amygdules are somewhat collectible and found in the Slick Rock
West segment N 32.82446 W 109.50082
East segment N 32.80628 W 109.41611
DUTCH HENRY TRAIL -- The only eastern trail off the mountain.
Starts in Onion Saddle. Ends up in Stockton Wash.
N 32.61454 W 109.77565
BLACKJACK CAVE -- Large shelter cave in the under appreciated
Big Lue Mountain range near the NM border. Hidden Philips Tank
makes an interesting destination southeast of Blackjack Campground.
Off a superb Maverick Hill ATV route.
Blackjack Cave near N 33.04118 W 109.10656
Blackjack Campground at N 33.05794 W 109.08036
Phillips Tank at N 33.04118 W 109.10656
HANNA HOT SPRING -- One of the most remote in AZ now needing
a 14 mile round trip hike. Check nearby Little Blue Box and the
columnar hex basalt a short trip upcanyon from the spring.
Hot Spring N 33.39980 W 109.15257
Basalt N 33.40048 W 109.14880
Little Blue Box N 33.40349 W 109.15918
FORT BOWIE -- Old military fort is a National Monument. The
normal access involves a one mile hiking trail. But a"secret"
paved road goes straight to the visitor center!
Hiking trailhead N 32.15635 W 109.45277
"Secret" road N 32.14727 W 109.43423
NOON CREEK -- The first shady picnic spot on the mountain.
Two miles further up is the Wet Canyon arm of Jacobson Creek,
with just enough of a small stream for kiddy puddling. These both
have good examples of CCC rockwork.
Noon Creek N 32.66784 W 109.79622
Wet Canyon N 32.65122 W 109.81300
EL CAPITAN CANYON -- My favorite narrow Escabrosa
Limestone slot canyon where you can almost touch both walls
at once. Minimum trip size: four, at least one of whom should
be rope qualified. Inappropriate for dogs.
N 33.17926 W 110.80769
DEER CREEK CABIN -- The trailhead for several NE Galiuro
trails that include Kennedy Peak and others.
N 32.66562 W 110.28651
WHITLOCK ARTESIAN HOT LAKE -- I can't seem to find this
one anymore, although it is likely near or at the "old rabbit farm".
Similar areas in the San Simon valley are fun to explore. They are
largely failures owing to overgrazing, drought, and excessive optimism.
N 32.50046 W 109.34005
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 76-90:||
BELLOWS CANYON -- Start at the West Peak lookout tower
and work your way down John's Canyon Ridge and Bellows Canyon
to the old ranger station site and spring. Topo maps essential on
this long but easy downhill hike.
N 32.74580 W 110.08070
CEDAR SPRINGS -- Popular family and religious retreat and
gathering place. Drought has reduced the springs from spectacular
to the barest hint of a seep.
N 32.77680 W 110.15249
JUAN MILLER -- Primo access route to the Lower Blue River
country along with developed campgrounds and some fascinating
geology. One possible access route to the Blue River Fish Barrier.
N 33.26936 W 109.34976
FISHERMAN'S POINT -- Seldom visited area just into New
Mexico offers fishing, swimming, impressive cliffs. Fuller road,
then north, then right at wye. In Lower Box Canyon.
Overview at N 32.63046 W 108.85276
Access via N 32.63196 W 108.85475
WHITLOCK CAVES & RUINS -- Nearly inaccessible on east
face of mountain. See the topo map or Acme Mapper for details.
N 32.60228 W 109.40265
SOUTH BUFORD CANYON -- The "back way" to Aravaipa is
perfect for mountain biking and remote hiking.
N 32.81482 W 110.24426
HOT DOG FORMATIONS -- Mysterious bunkers five miles
SxSSE of Swift Trail Junction are possibly CCC projects. SWq S9.
My own theory is that one of these may contain a dead horse.
Hard to find.
Examples near N 32.66181 W 109.69657
McEUEN RUIN -- One of very few local large rock shelters inside
a cave. Access restricted.
GRANT CREEK - Very difficult hike involves steep trail. The
falls themselves demand ropework and canyoneering skills.
N 32.67016 W 109.91033
STOCKTON PASS AREA -- Besides picnic and camping areas,
offers access to Shake Springs trail and routes south through
upper Hog Canyon.
N 32.59173 W 109.85523
HIDDEN TREASURE PARK -- Obscure rough trails lead to very
private camping on flowing but tiny Big Creek. Plus alternate
foot access to the Grant Hill area.
N 32.66152 W 109.87618
REDFIELD CANYON -- The "other" wet stream in the Galiuros
is my favorite. Private land access can be avoided by the longer
Jackson Cabin approach. north from the Muleshoe.
N 32.44405 W 110.31963
RUG ROAD TO PARSONS -- While this is a mesmerizingly
awful world class jeep trail, day hiking to Parsons Grove makes
for a very reasonable all day foot trip.
Eastern rug road start at N 32.86647 W 110.43121
Parsons Grove at N 32.82446 W 110.47657
THE GREASEWOODS -- Plenty of hiking opportunities, especially
via the Wood Canyon road. Other approaches are near the
Jernigan Ranch, Oak Draw, or the Ten Ranch.
Wood Canyon N 32.43511 W 109.74907
Jernigan N 32.54092 W 109.76375
Ten Ranch N 32.47176 W 109.70049
Oak Draw N 32.59047 W 109.68466
GUTHRIE PEAK -- Antenna farm offers sweeping views of
the Gila Valley and much of Southeastern Arizona.
N 32.59047 W 109.68466
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 91-105:||
DAY MINE AREA -- Seasonal wet streams, oak woodland, solitude.
Access starts just north of Fort Thomas. Do NOT try to return via
Markham Creek! 4wd tracks do not connect in any obvious way.
N 33.13691 W 109.87859
BATTLE MOUNTAIN -- The actual location of this Apache-U.S.
Calvary skirmish ranged from Cedar Springs to K-H Butte.
The injuns won this one 4-0 in double overtime.
Cedar Springs N 32.77685 W 110.15235
K H Butte N 32.71007 W 110.0842
TRAMWAY ACCESS -- The best areas demand extreme effort.
These do include the high towers, the escarpment leap, Alabam
Point, and fourth transfer station.
HOOKER HOT SPRINGS -- Aka the Muleshoe Ranch. Includes
interpretive hikes and rentable Nature Conservancy casitas.
N 32.33621 W 110.23856
LADYBUG PEAK -- Stunning views plus seasonal namesake insects
in vast quantities. Gives access to Dutch Henry, Bear Canyon, and
the actual and quite steep Ladybug trail.
N 32.62250 W 109.81898
SPRING CANYON -- Little known and seldom visited birding
area north of the Mesquite Bosque. Last visit included two
penguins and a great auk.
N 32.89473 W 109.50153
LITTLE DRAGOON ARCH -- One of the larger natural stone
arches in SE Arizona. Bushwacking required for access. Can be
seen from I-10. Sort of.
Near N 32.05214 W 110.09423
PEYOTE WAY CHURCH OF GOD -- Definitely a trip. Probably
the only remaining hippy commune in the area. Unique pottery.
Near N 32.73641 W 110.23210
P RANCH MINE -- One of very few mines in the largely
unmineralized Grahams. Also nearby is a very early irrigation canal.
N 32.65096 W 109.74067
TOPPY'S CAVE -- Huge shelter cave on the eastern slope of
upper Bonita Creek. Steep hike off a difficult 4WD route.
Named, of course, for Presley Cantrell.
N 33.03561 W 109.52051
TANQUE -- Little remains at this railroad site that once provided
water for steam engines. Alternate road to Hot Well Dunes.
N 32.60885 W 109.53825
COPPER CANYON -- Old mining district at the far end of the
Rug Road 4WD route. Wet stream, riparian, anglo ruins.
Easiest approach is near Mammoth.
N 32.75036 W 110.47412
SAN JOSE HOT WELL -- Yet another local hot artesian water
source. OK Picnic spot is not really swimmable or soakable.
N 32.82991 W 109.57891
TURTLE MOUNTAIN -- Long 4WD route gives possible mine-
free alternate access to the lower Eagle Creek area.
N 32.99035 W 109.46018
SHINGLE MILL CANYON -- Site of the original toll road up
the Grahams. Now vehicle impassible in seven places. Also
gives access to much of the Tramway. The shingle mill itself was
possibly in the Hulda Gap area.
Shingle Mill Canyon Turnoff:: N 32.80777 W 109.87182
Shingle Mill Canyon:: N 32.77288 W 109.90787
Possible actual mill location: N 32.75062 W 109.91637
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 106-120:||
WINGS OVER WILLCOX -- Annual January birding event on
the Playa celebrates Sandhill Crane flyway.
SAND TANK -- The primary eastern Santa Teresa access point
to cross the range or access Pinnacle Ridge climbing. Also is the
Cottonwood Peak trailhead.
N 32.84962 W 110.20001
SOUTHERN GILA BOX -- Access roads South of the river are
much less used. A reasonable 4wd route near San Jose; a more
challenging one down Deadman Canyon off the Back Country
via San Jose: N 32.88233 W 109.48915
via Deadman: N 32.89383 W 109.46413
THE ROAD TO NOWHERE -- A "new" road was started up
the Grahams by prison labor, stalled when funding did. It is not
clear how or where both ends were going to meet. Home of "the
wall", a tweenybopper party site favorite.
N 32.68559 W 109.78
THE BLUE PONDS -- Popular tweenybopper party site south
of Daley Estates. Lakes are apparently no longer full or well
maintained. Prehistoric grids, ruins, rock alignments, canals,
artesian wells, and roasting pits nearby.
N 32.78266 W 109.77405
N 32.78856 W 109.76866
ARCADIA TRAIL -- One of the easiest of Graham Mountain
trails goes from Shannon to Arcadia. But avoid wandering off
into super rugged Upper Marijilda canyon.
N 32.65624 W 109.85041
BACK COUNTRY BYWAY -- Steep dirt alternate route to
Morenci offers 21 miles of access to hiking, whitewater, trains,
kiosks, cinder pits, history, CCC, ranches, and vistas.
N 32.84147 W 109.42229
N 32.96542 W 109.30917
N 33.00775 W 109.28136
THATCHER SEWER PONDS - An unlikely but popular birding
spot. Sometimes are frequented by Great Blue Herons, by far our
classiest local bird. New viewing tower.
N 32.86402 W 109.76730
THE OLD TUNNELS -- Abandoned railroad route on lower San
Francisco river included these plus five 360 degree climbing loops.
Of the 15 known loops on all US railroads, five of them were here.
One loop remains. Possible mountain biking route.
N 33.00651 W 109.31808
N 33.00645 W 109.31547
N 33.01442 W 109.31127
TWILIGHT AREA -- Underappreciated and easily accessed picnic
and camping area above Turkey Flat. The other end of the "no
middle" road to and from nowhere.
N 32.63327 W 109.82446
BENEATH FRYE DAM -- Western fork off the Deadman Canyon
road leads up and under the reservoir in an interesting riparian canyon.
Watch out for rattlesnakes!
N 32.75607 W 109.82034
WEBB PEAK -- No longer used but hiker accessible lookout tower
in the top center of the Grahams. Sweeping views. Much more on
southwest lookout towers here.
N 32.71130 W 109.92278
OLIVER TRAIL -- Very remote canyon in one of the wildest parts
of the Gila Mountains on the Left Fork of Markham Creek. Note
that the upper and lower Markham 4WD tracks do NOT connect
in any obvious way!
N 33.07213 W 109.79979
WATCHIBLE WILDLIFE PLATFORM -- Treetop level interpretive
site is handicapped accessible. Near the junction of Bonita Creek and
the Gila River.
N 32.89622 W 109.48127
HARRIS CAMP CANYON -- Eminently hikable and mountain
bikable tracks just south of Tollgate Pass. Deepening canyon
looks interesting on topos.
N 32.84367 W 109.22129
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 121-135:||
TURKEY CREEK RUIN -- A second cliff dwelling inside a cave.
BLM interpretive site upcanyon from Arivaipia.
LITTLE TABLE MOUNTAIN -- Sweeping views and early mine
historic artifacts just off the legendary and mesmerizingly awful
world class 4WD Rug Road. You can't get there from here.
N 32.81716 W 110.48605
JOHNNY CREEK -- Interesting area on the far side of back of
beyond. Mining activity may limit loop trips. Approach from
N 33.00224 W 109.59736
H-X DAM -- Large and remote seasonal tank in the upper Timber
Draw area makes for a possible 4wd picnic site. Ruins nearby.
N 32.44447 W 109.50891
BEAR SPRINGS TRAIL - Easternmost southern trail off of the
Grahams steeply goes through many life zones. Car shuttle advised.
N 32.61062 W 109.80713
OLD BANANA FARM - Yet another Gila Valley scam just above
the Thatcher Diversion dam. Close-in riparian and river access but
is still recovering from a major fire.
N 32.85959 W 109.74274
BACK ROUTE TO MUD SPRINGS -- Little known and seldom
explored impassible jeep trail west from the Frye Mesa Road
makes for quiet winter hiking. Prehistoric Allen Canal nearby,
as are many minor CCC water spreader projects.
N 32.79846 W 109.82436
BRAMAHAM CAVE -- Longish hike off obscure, nonobvious,
poorly mapped, and confusing jeep trails on the res. Rec permit
N 33.33129 W 110.21574
BLACK HILLS ARCH -- Smaller natural arch in the Pima Box
Canyon north of Fort Thomas. A five mile round trip. A very
good ATV route.
near N 33.07837 W 109.93464
SHEEP TANK --Small reservoir two miles east off the Frye Mesa
road makes for a close in and easy picnic lunch site. Frye Creek
is alternately diverted through here when it is flowing. Some
checkdams nearby that may be either prehistoric or CCC.
N 32.77037 W 109.80224
BLUE JAY PEAK -- This top of mountain hiking trail starts at
West Peak Lookout. Sweeping vistas, Government Spring.
N 32.74352 W 110.02934
DEVAL RUIN - BLM interpretive rock shelter site in the upper
in the Bonita Creek area.
NO NAME TANK -- Offbeat raw picnic location two miles east of
the prison. South of old and abandoned US 70.
N 32.82545 W 109.52590
GILA RIVER FLOAT TRIPS -- Range from placid to whitewater,
depending on seasonal flow. Contact BLM for current conditions
Typical: N 32.96534 W 109.30894 to N 32.89220 W 109.47900
ADAMS FLAT -- Waterfalls and rock scrambling area above
Angle Orchard in Jacobson Canyon. Seasonal flow.
N 32.65672 W 109.79773
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 136-150:||
BONITA CEROMONIAL CAVE - Site of a one time stash of
very early indian artifacts. A beautiful riparian area with a
CHESLEY FLAT -- Superb north views via easy hike to the
Grandview Peak. Also gives you top access to the remote and
very difficult Blair Canyon Trail.
Chesley N 32.71690 W 109.93901
Blair N 32.72491 W 109.93270
CAVE CREEK MYSTERY - Cavers have found nothing in this
small canyon between Deadman and Frye in gneiss. Why was it
named by who? Lighting at certain seasons gives the illusion of
a large shadow entrance.
N 32.74433 W 109.82400
LEBANON RUIN - Medium sized site possibly dates from the
1200's and sits on a high bluff. Has the usual pot hunting damage.
MOUNT GRAHAM SAWMILL - Largest and most important
sawmill on the mountain. Both the tramway and the flume started
here. But the tramway crossed "up" and over into Shingle Mill
Canyon. More tramway details here.
N 32.71870 W 109.90515
VIRDEN NM - Not really a ghost town, but definitely a "hidden"
architectural blast from the past. Nearby are fireworks sales, ruins,
riparian canyon hikes, swimming, and fire agate.
N 32.68837 W 108.99826
ASH CREEK - The steep primary trail from Columbine to Pima
follows a live stream much of the way. Site of the log flumes, of
which only scant traces may remain. Lower portions of the road
have recently been substantially improved.
N 32.75542 W 109.87867
THE "OTHER" ASH CREEK - This one gives eastern access to
the Galiuros via a shady partial 4wd riparian route.
N 32.50745 W 110.25220
THE SOUTHERN GRIDS - While not as orderly or spectacular
as the main Safford Grids site, a wider variety of structures is
included. As are mulch rings, canals, pits, and check dams.
N 32.78757 W 109.73906
N 32.79437 W 109.75200
PELONCILLO WILDERNESS -- Area west of the Lords-burg
Playa and northeast of Bowie offers mountain sheep, remote
hiking, vista peaks, rock hounding. Some access restrictions.
N 32.38419 W 109.08904
LEFTHAND ARCHEOLOGICAL DISTRICT -- This 200 plus
room complex has long been heavily pot hunted with appalling
BIBLE CAMP -- Religious facility in the Old Columbine area
hosted by a Tucson Congregation. Summer youth programs.
More details here.
N 32.71580 W 109.90061
CCC WATER SPREADER DAMS-- These are all over the
place, but the long triplet found west of Freeman Flat and just
southwest of the power line show exceptional stone masonry work.
See if you can find "Alberto's" signature.
N 32.79615 W 109.75371
"FLYING W" PICNIC AREA-- A BLM group picnic area near the
confluence of Bonita Creek and the Gila River. Rather than being
a ranch brand, the name comes from the obvious structural steel
shapes supporting the roof.
N 32.88462 W 109.48260
COLUMBINE RANGER STATION -- Seasonally manned mini-
museum is a good starting point for most any top-of-mountain
N 32.70398 W 109.91318
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 151-165:||
CLARK PEAK 4WD LOOP -- A second and little traveled rough
4WD route loops back from the western end of the Swift Trail. It
goes through dense forest and some marsh with three interesting
N 32.71488 W 109.97133
TWIN BOOBS PONDING AREA -- Amazingly well preserved,
and seldom visited prehistoric water project. Apparently a ponding
area fed by two prehistoric canal systems. Rough access trail,
as the paved one is usually locked.
N 32.76609 W 109.73602
AREA BICYCLING -- The area is also superb for mid-length
bicycle trips. Some routes I have tested include...
Safford to Thatcher:
N 32.83129 W 109.73769
N 32.88462 W 109.48260
Thatcher to Pima:
N 32.86751 W 109.80009
N 32.90285 W 109.77682
Pima to Eden:
N 32.91399 W 109.85685
N 32.93974 W 109.84908
Safford to Eden ( duh! )
Reay Lane to Upper Solomon to Airport:
N 32.84242 W 109.75003
N 32.80217 W 109.68874
N 32.85605 W 109.66085
San Jose to 3-Way to Duncan
N 32.81032 W 109.50240
N 32.93071 W 109.21161
N 32.73693 W 109.14458
Duncan to Virden to Franklin
N 32.72538 W 109.08896
N 32.63131 W 108.97738
N 32.62488 W 109.00501
Willcox to Kansas Settlement to Cochise
N 32.20856 W 109.77631
N 32.07049 W 109.76252
N 32.08042 W 109.90127
Paved One way...
Safford to Thatcher Urban Trail
N 32.80252 W 109.70802
N 32.81492 W 109.73562
N 32.80796 W 109.76296
N 32.80793 W 109.76295
Mount Graham hill climb
N 32.70429 W 109.73973
Big Lue hill climb
N 33.04108 W 109.11694
Granville hill climb
N 33.16629 W 109.36799
Calva to Coolidge Dam
N 33.15781 W 110.13652
N 33.17060 W 110.50645
Willcox to Bonita
N 32.26786 W 109.86083
N 32.58627 W 109.97383
Blackjack to Mule Creek
N 33.05725 W 109.08112
N 33.12233 W 108.95636
Haekel to Hot Well Dunes
N 32.80202 W 109.58181
N 32.52389 W 109.42653
Hannagan to Rose Peak
N 33.63939 W 109.32714
N 33.44021 W 109.37486
Barney Lane to High Mesa
N 32.81472 W 109.66505
N 32.76076 W 109.66503
Hinton Road to Sanders Road
N 33.03426 W 109.98531
N 33.00898 W 109.98365
Old central landfill
N 32.85977 W 109.8142
Mountain Biking ( rougher or dirt )...
N 32.51043 W 110.16237
N 32.53778 W 110.20408
N 32.55760 W 110.11774
Cluff Ponds Loop
N 32.86093 W 109.80137
N 32.84362 W 109.83536
Patterson Cottonwood Loop
N 32.85992 W 109.88891
N 32.84759 W 109.89484
Black Hills Loop
N 32.85523 W 109.39243
N 32.85667 W 109.41217
Skyline / Ward Canyon Loop
N 33.03984 W 109.28089
N 32.99306 W 109.24776
Old Highway 70
N 32.83215 W 109.53036
N 32.80644 W 109.41633
Tanque Road to Hot Well Dunes
N 32.60478 W 109.68581
N 32.52389 W 109.42653
Back Country Byway
N 32.84147 W 109.42229
N 32.94860 W 109.32153
N 33.00775 W 109.28136
Black Rock Road
N 33.03479 W 109.96982
N 32.94657 W 110.19410
Morenci Southern Railroad
N 32.97476 W 109.30068
N 33.00727 W 109.31055
Sheldon Peak Routes
N 32.80478 W 109.26506
DISCOVERY DISTRICT --Yet another collection of Southern
grids, ruins, trincheras, and circular features. At least four areas.
N 32.79065 W 109.73750
SAFFORD URBAN TRAIL -- As close in as you can get, this
multi use path is great for jogging, bicycling, dog walking. Just
has been expanded to Daley Estates ( sort of ) and Thatcher.
Safford N 32.80252 W 109.70802 to N 32.81492 W 109.73562
Thatcher N 32.80796 W 109.76296 to N 32.80793 W 109.76295
BEAR BASIN -- The most obscure trail access on the North side
of the Grahams. May have water and tinajas higher up.
N 32.76536 W 109.95045
SLICK ROCK AMYGDULES-- These volcanic inclusions are
somewhat collectible as geologic specimens. Off old hiway 70.
N 32.77117 W 109.40571
EDEN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT -- Site of many CCC
checkdam and erosion projects with dozens more up on the north
bajada. These leap out at you from the satellite photos. Some
even include "drawbridges".
N 32.95837 W 109.88056
LOWER DEADMAN TANK -- Long dry water catchment makes
for a secluded 4WD picnic goal. At one time the prehistoric Deadman
Ditch split three ways, going here, to Upper Deadman tank, and the
Porter Spring Tank.
N 32.77111 W 109.75147
OLD MORENCI BRIDGE -- Restored historic bridge on the
backcountry byway is also a shady picnic area and a Gila
River whitewater put in. Also called the Pumroy Canyon Bridge
or the Black Gap Bridge.
N 32.96514 W 109.30901
DRY LAKE -- A military rifle range just east of Daley Estates is
both closed and unsafe. But new public access areas are found at
Dry Lake south of Safford Airport.
N 32.83896 W 109.65830
THE CLIFFHANGER -- Prehistoric water delivery system literally
hung on the side of a steep mesa. Up to NINETY FEET above
the valley floor. An even more amazing and "above grade" aqueduct
portion is nearby. More here.
N 32.73505 W 109.75567
BLACKROCK CCC DAM -- Centerpiece of a bizarre collection of
Fort Thomas CCC water diversion and erosion control projects. Some
of which seem more artistic than useful.
N 33.01739 W 109.99490
UPPER SAN FRANCISCO -- Mine road above Clifton leads to caves,
swimming, hot springs, and Blue River confluence.
N 33.12836 W 109.28368
OLD STAGE STATION -- Not sure what if anything remains at this
poorly documented historic site near the extremely remote Whitlock
N 32.55203 W 109.33599
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 166-180:||
GRANTHAM CAVE -- Large main room and some tight passage
in this Escabrosa Limestone feature. At the base of the "Vee".
FURTHER AFIELD -- Here are some of my obscure favorites that
involve longer out-of-area trips...
Oak Flat tinajas ( endangered! )
N 33.30730 W 111.04806
N 33.30356 W 111.03442
Dum Ditty cave
South of the Mackenzie River
Cherry Creek cliffs
N 33.82465 W 110.86920
N 33.83721 W 111.08016
Santa Maria canyon
N 34.40728 W 113.17189
Redlake karst area
N 34.18290 W 110.79272
N 33.42219 W 108.80563
West Clear Creek
N 34.55527 W 111.54775
N 33.77341 W 110.97764
N 33.37294 W 108.84188
N 32.30609 W 110.48513
N 32.21385 W 110.39826
Barnhardt to Sheep Bridge
N 34.09177 W 111.42920
N 34.07765 W 111.70797
Tonto Hell's Gate
N 34.21748 W 111.09497
N 31.88952 W 110.01120
Mescal Crack ( Lone Pine Divide )
Near N 33.87363 W 110.80808
N 31.80326 W 109.26842
Wet Beaver Creek
N 34.67535 W 111.67649
CANADOR PEAK -- Sits high on a bluff above the Gila River. Some
Outstanding swimming, fishing, and spectacular cliffs only a few miles
BYWAY CAIRNS -- The subtle mulch rings near the northern kiosk
are genuine and prehistoric. The big obvious Trinchera looking projects
south of the Pumroy Canyon Bridge are really CCC busyworks.
Mulch rings N 33.00317 W 109.28639
CCC Boondoggles N 32.95848 W 109.30423
SHELDON PEAK MOUNTAIN BIKING - Many 4WD tracks in
the Peloncillos are outstanding. From Tollgate Canyon to Sheldon
Loop to Shoat Tank Wash to Old Hiway 70. Great winter hiking, too.
Tollgate N 32.84192 W 109.40277
Sheldon N 32.81158 W 109.25877
Shoat N 32.79568 W 109.28059
Old 70 N 32.80646 W 109.41462
TIMBER DRAW - The site of a further BLM proposed erosion
control structure. The previous ones instantly filled with mud.
N 32.54211 W 109.49179
SOLOMONVILLE BRIDGE - Historic iron truss bridge has been
moved to an obscure eastern area of Roper Lake State Park for
storage and eventual restoration.
N 32.75418 W 109.70013
SPEEDER JAUNTS -- Ride the rails on your own obsolete power
handcar! But do so ONLY as part of a sanctioned event! Two local
routes are spectacular.
LOCAL AIRPORTS - The FAA identifier of "SAD" for Safford
Regional pretty much sums it up. The Flying J sometimes is a
good choice for aerial surveys or local photography. The High
Mesa airpark is a private homeowners association and sees
little traffic. Greenlee sees even less. The Duncan construction
of O'Conner airport seems to be faltering. Eden International includes
some odd CCC constructs. Sharp eyed pilots flying into Thatcher
International may note minor debris on the runway, such as a few
refrigerators or evaporative coolers. Nightly DC3 flights from
Columbia. Further info at Airnav.
Safford N 32.85315 W 109.63619
Flying J N 32.84652 W 109.87819
High Mesa N 32.76944 W 109.65589
Greenlee N 32.95847 W 109.20974
O'Conner N 32.69366 W 109.12883
Eden International N 32.95793 W 109.88068
Thatcher International N 32.82025 W 109.79155
SIXPACK HABITATION - Small classic six room ruin in the area
of exceptionally engineered prehistoric canals and ag sites.
TOLLGATE CANYON TOLL ROAD -- Long rock borders still
mark the Western portions of this early commercial route. Along
with other enigmatic remains including some rather impressive
dams. Hang right through the gate just past the Backcountry
N 32.84144 W 109.40314
BIBLE CAMP CUTOFF -- The fastest and easiest access to the
Mt. Graham Sawmill, Ash Creek trail, Upper Shingle Mill Canyon,
and the tramway escarpment and upper towers is to slant steeply
down canyon from immediately before the Bible Camp. Largely
N 32.71364 W 109.90272
CLARK PEAK TRAIL -- Highest of the Mt. Graham trails offers
spectacular views. Best done as "out and back" from the east due
to lack of water, extreme elevation changes, and difficult vehicle
N 32.72281 W 109.98645
"POTHOLE COUNTRY" -- This is a little out of range and I
have yet to reach it, but the topo map features six miles north of
Mule Creek include our title plus "cave canyon" and "pothole
canyon". This Gila NF area seems unknown to local cavers.
But the likely volcanic mudstone probably does not bode well.
N 33.19582 W 108.94808
ARCADIA CAMPGROUND -- Lowest "full service" campground
is open year round except during fires. Gives access to Adam's
Flat, Arcadia Trail, Angle Orchard apples, and Ladybug trail.
N 32.64853 W 109.81977
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 181-195:||
"THUMPER LOOPS " -- There are a dozen or more of these
"roads to nowhere" that are always on a flat mesa, always
close on themselves, and always are within a few feet of a
steep mesa edge. One guess is that they are "post GPS"
geophysical access for seismic exploration or core drilling.
Satellite Imagery sometimes suggest CCC projects or
prehistoric ag artifacts in the area.
N 32.87002 W 109.56647
GILA BOX RIVER TRAIL -- The first Arizona water trail is
three miles long and goes from Bonita Creek to Dry Canyon.
Whitewater rating is usually Class II or less, but always verify!
Use only "real" watercraft and approved flotation.
N 32.89301 W 109.47829
N 32.88479 W 109.50039
WHITE STREAKS CANYON -- This rock scramble is best
viewed from a distance. Easily combined with a McENIRY
TUNNEL, Shingle Mill toll road, or Cotton Cave trip.
N 32.76975 W 109.88706
CUNNINGHAM CAMPGROUND -- The most "horsey" of
top-of-mountain sites with public corrals. Near various logging
roads and flowing Moonshine Creek. Dirt access road is closed
in winter and during fires.
N 32.67836 W 109.89381
OLD TRIPP CANYON RANGER STATION -- This now
restored shady oak woodland forms a year round and nearly
ideal unimproved camping and picnic area. Small springs
are usually reliable for dog water.
N 32.77741 W 110.06560
SKY GYPSIES -- Ultralight facility in the Amigos De Cielo airpark
also includes an open-Sunday's internet cafe and a free classics/arts
theater. Longish drive. ( Has been sold -- future uncertain, so check
before visiting ).
N 31.90481 W 109.02541
COTTONWOOD TRAIL -- New two mile BLM loop trail in the
Gila Box links the Flying W, Riverview Campground, Kearny
Monument, Serna Cabin, and the Bonita Watchable Wildlife Area.
Flying W N 32.88462 W 109.48263
Riverview N 32.88733 W 109.47986
Serna N 32.89401 W 109.47954
Watchable N 32.89622 W 109.48129
SOLDIER CREEK -- Top of mountain full campground gives
access to Grant/Goudy trail, Grant Creek Falls, the Ice Caves,
and similar areas. Dirt access road is closed in winter and
N 32.69921 W 109.92051
LOCAL HOT SPRINGS -- Some of these have been closed due
to nudes-vs-prudes squabbles. Notably Thatcher Hot Well and
Watson Wash. Remaining are Roper Lake State Park, Hot Well
Dunes, San Jose Hot Well, Whitlock Hot Lake, Daley, Eagle
Creek, Hooker, and ultra hot Gillard. Hanna Hot Spring remains
pristine but very hard to access. Commercial sites include Indian
Hot Springs, Essence of Tranquility, Kachina, and Muleshoe.
Others are hidden in the Artesia area.
Roper N 32.75522 W 109.70487
Hot Well Dunes N 32.52349 W 109.42644
Whitlock Hot Lake N 32.50132 W 109.33963
Daley N 32.79332 W 109.76590 ?
Eagle Creek N 33.04796 W 109.44097
Hooker aka Muleshoe N 32.33621 W 110.23856
Gillard N 32.97298 W 109.35031
Hanna N 33.39980 W 109.15257
Essence N 32.75749 W 109.72496
Kachina N 32.75109 W 109.72089
ROUND THE MOUNTAIN TRAIL -- Ties in the Swift Trail
highway with Marijilda, Deadman, and Frye Canyons. Also
links the Gibson trail which is blocked at its top. A short spur
goes to the Noon Creek picnic area. Superb tinajas are in
upper Marijilda and middle Frye.
Swift N 32.66323 W 109.80073
Noon N 32.66746 W 109.80884
Marijilda N 32.68278 W 109.81364
Deadman N 32.71784 W 109.83802
Frye N 32.72264 W 109.85785
ASH CREEK OVERFLOW -- Heavily riparian area north of
Cluff Ponds is little known and seldom visited, yet sometimes
has an impressive flowing stream. Very shady.
N 32.82497 W 109.84388
SHANNON CAMPGROUND -- At the end of the Swift Trail
pavement. Closed winter roads beyond make this a good access
point for cross country skiing, winter sports, and snowmobiles.
Trails include Arcadia, Heliograph and Snow Lake. Wild
raspberries in late August.
N 32.65774 W 109.85861
PUEBLO VIEJO-- Originally referred to the Epley ruin between
San Jose and the Gila. Long trashed by ag development. But the
term can also mean "anything prehistoric in the Gila Valley."
Translates as "old house".
TOLLGATE TANK -- Seldom visited location of an impressively
high concrete dam blocking an interesting and rarely explored
canyon. The toll road itself bypassed to the south.
N 32.84227 W 109.40097
HELIOGRAPH PEAK -- Site of an amazingly effective military
communications facility from the 1880's. Also an antenna farm
and a very high CCC built lookout tower. Access is usually by
foot or mountain bike only. Sweeping views.
N 32.64996 W 109.84867
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 196-210:||
LIMESTONE MOUNTAIN / CRYSTAL PEAK -- Res locations
I've yet to visit may have cave and geologic potential. Permits
required and might be off limits. Mineral specimen collecting is
a big no-no.
N 33.03715 W 110.33854
N 33.03391 W 110.32069
HOSPITAL FLAT -- Ten unit campground includes a nature trail
and a flowing stream, gives access to Grant Hill, meadows, cienegas.
Dirt access road is closed in winter and during fires.
N 32.66603 W 109.87501
TOLL ROADS -- The Weech road up Shingle Mill is easily 4WD
followed at first, but is long, very rough, steep, and becomes vehicle
impassible in seven places. Also home of the tramway. The Montes
Road once ran up Tollgate Canyon. It is largely non-obvious, hard
to follow in most areas, and vehicle impassable. Eventually got to
Weech N 32.80476 W 109.87915
Montes N 32.84143 W 109.40322
DIAMOND BAR AREA -- Remote and seldom explored area west
of the Fishooks is definitely on the "out west" side of back of beyond.
Check out Steer Springs canyon and its feeders.
Diamond Bar N 33.19705 W 110.02962
Steer Springs N 33.22707 W 110.02756
LOST MINES & TREASURE -- Packsaddles of stolen Mexican
gold are supposedly buried in, of all places, Treasure Park. Much
of the "Shame of Pima" stolen cash from the Wham Paymaster
robbery may still be unaccounted for. At least some researchers
feel the Lost Adams diggings are in Lower Eagle Creek rather than
New Mexico's Malapais. Outright swindles included McEniry,
Spenazuma, and the Banana Farm. My own vote for the most credible
Arizona treasure legend remains the Seymour Safe.
Treasure Park N 32.66175 W 109.87169
Wham Site N 32.83402 W 110.12609
Eagle Creek N 32.98182 W 109.41247
McEniry N 32.77583 W 109.86747
Seymour N 33.85240 W 112.66004
WILDERNI -- Local Wilderness Areas include Aravapia, Dos
Cabezas, Fishooks, Galiuro, North Santa Teresa, Peloncillo,
Redfield, Needle's Eye, and Santa Teresa. Of these, Fishooks is
probably the best choice that is both accessible and seldom
visited. One local WSA is Pinalino Mountain.
Aravapia N 32.91369 W 110.49170
Dos Cabezos N 32.21492 W 109.51890
Fishooks N 33.22139 W 110.02269
Galiuro N 32.58986 W 110.31418
North Santa Teresa N 33.21583 W 109.97862
Peloncillo N 32.37961 W 109.08920
Redfield N 32.44547 W 110.31418
Needles Eye N 33.13526 W 110.58995
Santa Teresa N 32.89480 W 110.28396
NANCY'S ROCKPILES -- Certainly these are among the
strangest of local artifacts. Seven somewhat irregular walls up
to four feet high by a hundred long formed of loosely piled rocks.
With no apparent use or purpose. Upside down desert varnish
suggests human origins. Classic punched oilcan artifacts and
machine marks suggest a CCC origin. Along rather than cross
N 32.95126 W 109.80710
CORONADO AND KEARNY -- Historians like to argue about
these historic exploratory routes through the Gila Valley. Coronado
most likely came up Tres Alamos wash, crossed Eagle Pass on the
Klondyke road, entered the Safford valley and headed north.
Kearny's route was basically down the Gila River, dragging two
useless howitzers with him.
Tres Alamos N 32.06139 W 110.23208
Eagle Pass near N 32.80962 W 110.17981 ?
BURMA ROAD BRIDGE -- Now inaccessible due to spectacular
flood damage. But in gentle times, the reach of the Gila here offers
shady hiking, picnicking, exploration, and even kiddy wading. Easily
looped during low water times. Extremely dangerous otherwise!
N 32.83225 W 109.17938
PIMA MUSEUM -- Has an excellent and definitive collection of
tramway photos, along with many agricultural artifacts. Limited hours,
so phone first. Do not confuse with the also superb but much larger
Pima air and space Museum in Tucson
Local Pima Museum N 32.89649 W 109.82751
Tucson Pima Air and Space Museum N 32.13899 W 110.86683
NEEDLE'S EYE-- The most spectacular part of the Gila River
Canyon below Coolidge Dam. Very difficult access. Escabrosa
Limestone cave potential is largely unexplored here. Off res,
but a permit is likely needed to get there.
N 33.13557 W 110.58930
MID BONITA ACCESS -- A very steep ( 4WD low range with
granny ONLY! ) track drops you into the middle of Bonita Creek.
Outstanding riparian, flowing stream, rarely visited picnic areas,
kiddy puddling. Plus routes to even more remote areas. Sometimes
called the Lee Trail.
N 32.95502 W 109.53220
FRYE MESA RESERVOIR -- Small fishing lake and dam has
nearby tinajas, waterfalls, canyoneering, and riparian access.
Road quality may vary. Ropework recommended a quarter mile
N 32.75371 W 109.83403
GRAHAM COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY-- Most of their
exhibits are now in storage because of the rebuilding of Thatcher
middle school. A few artifacts are available at Discovery Park.
Meetings sometimes at Circle D Ranch
N 32.79614 W 109.72672
MARKHAM CREEK -- Remote perennial stream in the Gila
Mountains offers ruins, riparian reaches, narrows, springs, more.
Note that upper and lower 4WD tracks do not directly connect!
N 33.05104 W 109.78612
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 211-225:||
MILLS COLLECTION -- Definitive and spectacular but poorly
organized and interpreted local prehistoric collection of pottery,
basketry, and similar artifacts is haphazardly scattered hither and
yon in the EAC student services building. Study area newly open to
serious researchers Free access.
Student services building exhibits N 32.84382 W 109.76242
Professional study area N 32.79891 W 109.72781
APPLE ANNIE'S -- Largest and best of the Bonita Road U-Pick
farms is well suited to family excursions with smaller children.
Can be extremely crowded. Also can be expensive. Check out
the amazing maize maze. ( Maze may have been discontinued )
Orchard N 32.35357 W 109.86473
Produce & Pumpkins N 32.38289 W 109.93112
COLTER SPRING TRAIL -- Topo Maps show a jeep trail from the
76 ranch clear north to Taylor Pass. I'm not sure of the present access
N 32.68161 W 110.01785
N 32.73563 W 110.01215
FREEMAN FLAT -- Very close in area is an offroad favorite.
Includes erosional canyons, ruins, grids, mulch rings, and old
CCC water diversion projects. Some "hidden" ones have quite
N 32.79673 W 109.74367
FIRE LOOKOUTS -- These are seeing less and less use and many
are an endangered species. Local Mt. Graham examples are CCC
built Heliograph, Webb, and West Peaks. Next closest are Rose
Peak on the Apache and Signal Peak on the Tonto, Sugarloaf
and Barfoot ( recently burned ) in the Chirachuas. Plus
harder-to-reach Silver Peak ( now demolished ) and Monte
Vista. A superb guidebook can be found here.
Heliograph N 32.65011 W 109.84881
Webb N 32.71162 W 109.92284
West Peak N 32.73751 W 110.03875
Rose Peak N 33.43986 W 109.37069
Signal Peak N 33.29273 W 110.83835
Sugarloaf N 32.01408 W 109.32490
Silver Peak N 31.90587 W 109.19924
Monte Vista N 31.82507 W 109.31524
MESCAL CRACK LINEAMENTS -- Lineaments are cave like
but open earth cracks often orthogonal to a geologic fault. These
rare limestone examples are found on this map. . One is "in the
saddle". Another is "down the hill" to the south.
near N 33.16482 W 110.70876
near N 33.16333 W 110.70946
WEST PEAK -- The road becomes quite steep just before reaching
the lookout tower and extends as 4WD to Government Spring. The
area around Dry Lake makes for nice unimproved summer camping
in tall pines.
Dry Lake N 32.75346 W 110.05180
West Peak N 32.73765 W 110.03785
Government Spring N 32.74116 W 110.02618
BED & BREAKFAST -- Somewhat local places include the Olney
House, Black Rock Ranch, and Hooker Hot Springs ( Muleshoe ).
Further afield is the superb Casitas de Gila in Cliff and older Bear
Mountain Lodge in Silver City. Newly opened is the very remote
Q Ranch. Los Olmos may be recently reopened in Glenwood.
Our favorite remains Black Range Lodge in Kingston. Of many
Greer sites, we found Snowy Mountain to be of interest. Great hot
tubs, but their restaurant may be closed and property sold at auction..
Rodeo has a new Casa Adobe. Paradise has the George Walker
house. Pricey but impressive is Sunglow Ranch And, of course,
Hannigan Meadow has Hannigan Meadow.
Olney House N 32.82738 W 109.71155
Hooker Muleshoe N 32.33830 W 110.24022
Casitas de Gila N 32.79888 W 109.72820
Bear Mountain Lodge N 32.81555 W 108.30964
Q Ranch N 34.07127 W 110.79993
Snowy Mountain N 34.05902 W 109.45777
Black Range N 32.91625 W 107.71001
Casa Adobe N 31.83354 W 109.03276
George Walker N 31.93512 W 109.21905
Hannigan Meadow. N 33.63952 W 109.32759
Los Olmnos N 33.32025 W 108.88214
Sunglow Ranch N 31.85077 W 109.42214
THUMB BUTTE -- Cliffs near the Black Hills rockhound area are
often used for rappelling practice and rescue training. Do NOT
attempt this without a qualified instructor, proper gear, and safety
N 32.85996 W 109.38195
GEOCACHING -- These high tech GPS based scavenger hunts
have become quite popular. There are hundreds of local sites and
you are welcome to add your own. But Discovery Park remains
off limits due to vandalism.
SPRING CANYON -- Area near the P ranch is rumored to be the
site of an early historic ( and possibly prehistoric ) canal and water
management system. Adjacent Veech Canyon offers impressive
Spring Canyon N 32.64882 W 109.75763
Veech Canyon N 32.63856 W 109.74574
ARIVAIPA PRESERVE -- 7000 Acre holding that is hosted by the
Nature Conservancy east of and adjacent to the main canyon. No
camping, offroad travel, or picnicking, but hiking and photography is
apparently allowed by prearrangement. Rustic meeting facilities
are sometimes available.
N 32.89374 W 110.41292
TINAJAS - Natural rock basins made famous by Ed Abbey make for
superb swimming and wading holes. The easiest to reach are Frye
Mesa Falls. Best on the mountain are in Upper Marijilda just below
Round the Mountain crossing. Most difficult are in Grant Creek.
Others are in Deadman, Shingle Mill, Adams Flat, etc.-- Further afield
legendary tinajas are found below Oak Flat ( endangered! ) and in
West Clear Creek. My secret remote favorites include Paige Creek
and Espiritu Canyon.
Frye Mesa N 32.74517 W 109.83710
Upper Marijilda N 32.68482 W 109.81136
Grant Creek N 32.67016 W 109.91033
Deadman N 32.72759 W 109.82077
Shingle Mill N 32.77294 W 109.90639
Adams Flat N 32.65672 W 109.79773
Oak Flat N 33.30356 W 111.03442
West Clear Creek N 34.55527 W 111.54775
Paige Creek N 32.21385 W 110.39826
Espiritu Canyon N 32.30609 W 110.48513
VOLUNTEER WORK - Both BLM and CNF have formal and
informal programs such as trail building, site hosting, and such.
Other possibilities might include State Parks, Search & Rescue,
Game & Fish, Nature Conservancy or the Sierra Club.
Both CNF and BLM are at N 32.83200 W 109.72410
CAVES AND CAVING - There's not much local limestone, so
most of this is out of the immediate area. Contact ARA, CAG,
EGI, CCC, MMCC, or the national NSS for further info.
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 226-240:||
THE LAST SAGUARO? -- Sonoran Desert Saguaro Cactus
forests are readily found on the res, around Pima Box or near
Oliver Knoll. But where is the easternmost native individual
Pima Box N 33.06978 W 109.93902
Oliver Knoll N 33.06173 W 109.84675
EAGLE CREEK -- Long all day hike or difficult 4WD trip to a
spectacular riparian wet stream area that includes shelter bat
caves, hot springs, lost treasure lore, swimming, and impressive
cliffs. F-M permit recommended.
N 32.98280 W 109.40505
BEAR SPRINGS FLAT -- Elaborate abandoned canal system
attempted to deliver artesian water to large and remote desert
earthen dam tanks. Apparently failed with dropping water tables.
Certainly overoptimistic, possibly a scam. Not very scenic.
N 32.87139 W 109.93338
AREA GEOLOGY -- You will find a wide variety of sedentary,
metaphoric and ingeneous rocks. The Pliocene is well represented
in fossils from Glyptodonts to Camels. Heavy mineralization to
the north produces copper, silver and even gold. But the Grahams
themselves are ancient Precambrian Gneiss and Granite and thus
largely unmineralized. Shelter caves abound, but more significant
ones are minor and scarce, owing to very little local limestone of
isolated occurrence. A number of zeolite mines remain in the San
Simon valley area. Geothermal springs are common. Highly
unusual minerals were often found in the Klondyke area.
3 ENTRANCE & 5 ENTRANCE CAVES -- A "Swiss cheese"
limestone cliff just above the river is fun to explore but has no
known depth. Ropework and climbing skills required plus proper
N 33.12434 W 109.28181
ASH CREEK FALLS -- Highest on the mountain at over 100 feet,
but more of a cascade than a true falls. Hard to photograph. Site
of the one time logging flumes. Other falls are in Grant Creek,
Frye Mesa, etc....
Ash Creek N 32.72962 W 109.89359
Grant Creek N 32.67014 W 109.91015
Frye Mesa N 32.74547 W 109.83728
OAK CREEK & HIGH CREEK -- Additional 4WD routes give
eastern access to the Galiuros between Ash Creek and Paddy's
River. Mostly riparian and oak woodland.
Oak Creek N 32.53088 W 110.25706
High Creek N 32.58058 W 110.26307
OLD CLIFTON-- Part ghost town, part economic disaster, part
emerging arts and crafts enclave, the original Clifton business
district has bunches of old and odd buildings ( and inhabitants! )
to explore. "Colors of Copper" art and wine show appears to now
be an annual November event.
N 33.05628 W 109.30258
STREAM GAUGES-- These real time reports of both local and
regional water flow can end up most useful for determining
4WD access ease, swimmability, white water class, and general
trip planning. Local gauges are on the Gila, San Francisco,
Eagle Creek, Bonita Creek, Frye Mesa, San Carlos, etc..
Many gauges are endangered and may shortly be discontinued.
PUMPING PLANT -- Elaborate water exchange scheme starts
by transferring water from Blue Ridge to Horseshoe, along with
Black River pumping to Willow Creek. Then a 51 mile journey to
become Morenci water. Eagle Creek above the pumping plant is
seldom explored. F-M permit recommended.
N 33.05991 W 109.43884
FISHING -- Popular local spots include Roper Lake, Cluff ponds,
Frye Mesa, Riggs Lake, and San Carlos Resovoir. Native trout
are in some Mt. Graham streams, and legendary catfish supposedly
in secret Gila River pools near Ft. Thomas. Also Fisherman's
Point just into New Mexico. Some smaller tanks on and off res may
also be stocked.
Roper N 32.75522 W 109.70487
Cluff N 32.80511 W 109.86180
Frye N 32.75371 W 109.83403
Riggs N 32.70784 W 109.96514
San Carlos N 33.18140 W 110.51022
Fisherman's Point N 32.63196 W 108.85475
GEOLOGICAL ROAD LOGS -- Can make for some very interesting
shorter and easier trips. Such as these interesting three examples from
the Friends of the Pleistocene.
"CAVE IN A MINE" -- A horizontal mine shaft above and west
of Morenci Crystal cave broke through into a rather short Escabrosa
Limestone void. Other "cave mine caves" exist elsewhere in the
N 33.16691 W 109.38425
LONGVIEW SITE -- Mid sized and heavily pothunted classic ruin
exhibits evidence of exceptional trading activity. Check dams and
aprons in the vicinity.
AMERIND FOUNDATION -- Museum and archaeological research
facility noted for both the quality and controversy of their work. Also
has authentic southwestern Indian craft sales. Triangle T B&B nearby.
N 32.04534 W 110.07918
"RINGCONE" TANK -- The name likely started out as "Rincon".
Makes for an interesting winter offtrail hike destination via either
Cottonwood Wash or Goat hill Trail.
N 32.81559 W 109.89691
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 241-255:||
SERNA CABIN-- BLM restored historical structure at the mouth
of Bonita Creek is on the Cottonwood Trail. Kearney monument is
in the area. Often superb swimming nearby in the Gila.
N 32.89405 W 109.47951
ROBINSON DITCH -- Yet Another cliffhanging canal along the
edge of a steep mesa. Pioneers likely "stole the plans" from an
existing prehistoric ag development. There is also a pair of unusual
CCC dam projects along the cowpath access route.
N 32.75996 W 109.81145
N 32.77267 W 109.79665
N 32.79374 W 109.79184
N 32.80254 W 109.78917
THE HOT WELL IN HOT WELL DRAW -- Old maps show this as
artesian. Now dry as a bone following a succession of small, medium,
and large windmills, and medium, large, and huge pump derelicts.
N 32.66049 W 109.24137
COTTON GIN TOURS -- Long staple Pima cotton was one of the
secret weapons of World War II. Ginning season is often from
October through December. Always phone ahead to (928) 428-0714
( Safford ) or (928) 485-9255 ( Glenbar ) for free tour info.
Safford N 32.83016 W 109.70560
Glenbar N 32.91776 W 109.86750
NEWSPAPER ROCK -- One of the more significant local petroglyph
sites. South of the Mackenzie River.
AIRPLANE CRASH SITES -- I've yet to visit any of these, but a
few details appear here, here, and here. A B-24 bomber off of
Bassett peak in the Galuiros, a navy N3N Canary well off of
Heliograph, a F-16A Falcon in the Whitlocks, a PB4Y2 ( navy
B-24 ) large air tanker somewhere in the Grahams, a second B-24
crash southeast of Wilcox, and a more recent SEAT air tanker off
the Back Canyon Byway.
CHECK DAMS WITH APRONS -- Prehistoric ag features South
of Longview seem totally different than others in the area. Some
have splash aprons, others a full downstream double retainment.
Size suggests plant nurseries.
N 32.77798 W 109.76549
SUNSET LOOP -- Dirt roads west of Bonita define the upper
Sulphur Springs Valley and give access to Eastern Galuiro
hiking, horse, and 4WD trails. Plus Basset Peak. Also a "high
lonesome" mountain biking loop. No services.
N 32.51043 W 110.16237
N 32.53778 W 110.20408
N 32.55760 W 110.11774
LEDFORD FIELDS-- Yet another "off the bajada" prehistoric ag
water development. At least 31 of these canal systems are known,
at least one for each perennial stream off the northeast slopes of
the Grahams. Many miles of total length combined with engineering
N 32.68285 W 109.74418
COAL CREEK -- The last campground on AZ 78 near the New
Mexico border often sees little use. Coal Creek itself usually offers
intermittent pools in an ever deepening canyon.
Campground N 33.10320 W 109.06043
Canyon N 33.12222 W 109.07501
GREEN'S SPRING -- Reasonably reliable water near the 4WD
limit of the Shingle Mill Canyon road. Larger canyon pools are
sometimes full and third tramway tension station is nearby.
N 32.77380 W 109.90577
RED KNOLLS ANNEX -- There is a second set of mudstone
pseudokarst pits in the cliffs half a mile SSE of the Red Knolls
Amphitheater proper. Aerial photos show more but much harder-
to-reach cliffs even further south and east. I once encountered
an all white ( and very pissed ) large owl here.
N 32.95409 W 109.94203
THE THREE WAY SWITCH -- Somebody went to a lot of trouble
to route a canal along the HIGHEST point of a long ridge to a
three-way diversion to Porter Springs and both Deadman tanks.
Is it in fact prehistoric? Similar constructs and technology in nearby
canyons strongly suggest so. More here.
N 32.76067 W 109.78131
NEEDLE'S EYE TUNNEL- A volcanic piton was bored through
when the Mule Creek road ( Arizona 78 ) was first built. You can
find an image here and a thumbnail here. Sadly, nearly the
entire piton was destroyed on a later paving and expansion and
only a vague fragment remains on this spectacular and extremely
challenging bicycling route . For a while there, this might have
been the world's shortest tunnel!
ALBERTO'S SIGNATURE -- Some of the CCC diversion dams
show exceptional stone masonry work. Alberto deeply incised his
using this rock monument.
near N 32.79618 W 109.75381 ?
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 256-270:||
"HUM ON THE DESERT" -- Enigmatic "lopeing generator"
sounds are heard by some in the Desert Southwest. Myself
included. With no generally acceptable explanation. These
could be real or variations on tinnitus or individuals that have
exceptional infrasonic capabilities. Meanwhile, the classic
southwestern sounds of coyote pup yip yarfs, the call of the
canyon wren, and the creaking and groaning of an Aeromotor
windmill should be lovingly cherished.
GIMEE'S-- The best and most secret restaurant on the the Salsa
Trail is cleverly hidden in downtown York between the theater and
industrial districts on the loop thruway bypass. The website seems to
N 32.91862 W 109.19731
TWO REMOTE CCC DAMS -- Viewable to the east of the mesa
edge 0.8 miles northeast of the junction of Deadman Canyon Road
and the Lower Frye Creek Road. A locale frequently bypassed by
the casual tourist.
N 32.76588 W 109.79011
WEBSTER CIENEGAS -- Long term drought has left these artesian
pools smaller, shallower, and fewer than before. Between and east
of the Cemetery and the Central Wash Detention Dam. Be sure to
Avoid driving anywhere wet!
N 32.85217 W 109.79769
GILLARD HOT SPRING -- One of the hottest anywhere at 180
degrees. Mixes rapidly with the cooler Gila River.
N 32.97293 W 109.35041
TRAIN BOOKS -- Myrick's Railroads of Arizona volumes II
and ( especially ) III include all sorts of exploration and dayhike
possibilities. Finding the cover photo of volume III is apparently
tricky. This is probably 5 miles north of Duncan and can be best
approached cross river from the east.
near N 32.77487 W 109.17215 ?
SULPHUR SPRINGS -- These appear to be long gone, despite
being the namesake of the largest geographical area feature of
southeastern Arizona. Probable location was the topo map place
name one mile SW of Kansas Settlement. Or perhaps another
two miles or so further SSW. Or even one north of I-10. Some
Fascinating water info can be found here.
near N 32.00704 W 109.73166 ?
THE ORANGE CLIFFS -- 4WD Caliche trail off the Bull Gap
road gives impressive views of the Gila Box below the actual
Camelsback area. Direct river access is difficult but possible.
Some mining artifacts may remain.
N 32.91979 W 109.46448
PREHISTORIC BAJADA AG -- Many southern mesas host
prehistoric artifacts and structures. These now include grids,
hanging canals, aproned check dams, mulch rings, habitation
sites, and even world class aqueducts. Some of these are
confused by later pioneer and CCC rebuilds and overlays. A
master survey is underway. Please report any odd or obscure
findings. An early paper appears here.
THREE TEMPLE TOURS -- Visits may remain available to all
three of those new Gila Valley Temples located in Central in
Artesia, and in Apache Grove. Decorum and dress code are
strictly enforced. A fourth possibility might be Diamond Mountain
Central N 32.86295 W 109.78993
Artesia N 32.69936 W 109.67824
Apache Grove N 32.90702 W 108.99842
Diamond Mountain N 32.13986 W 109.42699
EASTERNMOST SAGUARO II -- Latest candidates are off the
lower Frye Creek road. But these may be hugely tall Barrel Cacti
instead. Interesting mid-sized CCC dam rebuilds are also in the
area. Please email your saguaro sightings.
N 32.77151 W 109.79512
GOLF COURSE RUIN -- Highly trashed and baldly pothunted
habitation site is further threatened by close and imminent
SMITH DAM --On Jacobson Creek, a seasonal wet stream just
off the "serious" start of the Swift Trail. Access track is extremely
rocky and demands very high clearance. Best park elsewhere.
N 32.68490 W 109.76183
BEAR SPRINGS KNOLL -- Seldom traveled 4wd track passes
"badlands" overlooks, then drops to artesian warm springs in the
valley floor. Not sure how the recent drought has treated these.
N 32.84455 W 109.96323
MORE CLIFF HANGING CANALS! -- At leas 31 of these
world class prehistoric features are currently known. With total
lengths now apparently over EIGHTY kilometers! Some flow
to this day, while the fill in others makes for ideal hiking. But
most access is difficult. Additional detail here.
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 271-285:||
TOOLS AND RESOURCES -- Your foremost tool for local
exploration is Acme Mapper on the web. Which has just improved
its best local resolution. And helped along by Google Maps and
Google Earth. Should you get serious about exploring really
difficult terrain, check out the Draganfly. And learn KML.
THE ALLEN CANAL -- One of many of the prehistoric hanging
canals and may extend more than eight miles! Its purpose remains
enigmatic. Starts at Spring Canyon and may end in the Central
Bottomlands. Includes the extremely impressive Culebra Cut.
N 32.74388 W 109.83951
N 32.78239 W 109.83531
N 32.81156 W 109.81154
N 32.83565 W 109.79809
N 32.83257 W 109.80483
EVEN MORE CCC PROJECTS -- Several mid-size dams and
water control structures appear slightly south of and somewhat
west of "the split Y" in West Layton Road.
N 32.82725 W 109.82918
DEADMAN FALLS -- These two locations demand major bush
whacking in heavy brush off the main Deadman trail. Ideal for
hikers who bring along their own catclaw, just in case there is not
enough along the route. Steep and often dry..
N 32.72759 W 109.82077
N 32.73250 W 109.81635
OLD SPRING CANYON NATURE TRAIL -- Quarter mile trail or
half mile loop is still easily followed but apparently is no longer
maintained. Just west of the low point of the Frye Mesa road.
N 32.78396 W 109.82909
R/C AIRCRAFT MODEL FIELD -- Newly added to the existing rifle
ranges, targets, archery, and such in the Dry Lake area south of the
N 32.83878 W 109.65850
JERNIGAN PREHISTORIC CANAL -- Makes a quarter mile "U" loop
hung on the side of a small mesa. Ends in a French Drain structure that
feeds ancient fields. Part of the Mud Springs Bajada canal system.
N 32.82756 W 109.81946
N 32.84092 W 109.81265
N 32.84158 W 109.81661
AUCTIONS -- Yeah, these might push the envelope of a "dayhike"
somewhat, but they certainly can be a trip and offer many opportunities.
Our closest major auctioneer is Bruce Tingle and high profile local
auctions involve EAC, Graham County, and the State Fairgrounds.
Charles Dickerson usually handles the Morenci Mine and some farm
auctions. There are also numerous storage auctions and yard sales,
with the Courier being a useful resource. Much more here.
CIENEGAS -- Spring driven marshes once formed major local
water sources, but very few examples remain and many of these
are dry or rapidly drying up. Examples include Artesia, Roper
Lake, Cluff Ponds, Dankworth, Golf Course, Allen Reservoir (?),
Thatcher Yard, Webster, and a few small and scattered tanks.
N 32.85027 W 109.78936
N 32.85204 W 109.79623
N 32.80251 W 109.78089
N 32.79580 W 109.78568
WILDFLOWERS -- Vary with the season and particularly with
the spring rains, but this year has been at least a forty year peak.
There's little advance warning of major displays. In a small area
this fall, there were over FIFTY BILLION yellow lemonweed
MUD SPRINGS BAJADA CANAL -- Possibly the most highly
engineered variant on the prehistoric hanging canals. And
possibly the earliest. Routes Ash Creek water "up" over the
bajada and delivers it far to the north."Side drain" option may
be for flood control or mud removal.
N 32.79161 W 109.85359
N 32.82757 W 109.81947
N 32.84240 W 109.81055
N 32.84798 W 109.81105
THE LOGGING FLUMES -- A series of flumes were built in Ash
Creek from the 1880's onward. These were largely failures and
eventually got replaced by the tramway in Shingle Mill canyon.
While excellent photos remain in the Pima Museum, only a rare
and occasional loose board remains on site. Difficult access.
Believed once near N 32.73206 W 109.89134
Pima Museum at N 32.89646 W 109.82752
BIRDING -- The "best" birding areas in Arizona are usually the
Huachuchas and Chirachauas. But, as this out of print guide suggests,
Graham County can hold its own. Good local spots include the Thatcher
Sewer Ponds, the Watchable Wildlife Platform, and the Spring
Canyon near the Mesquite Bosque. Our classiest local bird is
the Great Blue Heron.
N 32.86402 W 109.76731
N 32.89622 W 109.48128
N 32.89473 W 109.50175
"THE WALL" -- Popular party location near the end of the FS 861
"road to nowhere". Competes with Clay Knolls and the Blue Ponds.
N 32.68139 W 109.78476
BANDOLIER SITE -- Short but deep riverine prehistoric canal and
related ag fields in the Eden area
N 32.94534 W 109.91163.
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 286-300:||
HELIOGRAPH LOCATIONS -- While Heliograph Peak was
the most obvious, there were over 50 Solar Communications
stations in the 1890's. Grandview Peak to Mount Ord did set
distance record of over 100 miles. The Fort Huachucha link was
was almost as long. Per this report.
N 32.65000 W 109.84897
LOCAL FOSSILS -- I know of no major and public accessible
local fossil gathering sites. Part of the problem is that Mississippian
limestone deposits are few and far between. But the Pliocene is
well represented with such megafauna sites as the 111 Ranch,
the San Pedro Glyptodont site, and the Dead Camel Place.
Your best access to these locations is as a BLM Volunteer.
N 32.83189 W 109.72415
N 32.71805 W 109.47681
N 32.60909 W 109.56354
APACHE PASS -- Site of a Butterfield Stage Station and an Apache
skirmish that created the perceived need for Fort Bowie. A small
spring was the crucial resource.
N 32.15206 W 109.48130
PREHISTORIC SITES -- The Gila Valley has an amazingly
rich and world class prehistory. Including nearly fifty miles (!)
of mountain stream fed canals, tens of thousands (!) of ag
grids, lowland river canals, aqueducts.(!), mulch rings, and check
dams. Plus numerous habitation sites that include Marijilda,
Goat Hill, Spear Ranch, Golf Course, Beer Bottle, McEuen,
Lebanon, Sixpack, Owens-Colvin, Deval, Longview, and
and Turkey Creek. Some details on ongoing research for
which field mice are desperately needed can be found here.
SWMMING -- The safest and sanest swimming in the Gila
Valley would likely remain the Safford, Pima, and (sometimes)
EAC pools. Useful wilder locations might include Cluff Ponds,
Roper Lake, San Carlos Reservoir, portions of the Gila,
especially near Spring Canyon, the San Francisco river a few
miles above Clifton, little known Fisherman's Point, and possibly
the hard-to-access San Carlos Falls area. Best wildland kiddie
wading remains the Wet Canyon arm of Jacobson canyon, with
Marijilda Canyon, Round the Mountain tinajas, and Frye Mesa
Falls useful seconds.
Safford N 32.83375 W 109.71939
Pima N 32.89012 W 109.82450
Thatcher Splash N 32.83464 W 109.76309
Cluff Ponds N 32.80511 W 109.86180
Roper Lake N 32.75522 W 109.70487
San Carlos Lake N 33.18140 W 110.51022
Fisherman's Point N 32.63196 W 108.85475
San Carlos Falls N 33.43966 W 110.27326
Wet Canyon N 32.65122 W 109.81300
Spring Canyon N 32.88705 W 109.49749
Marijilda N 32.69925 W 109.78810
Round the Mountain N 32.68482 W 109.81136
Frye Mesa Falls N 32.74517 W 109.83710
THE "BLACK HOLE OF CENTRAL" -- 3000 foot square has three
prehistoric canals going in and at least two coming back out. Without
a trace of anything inside. One map here.
N 32.83476 W 109.81553
PIONEER DAYS -- Quasi religious event usually happens in late
July and alternates between Safford, Thatcher, and Pima. Parades,
food, fireworks, competitions, shows. Also check out the Daley
Estates National Night Out, usually held in early August in their park.
Daley Estates park a t N 32.80148 W 109.76641
HISTORIC SITES -- Your best starting points should always
be the Graham County Historical Society and the Pima Museum.
Sites of interest include the CCC Camp, the Power's
Garden shootout site, the "shame of Pima" Wham Paymaster
robbery location, the Olney House, the Battle Mountain skirmish
track, the Old Clifton district, the Aravapia ghost town ( access
may be limited ), the Emigrant Canyon marble quarry, Fort
Bowie, the Morenci Southern Railroad loops, the Montez and
Weech toll roads, Serna Cabin, Solomonville's Gila Valley
Bank, and, of course, the Mount Graham Tramway.
See locations elsewhere in this directory.
MONDO CCC BOONDOGGLE -- Half a mile SSE of the fork
in West Layton Road. Dozens of huge canals, spectacularly failed
dams, fancy rockwork, and bunches more. The prehistoric Mud
Springs canal runs through the middle of all this grunge.
N 32.82266 W 109.82466
NEW LOCAL BLM WEB PAGES -- Can be found here, here, here,
and here. Lots of maps and free handouts at the office.
Safford Office at N 32.83197 W 109.72407
EVEN MORE CCC PROJECTS -- Hidden in a seldom visited area
southwest of Thatcher International Airport and south of the back
trail to Mud Springs. A curious mix of hard-to-find check dams
( some with aprons; others with layered masonry ) combined with
mysterious huge field-bordering rockpiles. The prehistoric Allen
Canal also traverses the area.
Many near N 32.78957 W 109.83068
LEGENDARY CATFISH -- Not sure if this is urban lore or not, but
there are consistent rumors of three and four foot long catfish that
lurking in "secret" Gila pools north and west of Fort Thomas. The
San Carlos Lake record for a Flathead Catfish is a "fair to middlin"
Near N 33.05049 W 109.97402 ?
GEOCACHING CONFLUENCE -- GPS enthusiasts seem
to get off on pinning down only those exact whole number lat-lon
locations. Our nearest candidate is 33 degrees north and 110
degrees west in unexceptional flat desert somewhat southeast of
Fort Thomas. BTW, my own preferred GPS handheld is a Garmin
eTrex. This has proven most useful for our Prehistoric Canal work.
N 33.00000 W110.00000 etc.
CANAL TAKEINS -- These are popular as party, swimming,
picnicking, and ( sometimes ) fishing locations. The Safford
diversion dam is at the northeast end of San Jose road. The
comparable Thatcher one centers on the "banana farm scam"
a mile east of the northern end of First Street. Rare sightings
of beavers and Texas softshell turtles are sometimes seen.
San Jose N 32.86137 W 109.54412
Thatcher N 32.85966 W 109.74302
MOUNT GRAHAM SAWMILLS -- There were many of these
and most are hard to pin down. Best known is in Ash Creek
south of Old Columbine, which was also the head of both the
tramway and the flume. Others were in Fort Grant, Frye Canyon,
Gibson, Nuttall Canyon, Blair Canyon, Tripp Canyon, Sawmill
Canyon, Taylor Canyon, Shingle Mill Canyon, Jacobson
Canyon above Cluff Dairy, Carter Canyon, and elsewhere.
There are very few remains at most sites.
Ash Creek N 32.71895 W 109.90516
Shingle Mill N 32.75036 W 109.91554 ?
Carter N 32.74390 W 109.99472
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 301-315:||
MYSTERY MESA -- This aerial map shows a mesa top that
appears to have an inaccessible thumper loop, many CCC water
control structures, and possibly some prehistoric ruins and ag
constructs. What is really there? Some of this area may be within
mine boundaries and may end up restricted.
N 32.86302 109.57016
FIRE DEPARTMENT TOURS -- The Safford, Thatcher, and
Pima Fire Departments sometimes offer free informal tours of
their equipment and capabilities. Early Tuesday nights are
typically the most convenient. Thatcher is especially proud of
their new 85 foot aerial platform. And Safford has a pair of new
Safford N 32.83246 W 109.71519
Thatcher N 32.85003 W 109.76132
Pima N 32.89469 W 109.83186
CHIRACHUA NATIONAL MONUMENT -- Wonderland of
Rhyolite rocks offers superb hiking, camping, vistas, and historic
tours. Scheduled shuttles simplify longer hikes. Nearest services
are Willcox. Over-the-mountain route to Portal is difficult and
tedious but spectacular.
N 32.00466 W 109.35837
RESERVATION LINE CAVE -- Minor mineshaft-like cave in
Escabrosa Limestone is half a mile NNE of Grantham Cave.
Other very small caves in area include Al's Hip Pocket and a few
others. Area is still not yet fully explored by Arizona Cavers.
MORE GRIDS? -- The main collection of many tens of thousands
of prehistoric agricultural grids are well northwest of Safford, and
many dozens more exist spread out to the South. But this document
suggests yet others in the area that may or may not still
Such as N 32.93309 W 109.82023
KENNEDY FALLS -- Not sure what is in this riparian canyon north
off the Bonita-Klondyke road that may include an intermittent stream.
The two 4WD tracks may or may not loop.
N 32.76452 W 110.18162
MUD SPRINGS CROSSOVER -- The prehistoric Mud Springs
hanging canal starts in Ash Creek and works its way through a
saddle "up" into the Mud Springs bajada, before extending
( and splitting and "climbing" ) some seven miles further. The
crossover is amazingly optimum, taking place in a narrow window
of opportunity at the lowest possible altitude and shortest distance.
This is clearly stone age engineering beyond world class.
N 32.79151 W 109.85375
ADAM'S CAVE -- Fewke's 1897 Archaeological Report gives
credible details on an apparently "lost" shelter cave somewhere
between Thatcher and the sawmill in Frye Canyon. Possibly this
was the "cave" that Cave Canyon was named after. No location
details seem to survive.
HENRY'S CANAL -- Yet another new discovery in the ongoing
prehistoric hanging canal series. This appears to be Marijilda
sourced and has some lower hanging portions along with some
significant cuts, is about a mile south of Lebanon Reservoir #2,
and over three miles long. Sourcing remains untraced, and this
might have been an earlier canal replaced by a major hanging
N 32.73712 W 109.74230
N 32.74563 W 109.72641
BIRDWATCHING TOWER -- Newly added to the Thatcher
Sewer Ponds to give elevated views and gives you a stable and
unobstructed platform for photography. Also do check out the
treetop BLM Watchable Wildlife Platform.
Tower N 32.86402 W 109.76730
Watchable N 32.89622 W 109.48129
HONEYMOON CAMPGROUND -- Superb and very remote site
near the upper end of flowing Eagle Creek. Entire area is seldom
explored. Wolf packs nearby.
N 33.47546 W 109.48072
SHINGLE MILL CANAL -- Newly "rediscovered" and appears
to be an anglo rework of one of dozens of world class prehistoric
water projects designed to exploit virtually every drop of available
Mount Graham water. The name of the rework is the Minor
Webster Ditch System.
N 32.79793 W 109.87258
N 32.81103 W 109.86726
CORONADO TRAIL -- Yeah, US 191 ( old 666 ) is long and urpey
north of Cliffton. And going around three sides of a square into New
Mexico can be much faster. But the scenery is superb in this remote
area. A favorite of motorcycle tours, while Hannigan to Rose Peak
makes a really nice mountain or touring bicycle trip. No services.
Hannigan N 33.63939 W 109.32714
Rose Peak N 33.44021 W 109.37486
AERIAL PHOTO PATERNS -- Acme Mapper can be your foremost
tool to explore little known areas. Be especially on the lookout for things
that do not look "natural" Such as these areas. But note that their
Google watermarking can deceive you into thinking you are looking at
something real. What ( if anything ) is really here?
FREE AREA LECTURES --Discovery Park has a free lecture series
every second Saturday night in the Jupiter Room during fall and
spring sessions. Topics include history, prehistory, hiking, eBay,
energy, travel, heliographs, historic photography, and bunches more.
Also checkout BLM's brown bag lectures, which sometimes are noon on
Discovery Park: N 32.79894 W 109.72817
BLM Safford: N 32.83179 W 109.72413
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 316-330:||
CLUFF RESERVOIR #3 -- Largest and southernmost of the Cluff
Ponds facilities is a local favorite for fishing and swimming. Includes
dam and boat launching dock.
N 32.80511 W 109.86180
GRANVILLE RECREATION AREA -- Just into the trees on the
Coronado Trail north of Cliffton and easily combined with a Morenci
Crystal Cave trip.
N 33.18728 W 109.38321
CLAY KNOLLS - Illicit teenybopper party site can be extremely
popular and also sees a lot of ATV and 4-wheeler use. Some
unusual desert plants are in area. Further east is a superb and
hassle free place to watch 4th of July fireworks.
N 32.79273 W 109.72323
BETTER MAPS & AERIAL PHOTOS -- Google Maps, which are
also used by Acme Mapper just got a lot better and a lot newer
over much of Southeastern Arizona. From Artesia to Portal and
the NM line to the San Pedro.
HILLTOP MINE -- One mineshaft here went all the way through
the mountain, and kids would ride ore cars through it to get to
school. Very rough 4WD tracks are better hiked. Hands Pass
area in upper East Whitetail canyon. Also reached via North
Fork of Pinery Canyon. Topo shows this as the Kasper Tunnel.
N 31.98535 W 109.29023
ALLEN DAM FAILURE -- It is hard to find much useful info on
this spectacular local dam collapse. Apparently it was built by the
SCS in the 1930's and its overflow was ( possibly intentionally )
clogged in the 1950's. Failure was in the late 1960's. Water source
may have been either a cienega or a prehistoric canal. Both are
now quite dry. Urban lore has water skiing here!
N 32.83337 W 109.79366
CORONADO VINYARDS -- Once was the finest restaurant in
Southeastern Arizona, but newly converted to a superb tapas
and wine lounge. Also wine tasting, grape stomps, music, and
unique scheduled events. South of the easternmost Willcox
I-10 exit. Verify website for current hours.
N 32.30329 W 109.79052
PORTAL -- Small community and fire camp gives spectacular
eastern access to the Chirachuas. Fine camping, trogons, caves,
hamburgers, falls, trails, and a research institution newly opened
as a bed and breakfast on space available. Nearby Paradise
townsite offers a birding bed and breakfast and a historic cave.
N 31.91399 W 109.14126
BLODDY RUN AMBUSH -- Location of the Wham Paymaster
Robbery, aka the "Shame of Pima". Near the Cottonwood
Canyon area of the Klondyke Road. A short summary here
and the definitive book here.
N 32.83402 W 110.12609
RUCKER BOX -- Spectacular and difficult "secret" innermost
heart of the Chirachua mountains. Riparian, flowing streams,
impressive cliffs. Final portion is well off trail. Stay in the canyon
N 31.80326 W 109.26842
COCHISE STRONGHOLD -- Very scenic oak woodland offers a fine
but pricey Bed and Breakfast, cross mountain hiking trails, small
caves, granite climbing, bouldering, and more. Dry, so bring adequate
water. The Council Rocks seemed downright spooky to me.
B&B N 31.92743 W 109.96521
Stronghold N 31.92113 W 109.97897
Council Rocks N 31.90922 W 110.03300
ASTRONOMY -- Casual dropin visitors are most definitely not
welcome at the Mount Graham International Observatory. But
van based all day winter guided tours are sometimes offered
through Discovery Park. Meanwhile, the Desert Skygazers
club usually meets every second Saturday in the Jupiter Room
of Discovery Park during fall and spring school sessions and
can give you free access to a 20 inch 'real" telescope and other
optics. You can also take an EAC course to become a 20 inch
telescope operator and docent. Further afield are Casitas De
Gila and the San Pedro Valley Observatory.
Casitas De Gila N 32.79888 W 109.72820
San Pedro Valley Observatory N 31.95099 W 110.26581
RUSTLER PARK -- Top of the mountain campground in heavy timber
gives birdwatching, access to the Chirachua Crest and other trails,
limited snow activities, and more. Nearest food is Willcox or Portal.
Recent fire damage has been extensive. Barfoot lookout has burned.
N 31.90409 W 109.27876
SHINGLE MILL - I'm not sure of the exact location, but the Shingle
Mill namesake of the same canyon was likely somewhere around the
Hulda Gap Corral. This would place it adjacent to the original Hiram
Weech toll road, and close to the fourth tramway tension station.
N 32.75037 W 109.91543 ?
LEOPARD FROG RENARIUM - One of the newer biological
experimental additions to the Discovery Park Campus natural
area. A renarium is a frog nursery intended to restore endangered
species for eventual release in the wild. Visitors are welcome.
N 32.79898 W 109.72815
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 331-345:||
ANGLE ORCHARD - This historic site halfway up the Swift Trail
traditionally offers you-pick mountain apples in a wide variety of
choices in early fall. But 2011 was a rare off year with a near total
N 32.66121 W 109.79363
DOS CABEZAS - This can be your choice of a bed and breakfast
that is for sale, a combined ghost town and small artistic community,
or a fairly dry mountain range that holds a large wilderness area.
Because of some locked gate hassles and less than stellar landowner
relations, the wilderness is best approached from the Indian
Bread Rocks Picnic Site on the eastern end.
B&B N 32.17337 W 109.61106
Town N 32.17505 W 109.61384
Wilderness N 32.21849 W 109.53664
Bread Rocks N 32.23835 W 109.49962
TAYLOR TERRACES -- It is unlikely these are a UFO fish fillet
recipe. Instead, they seem to be a major CCC project, possibly
reworking a prehistoric original. Lichen edge orientations provide
strong evidence of recent age.
N 32.81539 W 109.97052
GPS HANDHELDS - These are extremely useful for finding your
way back to your vehicle in heavy brush. Or to return to a more
interesting spot or tell others about them. Or to simply and safely
pick an alternate return route. The latest Garmin eTrex-30 adds
a barometric altimeter much more accurate than GPS vertical info.
It also optionally will hold four states worth of topo maps for you.
TRANQUILITY CANAL - Recently rediscovered and apparently
prehistoric hanging canal seems to have artesian origins and once
may have routed to fields in the Cook's Reservoir area over its
one mile length. Portions were apparently rebuilt by anglo pioneers.
Observe any posted property signs.
N 32.75756 W 109.73297 to
N 32.77438 W 109.72774
RED CANYON - Interesting site just north of the Ward Canyon
Road in Cliffton offers thru trip possibilities.
N 33.05044 W 109.27676
BAKERIES - The local bakeshop scene is, to say the least,
rather grim. But two outstanding locations elsewhere are more
than worth the effort to travel long distances to them. Especially
as part of a daytrip. Best local is the Cottage Bakery. Check
out the Roundup Bakery ( formerly the Bakery Haus ) in Elfrida
for just about anything, or the Breadbasket in Sierra Vista for
superb and unique pretzel rolls. Which usually sell out by 8 am.
Roundup N 31.68663 W 109.68776
Bread Basket N 31.55239 W 110.30431
OLIVER KNOLL - Seldom visited area just south of the res
features a Saguaro forest and is often frequented by Javelinas.
Classic Lower Sonoran lifezone. The narrows of Markham Creek
are nearby. Jeep trails in the area may not connect.
N 33.06173 W 109.84675
METATE PEAK - One time site of prehistoric artifacts. The Ledford
prehistoric hanging mountain stream canal is also nearby. Difficult
N 32.67993 W 109.73926
BROWN'S FISH FARM - Aquaculture site in Cottonwood Wash
west of Pima sometimes has events, often welcomes visitors.
N 32.86861 W 109.85972
SHAKE SPRINGS - Steep hiking trail off south central Grahams
follows a buried power line and connects the Swift Trail to Stockton
Pass. Five mile route is best done downhill. Trough spring is midway.
N 32.60724 W 109.83670
HANGING CANAL DIRECTORY - A list of the thirty one(!) known
Gila Valley prehistoric mountain stream fed hanging canals can be
found here. With additional papers here. Total length now appears
to exceed 60 miles!
CASTELLATED CCC DAMS - There's half a dozen or so of these an
eighth mile northwest of the Discovery Park turnoff. They are typically
a few hundred feet of six foot high earthen dam with distinctive hand laid
stone turrets protecting each end. From there, cables, fencing, and set
railroad tracks somehow do water spreading. These stimulus spending
bureaucratic boondoggles gives new meaning to "Your tax dollars
at work." Some prehistory also in the area.
N 32.80782 W 109.73764
ARIZONA GIS LAND OWNERSHIP - This new interactive state GIS
mapping resource can be useful to determine who owns what. But there
can be a frustrating lack of detail in certain areas. And GIS is clearly
about to be blown out of the water by "flyable" KML.
MOONSHINE CREEK - Usually small but flowing tributary to Grant
Creek is fairly easy to access high up. Nearby Cunningham trails are
superb for hiking, mountain biking, or horsing around. Downcanyon
portions would appear quite challenging.
N 32.68416 W 109.89880
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 346-360:||
ACME MAPPER IMPROVEMENTS - The resolution and recency of
their imagery in the Gila Valley has just been dramatically improved. Such
as here, here, here, here, or here.
TRIANGLE "T" - Dude Ranch style Bed and breakfast lies in a wonderland
of granite boulders and live oak woodland. Easily combined with an
Amerind Foundation trip. Check restaurant hours before visiting. Off
Dragoon exit on I-10 in Texas Canyon. Natural arch also nearby.
Triangle T N 32.04411 W 110.08567
Amerind N 32.04554 W 110.07898
GILA VALLEY BANK - A two-thirds scale replica of what became
the Valley National Bank in downtown Solomon is now a University
of Arizona Extension Service site. Visitors are welcome. Superb La
Paloma Mexican restaurant nearby.
Bank N 32.81548 W 109.63100
Restaurant N 32.81264 W 109.62752
LANDSMAN CAMP - Unimproved camping area just north and east of
Aravapia. Permits required if you wander off onto the res. Gathering
Stanley Butte garnets is a no-no.
N 32.96757 W 110.32644
RIGGS PREHISTORIC CANAL - This new discovery is smaller and
steeper than most of our prehistoric "hanging" canals. The workmanship
also seems of lower quality. And it still is not yet apparent where it comes
from or what its purpose was. Multiple canals appear to cross each other!
N 32.77846 W 109.78945
MOUNT GRAHAM GOLF COURSE - Second rate City of Safford facility
has a long history of scams and mismanagement. When open, the restaurant
is not half bad. Some ducks and waterfowl in ponds. Nearby prehistoric
habitation sites are nearly totally trashed.
N 32.80761 W 109.76869
BONKERS CCC SPREADERS - The new Acme Mapper high resolution
images have revealed hundreds ( and possibly thousands (!) ) of previously
unknown CCC area projects. Especially erosion preventing water spreaders.
N 32.78843 W 109.83090
BLUE CONFLUENCE - Just about our most remote local trip. Swimming,
hiking, 4WD exploration. Note that the Martinez Ranch Road ( also known
as the Dix Mesa Road ) is extremely steep and pretty much four wheel drive
with granny only. The major new construction project here is apparently
a fish barrier.
Confluence at N 33.20985 W 109.19240
Fish Barrier at N 33.21431 W 109.19646
THE LIME CHIMNEY - Hollow natural limestone column fired and once
presumably used to manufacture lime. Well west of Bylas on the res.
Permit required. Apparently difficult to research.
near N 33.26847 W 110.30577 ?
FRYE MESA ROCK ALIGNMENTS -- These mysterious features show
evidence of both being prehistoric canals and of overlain CCC water
spreader rework. They also suggest a prehistoric ( but presently unverified )
hanging canal once bypassing the reservoir. Amazingly similar alignments
also occur three miles downstream.
N 32.75970 W 109.81622
CRAZY HORSE CANYON - Steep and little explored wet stream off the
Klondyke road offers bouldering, narrows, pools, wading, and even slots.
Best done downhill one way.
N 32.78636 W 110.19254
SAN FRANCISCO APACHE TEARS - These are rumored to exist and
listed "in passing" in at least one field guidebook. South of the river
and east of Cliffton. Prehistoric local use of obsidian or pearlite is
very rare, so this is likely a limited or lower quality source. A good
source for smoky tears is a mile south of the Superior airport.
Similar opaque specimens abound a mile south of the Burro Creek
Bridge. The Bluebird Mine Mindat listing is uselessly disappointing.
Clifton near N 33.06921 W 109.28596
Superior near N 33.26902 W 111.13526
Burro Creek near N 34.52228 W 113.42601
OLD SAN CARLOS - The original town was torn apart and moved
12 miles north during the construction of Coolidge Dam. A few
remaining foundations can sometimes be viewed during exceptionally
low water times. A little known natural chimney lime kiln is nearby.
Old San Carlos near N 33.20177 W 110.40455
Lime Kiln near N 33.26847 W 110.30576
SOUTHERN GRIDS - Our Northern Grids are fairly well known and
spectacular in their arrangement and organization. It turns out that
there are also Southern Grids, but these are fewer and spaced out.
This location seems to have been newly rediscovered and may end
up being the largest known Southern grouping .
N 32.78636 W 109.74327
SUNGLOW RANCH - Pricey "dude ranch" in the Turkey Creek area
of the western Chirachuas offers full meals, upscale experiences.
N 31.85058 W 109.42230
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 361-375:||
NEW PIMA LAKE AT 1200 WEST - An old artesian gravel pit is
apparently in the process of being converted into a boatable lake with
ramadas and islands and such, but it seems closed and unfinished and
its present use status remains unknown.
N 32.90621 W 109.85401
TUNNELS- Most famous is the McEniry Tunnel, a scam to go
through Mt. Graham to tap untold riches. Long gone is the route
78 piton tunnel in the Big Lue mountains. Only a vague fragment
remains. For a while there, this may have been the world's shortest
tunnel! Interesting hiking or mountain biking tunnels are on the
Morenci Southern railway. Further afield are the Gilman Tunnels
in New Mexico, the Copper Basin Railway tunnel near the coke
ovens at Cochran. Or the original Queen Creek ( Claypool ) tunnel
McEniry N 32.77583 W 109.86747
Big Lue was near N 33.05355 W 109.08444
Morenci Southern N 33.00652 W 109.31817
Gilman N 35.73443 W 106.76507
Copper Basin N 33.09479 W 111.18463
Claypool N 33.30336 W 111.08061
GILA OUTDOOR - A useful outdoor store is located in downtown
Thatcher and includes an inside archery range. The real state
biggie is REI, with locations here, here, and here. My favorites
are either of the two Summit Hut Tucson locations.
N 32.84941 W 109.76145
ARIZONA LIGHTHOUSES - A tad out of the way, but believe
it or not, the US town with the most lighthouses is Lake Havasu
City! There's even a Lighthouse Club that builds these fully nav
functional scale models of classic lighthouses. Even stranger is
the lighthouse in the Superstition Wilderness.
N 34.48200 W 114.31880
HANGING CANAL RESOURCE DIRECTORY - Newly gathered
and re-organized listing of our prehistoric canal field notes, images,
and similar resources. A major upgrade to this paper and this
slide show can be found here. With an interactive Master Map
using Google Earth can be found here. And a video here
SANTA MARIA CANYON - Yeah, it is a very long drive, but it is
also one of the best kept hiking secrets in all of Arizona. Seasonal
pools in a truly remote deep gorge. Nearby are lots of opaque
Apache Tears, a warm spring, and a pair of world class bridges.
N 34.51794 W 113.02379
RIGGS RESERVOIR- Smaller recreation lake portion of Safford
Water complex south of Daley Estates. Do not confuse with Riggs
Flat Lake on top of Mount Graham. The nearby Blue Ponds are
only sometimes active. Area is popular with shooters and teenyboppers.
Prehistoric canals nearby.
N 32.78390 W 109.77735
GRAHAM COUNTY REGIONAL PARK - Home of the October
county fair, July fireworks, fishing, horse racing, athletic fields,
picnicing, rodeos, the Miss Graham Cracker Pageant, old time
fiddlers, band battles with nickel hot dogs, auctions, and various
other scheduled activities. US 191 South of Discovery Park Blvd.
N 32.78711 W 109.70551
KEEPERS"- This is the canyoneering term for tinajas that
you can get into but not out of. Less obvious examples are
cattle tanks, mineshafts, progressively deepening canyons,
water hypothermia, or stuff that dogs or weaker or less
trained party members cannot deal with.
OAK DRAW- Fairly decent forest road gives northeastern
access to the Greasewoods and sees use by trail bikes and
such. Other linked trails are interesting but more challenging.
N 32.53373 W 109.71757
PARADISE- Off-forest group of cabins hosts a Birding Bed and
Breakfast. Nearby Outlaw Cave includes some signatures of
nineteenth century bad guys Curly Bill and John Ringo. Galeyville
ghost town and smelter site is also nearby. Nearest services are
( sometimes ) in Portal.
Paradise N 31.93631 W 109.21831
Galeyville N 31.95208 W 109.22076
COCHISE WIND FARM- Newly planned near the junction
of Muleshoe and Warbonnet roads. More details here, with a
county wind assessment here, and Arizona wind potential here.
The fifty story(!) towers and 190 foot blades sound a tad
ambitious to me. A somewhat similar working wind site can
be found here.
N 32.28914 W 110.12613
Q RANCH- Extremely remote and isolated bed and breakfast
offers prehistory, birding, classes in scientific illustration, and
gourmet meals. Located in the secret part of Arizona that you
cannot get to. More segments of the routes to Pleasant Valley
are now paved. And the Sierra Anchas remain a trip unto
themselves. If you really want a 4WD challenge, visit the Q via
Rockhouse to Rockhouse by way of Lone Pine Divide and
N 34.07127 W 110.79993
HS CANAL- Spectacular world class mystery prehistoric and
counterflowing canal structure off Frye Mesa is the crown jewel
of the sixty miles (!) of mountain stream fed local canals. What
was its purpose? Suspected water source is Spring Canyon,
but can you prove it? More on hanging canals here.
N 32.75815 W 109.81504
SINGING WINDS BOOKSTORE --A legendary southwestern
books resource in an extremely remote ranch house. Take Ocotillo
Road north from Benson, turn right just past the fifth cow.
N 32.01415 W 110.31247
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 376-390:||
DANKWORTH POND IMPROVEMENTS- A major upgrade and
refurb has recently been completed. Per these details. Improvements
include trail rebuilding, fish stocking, and cattail reduction. This
was once a warm spring fish farm.
N 32.72066 W 109.70686
CASCABEL COMMUNITY FAIR- Rural arts and crafts celebration
often held in the first week in December. Go twenty miles north on
the Pomeranian Road out of Benson.
N 32.29146 W 110.37952
MORE SOUTHERN GRIDS - Recent rediscoveries just east of the
Porter Springs road have upped the known number of southern grids
well into the several hundreds. Compared to many thousands north
of the river. These were appaently used prehistorically to dry farm
Agave in a combination of a giant booze factory and the original
Dilbert office cubicals.
N 32.79419 W 109.75251
SINKHOLES - A few remote areas include multiple large sinkholes.
Some that suggest deeply hidden limestone caverns. Check here
for a Sedona area report and here for one on Holbrook. Three of
the Hoblrook areas include McCauley, Zeniff, and Snowflake. Or
here for the classic RAND paper which I believe has been challenged
and possibly discredited. A nearby ( and exceptionally dangerous ) pit
collection is at Red Knolls. More on caves here and here
McCauley N 34.79888 W 110.58750
Zeniff N 34.69798 W 110.49251
Snowflake N 34.56415 W 110.23793
Red Knolls N 32.96083 W 109.94061
WATERFALLS - Nearest is Frye Mesa falls, while other Mt.
Graham candidates include Ash Creek, Grant Creek and the
pair in Deadman Canyon. Greenlee County has two very remote
falls here and here. Other regional candidates include Winn falls
near Portal, San Carlos Falls, spectacular but very little known
Seneca falls also on the res, plus Workman Creek and Reynolds
Creek falls in the Sierra Anchas. A summary of Arizona waterfalls
can be found here.
Frye Mesa N 32.74547 W 109.83728
Ash Creek N 32.72962 W 109.89359
Grant Creek N 32.67014 W 109.91015
Deadman #1 N 32.73244 W 109.81655
Deadman #2 N 32.72753 W 109.82080
Greenlee #1 N 33.19166 W 109.27570
Greenlee #2 N 33.53909 W 109.39622
San Carlos N 33.44124 W 110.27066
Winn N 31.86595 W 109.25821
Seneca N 33.77242 W 110.51773
Workman N 33.81875 W 110.93002
Reynolds N 33.87560 W 110.98722
KARTCHNER CAVERNS - The finest and most spectacular of
Arizona's commercial caves. A few miles southwest of Benson on
Arizona 90. The other commercial caves include Grand Canyon
Caverns near Peach Springs on old 66; and Collossal Cave east
of Tucson. Wild and sport caving info is available here, here,
Kartchner N 31.83671 W 110.34894
Collosal N 32.06190 W 110.63325
Grand Canyon Caverns N 35.52873 W 113.23114
CLUFF RUIN - Heavily pothunted and otherwise trashed late
classic habitation site in the vicinity of Cluff Ponds. Extensive
JUANITAS - Amazingly, Pima now has SIX Mexican restaurants
in varying shades of newness. But Junitas is overwhelmingly in a
class by themselves. For price, quality, authenticity, speed and
ambiance. Junitias is cleverly hidden in Bush and Sherts in the
secret part of Pima that only a cotton farmer can find. To fit in
with the locals, knowing the difference between "mosey" and
"hunker" is an absolute must. Valet parking is strictly limited
to John Deere tractors only. Recently moved to Sunrise Cafe.
Main near 300 West.
N 32.89104 W 109.82172
RUSTLER PARK UPDATE - Now being extensively rebuilt with
new ramadas and bear proof garbage cans in place. There is no
water yet, and area remains an utterly depressing moonscape.
Recovery can reasonably be expected to take a hundred years.
At top of Chirachuas via Pinery Canyon Road. The "secret" back
road between the church camp and the boy scout camp was passable
the last time I checked, but that was long ago. Hands Pass is
definitely not recommended for vehicles.
Barfoot N 31.90369 W 109.27816
Back Road N 31.92212 W 109.29202
Hands Pass N 31.99203 W 109.29559
YELLOW HAMMER MILL - Only an older water tank seems to
remain on this upper San Simon river site. The strange name does
suggest something to do with zeolite mining and might have been
a water source back when the river flowed reliably.
N 32.36300 W 109.28902
WARM SPRINGS - It's been years since I visited this site. It is
located in Deer Creek two miles northwest of Aravapia. The water
temperature is only a few degrees above the average ambient.
There is a second warm spring at the headwaters of the San Carlos
river with a very high flow rate. Permit required. There's also a
warm spring east of Brushy Mountain, but I never actually got there,
despite several tries. It should be an excellent ATV project. Much
more on water resources here.
Deer Creek N 32.98361 W 110.37395
San Carlos N 33.44010 W 110.21186
Brushy N 32.88127 W 108.88747
MAY MEMORIAL WILDLIFE AREA - Viewing area two miles
northeast of Paradise is a very little known Arizona Game and Fish
resource. Many native animals make use of the developed water,
including coatis. Access permits required.
N 31.95230 W 109.19876
BLUE RIVER FISH BARRIER- Newly completed small dam is
possibly the longest and most remote Gila Valley Dayhike. About
half a mile north of the San Francisco river confluence. You can't
get there from here.
N 33.21419 W 109.19614
SAN PEDRO RIVER- Ongoing restoration of spectacular riparian
and wetlands area has all sorts of opportunities for hiking and for
volunteer projects. Because of the length, hikes are often best
split up into seven or eight sequential pieces. More info here.
N 31.37544 W 110.11071
N 31.86098 W 110.20932
THATCHER KIDDY SPLASH POOL - Now is Newly opened.
at the South end of Stadium avenue. Seasonal.
N 32.83478 W 109.76352
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 391-405:||
HORSING AROUND- Many local areas are ideal for horseback
riding and training, even though we don't seem to have very much
in the way of rental or riding stables. Tracks off the West Layton
Road seem to be a popular combination of trailer friendly access
and rideable areas. Of the top of the mountain sites, Cunningham
Campground has the best public access corrals.
West Layton N 32.83092 W 109.81857
Cunningham N 32.67836 W 109.89381
RICHARDSON ORCHARD SITE- Yet another heavily pothunted
and trashed late classic prehistoric occupation site. Presumably
dating from the 1300's. Area also includes numerous water control
structures, apparently both historic and prehistoric.
CENTRAL DUMP ROAD - Access now seems to be unlocked.
This is a superb low traffic paved short bicycling route. It also
gives access to several offroad ATV or 4WD loop trails. The
dump remediation borrow pit to the south tends to fill up with
seasonal water, forming intermittent lakes of varying size and
N 32.85985 W 109.81415
ILLICIT TEENYBOPPERING - Favorite underage party sites
include Clay Knolls, Riggs Reservoir, and The Wall at the end
of the road to nowhere.
Clay N 32.79252 W 109.72330
Riggs N 32.78412 W 109.77707
Wall N 32.68242 W 109.78488
BLUE PONDS CANAL - This route apparently was used historically
to switch sourced water between the north and south blue ponds.
Whether this was part of a major prehistoric canal delivering from
Frye Mesa and whether the blue ponds overlay prehistoric fields
remain to be determined.
Near N 32.78136 W 109.77685
SELDOM VISITED ARTESIAN PONDS - Seem to be just barely
surviving the drought. Major prehistoric canal also in area.
N 32.80252 W 109.78087 and
N 32.79564 W 109.78582
NEW HIKING CLUB FORMING - Contact Visit Graham County
for its present status and activities.
MORENCI SOUTHERN RAILROAD BRIDGES The main bridge
across the San Francisco is long gone, as are all of the trestles
further North. One tunnel loop remains just north of the river. But
two interesting bridges remain. These are both best viewed at a
distance as they are rather likely to be extremely unsafe.
Bridges at N 32.97348 W 109.29908 and
N 32.94664 W 109.2685.
Tunnel loop at N 33.01433 W 109.31106
GOLF COURSE CANAL - Prehistoric Canal find #29 appears to be
seven miles long and apparently serviced Daley Estates area from
Spring Canyon. Surviving portions so far appear to be few and far
between and difficult to trace. Possible source might be HS Canal
off of Frye Mesa! More on these world class spectacular hanging
canals here. Field mice welcome.
Includes N 32.79837 W 109.78259 to
N 32.79993 W 109.78019 to
N 32.79886 W 109.77611.
THE "LOVE" ROCKPILES - Who built these huge messages on the
next mesa to the southeast of Hall's Mesa? Why? Oops - they now
seem to have been removed. Vanished without a trace.
N 32.79060 W 109.76902
THORPE TANK ENIGMAS - What are these mysterious nearby
structures? CCC Flood Control water spreaders or something entirely
N 32.80219 W 109.78767
GRIPE - Population three ghost town and gas station from the 1950's
remains on the topo maps and was the location of the old Hiway 70
ag inspection station. A fragment of the old concrete still remains
somewhat west of San Jose.
N 32.81290 W 109.60091
CANAL NUMBER 30? - An obviously historic canal can be found
once routing water from Ash Creek to the two easternmost Smith Ponds.
While a prehistoric origin would seem eminently likely, this remains
conspicuously and frustratingly unproven.
N 32.81928 W 109.84515
SANTA CLAUS REINDEER - And other assorted odd critters
can sometimes be viewed midway just off the Cluff Ponds Road.
N 32.83263 W 109.83522
JACKSON CABIN ROAD - Very long 4WD route literally into
the middle of the Redfield Canyon Wilderness may no longer
be maintained. Some structures are believed to have been
N 32.43949 W 110.27087
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 406-420:||
MESCAL CRACK - Very rare and hard to reach and harder to
find find 95 foot deep pit in Precambrian Mescal limestone.
Quite narrow. A legendary companion pit 2 miles NW tentatively
called Strawberry Awful has yet to be located. Superbly remote
Q Ranch Bed and Breakfast also in the area.
Crack Near N 33.87363 W 110.80808 ?
Q Ranch at N 34.07127 W 110.79994
NUTTALL CANYON TRAIL - One of the most remote and
most difficult trails in all of Mt. Graham. Steep and may need
significant route finding. Present condition unknown, but likely
to be poor. Access to either end is difficult.
N 32.74003 W 109.97224
TRIANGULAR TRINCHERAS? - Remote mesa top construct
consists of four highly enigmatic nested triangles and may be
part of ancient prehistoric ag.
VEECH CANYON - Spectacular typography in this very hard
to access and seldom visited locale. Are there any prehistoric
canals in the area and can you find them?
N 32.63916 W 109.74528
O'CONNOR FIELD - Major airport project seems to have
faltered with the partial grading of two dirt runways. West of
Duncan on ( golly gee! ) Airport Road. Other Greenlee
development projects here.
N 32.69360 W 109.12872
A SECOND DEAD CAMEL PLACE? - Camel and llama
tracks are referenced in this Zeolite document.
GONZO WATER SPREADERS - One of the highly ambitious
and apparently most useless CCC projects ever seems to center
in the Wood Canyon area east of Duncan over several square
miles. Very obvious in Acme Mapper. Many dozens of structures!
N 32.70276 W 109.17619
GRAHM COUNTY VINYARDS - Off to a fledgling start with
fifty tons of grape harvest by Bonita Springs Vineyard just north
of the tomato factory.
N 32.47444 W 109.92945
THATCHER URBAN TRAIL - Is newly completed for running,
hiking, doggerel, or bicycling uses. A short and a county unfunded
section between the Safford and Thatcher portions remains to
be built on Golf Course Road. A new Church Avenue sidewalk
links the trail to EAC.
Safford N 32.80252 W 109.70802 to N 32.81492 W 109.73562
Thatcher N 32.80796 W 109.76296 to N 32.80793 W 109.76295
LOWER JACOBSON CREEK - Seldom visited perennial stream
with tinajas makes for interesting winter rock scrambling. Note
that eastern access road demands an extremely high clearance
vehicle. Otherwise, head southeast from the start of the road
N 32.68403 W 109.76387
GOAT TANK CANAL - Newest entry #31 to our prehistoric
hanging canals and apparently complements those already
known in the Ledford Tank area.
N 32.68243 W 109.75862 , etc..
HIDDEN MORENCI SOUTHERN RR BRIDGE - A fourth
bridge still remains in a "secret" and hidden location. Best
viewed from a distance because of safety issues.
N 32.94947 W 109.27845
SAND WASH PREHISTORIC HANGING CANAL - Of the
40 (!) prehistoric canals of 60 miles (!) total length, this one
is the easiest to reach with short 2WD and the simplest hike.
More on these canals here and an invitation for your participation
in utterly fascinating world class research here.
N 32.83162 W 109.92471
CHECK DAMS - There are literally hundreds of these prehistoric
constructs all over everywhere. One of these three features a mid
channel Barrel Cactus. Which strongly supports their prehistoric
rather than CCC origins. Many include distinctive aprons.
N 32.79250 W 109.87288
EVEN MORE CCC WATER SPREADERS - There seems to be
an infinite supply of these utterly worthless boondoggles. Such as
a group in Lower Merrill Wash and a few west of Taylor Pass Road.
Merrill N 32.82043 W 109.87759 and N 32.82019 W 109.87600
Taylor N 32.82178 W 109.97676
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 421-435:||
THE "ROSETTA" CANAL - Proof has been lacking for the premise
that virtually all historic bajada canals were based on "steal the plans",
"borrow the blueprints", or "dig out an old ditch". But this pair of Cluff
NW historic canals has two short included segment that appear to be both
prehistoric and unalteredly original.
N 32.82641 W 109.84673
REMOTE GONZO SWIMMING & ROPE WORK - The Salome Jug
and the Workman Hell Hole in the Sierra Anchas win hands down, but
also great are West Clear Creek, Wet Beaver Creek, Tonto Hells
Gate and Fossil Creek.
Salome Jug N 33.79948 W 111.0963
Workman Hell Hole - N 33.87933 W 111.04098
West Clear Creek - N 34.54322 W 111.6238
Wet Beaver Creek - 34.67490 W 111.65962
Fossil Creek - N 34.42210 W 111.57535
Tonto Hells Gate - N 34.22115 W 111.09374
MIDDLE NUTTAL CANYON - cattle tank makes an interesting,
seldom visited but longish hike or ATV route. Can you verify there
was a prehistoric hanging canal water diversion project in this area?
N 32.77783 W 109.95534
FIRE LOOKOUT TOWERS - are rapidly besoming an endangered
species. Miller Peak and Silver Peak are long gone and Barfoot
recently burned. Key historical documents are http://www.nhlr.org/,
RED HORSE WIND FARM - is under construction near the
junction of Hooker Hot Springs Road and War Bonnet Road
and can be distantly viewed from I-10 if you know where to look.
Not sure of present access and visitation rules.
N 32.28871 W 110.12988
TUGOOD PREHISTORIC CANAL - Yet another of our
prehistoric hanging canals has been newly rediscovered bringing
the total near 41 canals for a length around SIXTY MILES!
This one is near pristine and features moderate 4WD and
easy foot access, but is on the wrong side of posted private
and state land. This find strongly strengthens "steal the
plans" of several nearby historic canals.
N 32.81611 W 109.86926
POSSIBLE MONTEZ TOLL ROAD - remains do appear
immediately above and north of US 191. They shortly are
presumed to cut north across the mesa to Guthrie and the
Gila shortly afterward. Mystery unexplored "pothole" is
also in the area, but is likely just a natural tank.
N 32.90295 W 109.26505
VEECH CANAL FINALLY FOUND!- Long sought after
prehistoric canal in the P Ranch area seems to be located
here, but remains field unverified. Are the rock alignments
further east prehistoric or CCC?
N 32.64300 W 109.74265
HANGING CANAL DIRECTORY- Newly created index
also includes exclusions and near misses of our prehistoric
hanging canals. Now up to SIXTY THREE entries and
at least SEVENTY miles, possibly bunches more.
BLUE RIVER FISH BARRIER- New docs give an interesting
summary of this hard to reach ( you can't get there from here )
destination. Judging by a new mud flat, the design may end
up having problems caused by the eastern scouring structure.
N 33.21454 W 109.19637
GRANT CREEK FALLS 4WD ACCESS- Easiest route is
up this trail from the prison. Fairly gentle road hike followed
by steep scramble with ropework recommended at the falls
themselves. No special permit is normally needed to drive
through the prison residential area.
N 32.66763 W 109.91664
THE WHITE HOUSE- Once appeared but long gone from
Thatcher 1960 15 minute quads. Roofless anglo ruin is still
viewable on Acme Mapper. Should be a good ATV project.
N 32.89169 W 109.96585
THE BIGLER CANAL- Also once appeared but long gone from
Thatcher 1960 15 minute quads. Huge size for its source
suggests it may have been an investment scam of some sort.
Prehistoric predecessors would be highly conspicuous by their
absence, but remain unproven. Ponds may have been prehistoric
N 32.87958 W 109.92144
YET ANOTHER HANGING CANAL - Tentatively called
The Freeman Canal and number sixty eight! Might be as long
as eight miles and definitely has well defined destinations.
Still under active exploration. Portions have been buried by
the CCC. Other Bajada Canals now exceed a hundred miles!
N 32.79056 W 109.76165 to N 32.80019 W 109.75025 so far.
NEW FREE eBOOKS- of two classic "must read" Arizona
historical records. Find Find Hodge's Arizona as it is here.
And Hinton's Handbook to Arizona here.
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 436-450:||
SKY ISLAND TRAVERSE- Renaming of the Round the Mountain
Trail mid-height links Swift Trail to Frye Canyon while crossing
Marijilda and Deadman canyons. Since southern parking is poor,
it is often best to start with a short feeder trail from Noon Creek.
World class "secret" tinaja pools lie just below the Marijilda
Swift Trail Start -N 32.65237 W 109.81080
Noon Creek Feeder - N 32.66769 W 109.80883
Marijilda Tinajas - N 32.68466 W 109.81149
Deadman Crossing - N 32.71702 W 109.83792
Frye End - N 32.72273 W 109.85861
"NEW" FREE HISTORIC MAPS - Clear back to way back when
are now available online from USGS. Just dial your year.
ANOTHER "LOST" CCC CAMP - This one north of Canador peak
just over the NM border. Also includes quite a few water diversion
N 32.66335 W 108.91472
RED HORSE TOURS - Free guided tours of the combined wind
and pv facility northwest of Willcox is offered by Mallory Safety
Management Services. Contact Aubyn Avery at (205) 919-7936.
While somewhat obvious as the tallest structures in all of Southern
Arizona, they still do not show up yet on Acme Mapper. Start at the
junction of Warbonnet and Hooker Hot Springs roads. Northeast
of Allen Flat.
VEE WEIRS - These strange strictures show up on a historically
refurbed prehistoric bajada canal northwest of Cluff Ponds...
N 32.82643 W 109.84579
N 32.82802 W 109.84607
N 32.82834 W 109.84603
N 32.82875 W 109.84579
N 32.82873 W 109.84583
N 32.82922 W 109.84548
N 32.83037 W 109.84475
N 32.83049 W 109.84469|
MERRYLAND - Long disused dance pavilion in Eden
apparently now serves as a farm storage area. Does not
appear to have ever been a real Merry-Go-Round.
N 32.96153 W 109.89411
MEXICAN SUSHI - Newly available next door at the old
Big O Tires. ( MOVED! Ask around for current location.)
And Jobi's now has Eegees (!). And, in the neighborhood,
check out the Mt Graham Market across from the prison
for superb deli sammiches for any mountain trip.
MOVIE SETS - Best, of course, is Old Tucson. Two Benson
area sites include Gammon's Gulch and Mescal. The latter
requires special visitation arrangements via Old Tucson.
EVEN MORE CCC WATER SPREADERS - There are
literally thousands of CCC water management structures
in the area. An interesting dozen or so can be found on
the Bear Springs Road on the flat above ( and mostly
west ) of the locked gate.
N 32.84847 W 109.93391
ASH CREEK CASCADES - A dam plus a highly scenic
collection of small waterfalls. tinajas, and smaller size pools
at the southern end of the newly improved ( but still 4WD
recommended ) south end of the Ash Creek road. South
of Cluff Ponds, which also has been recently improved.
Cascades N 32.76310 W 109.87110
Cluff #3 N 32.80569 W 109.86276
FREEMAN PREHISORIC CANAL - Brand new imagery in
both Acme Mapper and Google Earth has revealed an
additional extension to the Freeman Canal that suggests a
total possible record length of eight miles and a possible
prehistoric origin for the historic blue ponds canal.
Includes portions between N 32.78741 W 109.76594
and N 32.78881 W 109.76427
MULCH RINGS - There are many of these prehistoric
ag constructs, but by far the largest known group are near the
No Name Reservoir. These are single height rockpiles typically
three feet in diameter and a dozen feet apart. Rain gets under the
rocks and stays there as an ag water management ploy.
N 32.78819 W 109.76862
OLD IMAGERY AND NEW CONTOURS! -- Both are newly added to
Google Earth. The former via a dial-your age slider and the latter via
blendable topo maps by way of a free downloadable Earth Point ap. We
suggested blendable topos years ago with this Pacman AZ image.
NINA'S KITCHENETTE - Yet another food truck, this one at
the finest golf course in the entire Bonita-Eden-Sanchez
metropolitan area . Somewhat pricey and upscale but not quite
gourmet hamburgers plus breakfast stuff. Open Sunday, closed Mondays.
( MOVED! Ask around for current location.)
N 32.80758 W 109.76796
QUACKERDUCKS - There's a surprising number of still
water duck ponds locally that sometimes include Mergansers,
Mallards, Shovelers, Grebes, Coots, Canvasbacks, Buffleheads,
Teal, and ( while not quite a duck ) Cormorants. For best photos,
use a high zoom lens and tripod with image stabilization.
Thatcher Sewer Ponds N 32.87023 W 109.76827
Golf Course Southern Ponds N 32.79945 W 109.77308
No Name Reservoir N 32.78819 W 109.76862
Riggs Reservoir N 32.78429 W 109.77695
Discovery Park N 32.80089 W 109.72399
Blue Pond N 32.78271 W 109.77394
|Gila Valley Day Hikes 451-465:||
NEW RED HORSE WIND IMAGERY - Newly available
on Google Earth or Acme Mapper and similar services.
Tours available through Mallory Safety Management Services'
Aubyn Avery at (205) 919-7936. Other things to do in the area
would include Muleshoe Ranch, Triangle T, and the Amerind
DRONE SURVEY SERVICES - Are sometimes available through
Jeremy Green of Eastern Arizona AG. Their drone is particularly
good at stitching together composite ag fields, but it lacks any
real time ground based video feedback. Infrared scanning is
THREE HANGING CANAL PROJECTS- Three potentially
spectacular hanging canals need verified in extremely
difficult terrain. And I sure could use your help in pinning
these down and verifying that they are real.
Veech Canal N 32.64310 W 109.74261
Ledford Canal N 32.68605 W 109.74551
Deadman Canal East N 32.75631 W 109.77759
MULTI USE PATH EXPANDED- The "missing" county
portion is now complete, and the path now runs from
mid Safford to Discovery Park to Daley Estates to EAC.
Multipurpose Trail Map.
KEY BAJADA HANGING CANAL FEATURES - Are
newly summarized in this document. Your help on all
this is needed here. And the main access page here.
SAND CANAL EXTENDED - Now apparently sources
from Carter Canyon and may have two additional branches
tentatively called Carter and Nuttall. These discoveries
minimize the unverified need for a mid canyon Nuttall
RARELY VISITED "HIDDEN" PONDS - These may be
seasonal and are tucked behind the Thatcher Flood Control
Dam. Might sometimes include duck habitat. Best approach
is probably by way of West 14th Street. The immensely useful
History Feature of Google Earth suggests this was a sand and
gravel operation that got flooded.
N 32.82424 W 109.75857
WALNUT GROVE DAM DISASTER - Yeah, it is a
little out of range, but it still has by far the best Arizona
lost treasure story in the form of the Bob Brow Saloon
Safe. Additional info is is found in the Journal of Arizona
History, Autumn 1987. David B. Dill Jr's "Terror on the
Hassayampa: The Walnut Grove Dam Disaster of 1890"
pp 283-306. Hard to find, but the EAC library has it. Also
see the 2005 Whtnu blog entries for May 16th and May 19th.
Much closer, the Thatcher Dam Disaster can be found here.
Walnut Grove N 34.19995 W 112.54247
Thatcher N 32.83341 W 109.79348
DISCOVERY PARK FLIGHT SIMULATOR - Free and
impressive planetary spaceship tours. Check website for
present hours. Also available are museum exhibits, your
hands on personal access to a 20 inch professional telescope,
astronomy club meetings, and a free seasonal lecture series.
N 32.79872 W 109.72787
NEW SKATEBOARD PARKS - One each. Safford's
is in Firth Park, Thatcher's near the ballparks and
kiddy splash pool.
Safford Skate Park
Thatcher Skate Park
FISH BARRIER DISASTER? - Things seem to have gone
wildly wrong with the new Blue River Fish Barrier. The
intended accessory anti scour structure seems to have
exceeded its expectations by something like five orders
of magnitude. My other favorite disasters can be
found here and here. Or my personal involvement with the
Great Kentucky Fried Chicken Gravy Explosion.
JUST FOR - Yeah, it is a long trip, but largely unexplored and
unknown Burro Creek in Western Arizona offers many interesting
features. Such as the warm spring in Kaiser Springs Canyon,
a pair of world class bridges, some superb hidden swimming, rarely
visited Zenaropolis Ghost Town, and lots of big tree shade at six
mile. A nice BLM campground west of the bridges, Plus largely
abandoned Nothing Arizona with amazingly prolific opaque Apache
Tears nearby. Historic peak flood flows were spectacular. Plus
this secret place. Nearest services are in Wikiup.
GILA WILDERNESS NM PRIVATE INHOLDING -Very
rare private property for sale on the East Fork of the Gila River
immediately adjacent to New Mexico's Gila Wilderness. Outstanding
as survivalist, remote, potential trading, or very long term investment, but
presently strictly restricted access by way of foot or horse over National
Forest lands. 4.7 acres. Taxes seem manageable at $3.74 per year.
"NOTHING TO NOWHERE" BICYCLE TOUR - These two
Arizona semi ghost towns are around 65 miles apart by way
of mid-elevation paved and seldom traveled roads. They should
make a nearly ideal winter bicycling sanctioned event. Nothing
is 1600 feet higher than Nowhere. Restaurants halfway.
REAY LANE WETLAND BIRDS - Otherwise known as the
Thatcher Sewer Ponds. This is a photo catalog of the usual
suspects. A recent viewing tower is at the wrong end.
N 32.86691 W 109.76697
|Gila Valley Latest Day Hike Additions:||
HOWARD WELL - Trees and lake in an otherwise desert
area make for an interesting birding and picnic spot.
Zeolite mines nearby in this San Simon Valley site. A pair of
smaller pools are somewhat to the south.
N 32.43848 W 109.34675
MASTER GRAHAM COUNTY BIRDING DIRECTORY--
Includes many dozens of both and popular viewing spots.
LAKE TAKALAR - I've yet to visit this newer resource
on the river two miles north of San Carlos. It presumably
includes birding and fishing. Indian permit required.
N 33.38827 W 110.42212
MORE CCC WATER SPREADERS - Dozens of
these busywork boondoggles in a seldom explored
region southwest of Pima's Lamb Tank. See if you
can also find rumored but unverified prehistoric
hanging canals also in the area.
N 32.82217 W 109.92447
PARKS LAKE -Sometimes intermittent tank on the far east
side of the Whitlocks is an unlikely waterfowl spot. Also
in the area is the site of a stage station. Area vegetation
is rather sparse. Topo maps indicate several largely
unexplored shelter caves and ruins of apparently highly
N 32.55792 W 109.30730
NATURAL ARCHES-There' s quite a few of these in
Southwestern Arizona, but they tend to be smaller and
somewhat hard to find. The Black Hills Arch a few miles
up Pima Box. A larger arch a mile north of Dragoon Exit
on I-10. A small arch in East WhiteTail Canyon. A natural
( not really ) bridge in Chiracahua National Monument.
The Portal in South fork and its Little Portal companion.
Plus, further afield, Tonto Natural Bridge.
Black Hills Arch N 33.07836 W 109.93465
Dragoon Arch N 32.05213 W 110.0942
East WhiteTail Arch N 32.00476 W 109.27396
Chiricahua "Bridge" N32.01511° W109.35824°
The Portal and Little Portal N31.88914° W109.16655°
Tonto Natural Bridge N 34.32277 W 111.44835
THE RABBIT FARM -At one time, this San Simon
resource included large artesian lakes and many
giant trees, but drought and falling water tables
have taken their toll. Remediation efforts are underway,
which presumably you can participate in.
N 32.50135 W 109.33844
EXTENDED BAJADA HANGING SAND CANAL -New
field verifications suggest this westernmost known of the
Bajada Hanging Canals is surprisingly long at over five
miles and rather complex despite its easy visitation. It
also seems to be a "sampler" with at least one each of
everything in the other canals. Your help is needed in
further world class research survey work.
N 32.82673 W 109.93283
BOYCE THOMPSON ARBORETUM - A "zoo for trees"
U/A facility near Superior also includes trails, plant sales,
arts, music, and crafts exhibitions. While in the area, also
visit the superb Jade Grill and the smoky Apache Tears.
Arboretum - N 33.28014 W 111.15909
Jade Grill -N 33.28775 W 111.10279
Apache Tears - N 33.26903 W 111.13454
A CATALOG OF ARIZONA CASTLES - can be found
here, but some of them are not faring well. The Sibley
Castle in Copper Creek has major washouts along with
locked and posted gates. But the ancient and hiking-
only route from here to Four Mile remains largely
unexplored and untraveled. The Aqua Verde Castle
in Vail is still there, but a more western Tucson castle
has apparently been newly demolished.
Secret Hike - N 32.76789 W 110.43379
A GILA RIVER TRAMWAY? - Apparently routed
ore from Copper Creek to Winkleman, but seems
very difficult to research. The manufacturer was
apparently Leschen. More hints here and here.
What can you find out about this and what, if
ZILLIONS OF LOCOMOTIVES - Apparently are
temporarily stashed in the Marsh Station area
owing to the collapse of the coal industry. These
are undoubtedly patrolled and any trespassing is
likely vigorously enforced, so telephoto lenses are
a must. Also in the area is the actual Marsh Station
water tower, which is no longer functional.
N 31.99980 W 110.57945
ARIZONA TUNNELS - Are rather scarce, especially
those of hiker interest. A list of the top ten AZ tunnels
can be found here. Of local interest is the McEniry
Tunnel, which is really a short mineshaft left over
from an outrageous investment scam. Also locally
are several remaining tunnels on the Morenci Southern
Railroad route. The Mule Creek Tunnel is long gone,
but some additional photos can be found here. Wider
afield is the Claypool Tunnel reachable by foot or
mountain bike only. The railroad tunnel near the coke
ovens can be an interesting trip. Plus the Mongollon
Tunnel. Whose 390 trail starts from Washington Park.
Some little known and highly scenic Gilman Tunnels
are over in New Mexico.
McEniry Tunnel N 32.77583 W 109.86747
Morenci Southern Tunnels N 33.01706 W 109.29760
Mule Creek Tunnel Site N 33.04987 W 109.0
Claypool Tunnel N 33.30344 W 111.08050
Coke Oven Tunnel N 33.09465 W 111.18406
Mongollon 390 Tunnel N 34.43467 W 111.27297
Gillman Tunnels N 35.73394 W 106.76492
ZEOLITE PAPER - A good intro to the San Simon
Zeolite deposits can be found here. Previously mined
deposits can often be identified on Acme Mapper by
large regular areas that are extremely white.
SALT WELL AND SANDS DRAW - Many of
the San Simon aquaic resources are now dry,
caused by drought and declining water tables.
But one group of a dozen small ponds remains
in the Salt Well area and sometimes still
MORE ON FOSSILS - The nearest public access
fossil site I know about lies northeast of Payson.
And your best ( and most reasonable ) beginner's
project would be the crinoid stems common to the
Mississipian Escabrosa Limestone. There are several
fossil study areas in the Gila Valley, and your best
route to participation is likely as a BLM volumteer.
Here are some published resources...
FOUR WHEELING - Endless opportunities here
in the Gila Valley, most notably the legendary Rug
Road. As beginner's projects, try the Frye Mesa
Road or either of the Ash Creek Roads. For an
intermediate challenge, there's the superb Lee
Trail in Bonita Creek. And what remains of the now
largely impassable Weech Toll Road. Further afield
and demanding gonzo vehicles are the Box Canyon /
Martinez area near Florence. But the nearby Luge
is now both impassible and closed to vehicles. Lots
more, of course, in the Lower Bradshaws and the
"must do" Blody Basin Road.
Rug Road 32.82741 -110.46379
Frye Mesa 32.75536 -109.83547
Ash Creek #1 32.77301 -109.86092
Ash Creek #2 32.51351 -110.25973
Lee Trail 33.06146 -109.57901
Weech Toll 32.79765 -109.88830
Box Martinez 33.15924 -111.20342
Lower Bradshaws 34.05305 -112.32126
Bloddy Basin 34.15668 -111.82288
( update continuing )
Please email your suggestions to me.
|Coronado National Forest Trails:||
The condition, ease of use and maintenance of Coronado National
Forest trails is very much dependent on floods, fires, and funding.
Here is a list of some of their currently maintained trails:
MOUNT GRAHAM -
Gibson ( top access blocked )
Grant Hill Loop
Round the Mountain
SANTA TERESAS --
None listed, but there is a fairly good
trail to and over the top.
While there are numerous hiking trails of varying conditions
on local BLM lands, the only signed and promoted nearby
ones I know of are their...
Dankworth Village Cultural Trail
Turkey Creek Cliff Dwelling
Watchable Wildlife Platform
Gila Box Water Trail
|Gila Valley Places to Best Avoid:||
We might complement our above lists of Gila Valley day
hikes with this list of places to avoid that you will NOT
want to visit..
SPEAR RANCH -- Both access roads to Goat Hill and Lefthand
Canyon are now posted, one with a new gate.
N 32.83805 W 109.91396
N 32.83825 W 109.91668
SPENAZUMA MINE -- 1900's gold mining scam is a private
working ranch on which visitors are strongly discouraged.
ARIVAIPA CANYON -- The eastern access problem caused
by a locked gate from a few-chips-shy-of-a-full-board land
owner has been resolved. But you should always have a BLM
permit and should always check for access.
TOP OF MT GRAHAM -- Red squirrel refugium access
closed by the Bureau of sports fisheries and wildlife,
among other agencies. Trailhead access to some northern
trails ( especially Gibson ) are blocked and prohibited.
MINE TOURS -- As of this posting, there are no formal tours
of either the FM Safford or the FM Morenci mines. A
reopening of the Morenci tour is possibly planned. An overview
site of the Morenci Mine remains accessible.
OWENS-COLVINS -- Casual visitors are discouraged at this
private ranch site.
EDEN HOT SPRINGS -- Once hippy paradise is now part
of a working cattle ranch. Apparently large group reservations
remain possible on an advance fee basis. The hotel itself
FREEPORT McMORAN -- Due to copper mine development,
many access points north to the Gila Mountains now have
locked gates, guardhouses, or are otherwise restricted.
THATCHER HOT WELL -- Has been plugged with concrete
over a nudes-vs-prudes squabble. You still can visit, but there
is nothing there.
TERRORTOWN -- Once the Playas smelter company town is
now used by the Department of Homeland security as a a
training facility for counterterrorism and urban hostage situations.
BEAR SPRINGS -- Old hippy commune and declining artesian
spring site seems to have locked access gates and very little
left. May be under new private development.
MESCAL WARM SPRINGS -- It is only 85 degrees, has
very little water and is extremely brushy. Very difficult
access involves res permits, rough, and quite steep roads
before a long hike. Plus posted property. Neither soakable
MT. GRAHAM OBSERVATORY -- While scheduled tours
and individual invitees are welcome, trespassers will be
prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law by an aggressive
24/7 onsite police force.
THE BLUE SILO -- Until visitation rights become obvious,
this one is best treated and respected as a private home. It
sure looks like it would make a dandy WiFi coffee house
with a superb view.
THE LOWER COALFIELDS -- Arizona's "other" coal
mining area lies on the res in the mineral strip. Most access
is strongly discouraged. The coal is apparently of very little
commercial value. Otherwise, it would have been stolen off
the indians long ago.
GUTHRIE -- One time ghost town and train watering
station is now a group of ranchettes, complete with
"Neighborhood Watch" signs.
111 RANCH PALEO SITE -- This scientific paleo fossil
research study in the Dry Mountain area remains access
BLM GLYPTODONT SITE -- This scientific paleo fossil
research area in the San Simon River basin remains access
DISCOVERY PARK RAILROAD -- Inactive because of
outrageous insurance issues.
CARPENTER'S CAVE -- Between the ranch and res access
hassles and the technical climb, this tiny shelter cave is not
TRAMWAY PIMA BASE STATION -- This appears to
have been recently sold and seems to be private property
under development. The two story duck blind is somewhat
of a mystery. More on the tramway here.
WATSON WASH HOT WELL -- Now sealed by BLM
over wild parties, drugs, shootings, fires, and nudes-
versus-prudes issues. The Daley Hot Well also seems
to have been downgraded.
RES ACCESS -- There are all sorts of recent horror
stories over visits to the San Carlos indian reservation.
Ranging from gang intimidation to shakedowns to
extreme permit enforcement to outrageous fines. But
their casino will still be happy to take your money.
BRUSHY MOUNTAIN -- Casual drop in visitors are
rather unlikely to be welcome at this ancient cold war
relic. Oversize kitchen and dorm facilities are sometimes
used for such nefarious government purposes as BLM
team building exercises. A perfect location for a pulp
novel UFO stash.
WINTER ON THE MOUNTAIN -- Mount Graham access
is closed during winter to vehicles beyond Shannon
Campground. Skiers, snowmobiles, and hikers are usually
( update continuing )
Please send any additions, comments, or corrections to mailto:email@example.com.
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