Backcountry Adventures Arizona  by Peter Massey & Jeanne Wilson

Backcountry Adventures: Arizona Guide Book

by Peter Massey & Jeanne Wilson (Adler Publishing )
Backcountry Adventures Arizona  by Peter Massey & Jeanne Wilson
Backcountry Adventures: Arizona provides detailed directions for 157 backcountry roads throughout Arizona, all suitable for stock sport utility vehicles. All you need is an SUV, a sense of adventure, and your copy of this book. Backcountry Adventures: Arizona guides readers along 2,671 miles of the state’s most remote and scenic back roads, from the lowlands of the Yuma Desert to the high plains of the Kaibab Plateau. Trail history is colorized through the accounts of Indian warriors like Cochise and Geronimo; trailblazers; and the famous lawman Wyatt Earp. Contains 157 trails, 576 pages, and 524 photos.

© 2006 Peter Massey and Jeanne Wilson/Adler Publishing . All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Backcountry Adventures: Arizona" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 155.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 155.

This wide graded road allows passenger vehicles to travel through some spectacular desert scenery on a seldom-used trail. The road passes across a wide plain toward the Gila Bend Mountains. It winds within the mountain range, passing the prominent Fourth of July Butte and Yellow Medicine Butte. There are a few old mines located along the trail. One of the closest, the remains of the Dixie Mine, is only 0.1 miles north of the graded road. Little is left except some deep shafts, concrete foundations, and tailings piles. For rock hounds, some nice specimens of pale banded agate can be found scattered in the region of Fourth of July Butte. Special Attractions: Robbins Butte Wildlife Area; Easy trail located close to Phoenix; Gillespie Dam. This trail is graded dirt but suitable for a normal passenger vehicle. It usually has gentle grades, is fairly wide, and has very shallow water crossings (if any).
Gila Bend, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 45.9
This graded gravel road is one of only two backcountry roads within Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. It is a loop that travels through prolific and varied Sonoran desert vegetation before climbing around the face of the Diablo Mountains on the edge of the Ajo Range. The drive is a one-way loop that commences 1.9 miles from the start of the trail. Special Attractions: Parker Canyon Lake; Easy road linking Sonoita with Mexican Border Road. This trail is graded dirt but suitable for a normal passenger vehicle. It usually has gentle grades, is fairly wide, and has very shallow water crossings (if any).
Lukeville, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 18.9
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This well-used, graded dirt road is the primary access road to the west side of Alamo Lake. Alamo Lake State Park, a popular spot, is on the east side of the lake; however a national wildlife area on the west is just as popular with fishermen. It is primarily included as an easy, scenic trail to a seldom-used part of Alamo Lake. Many other 4WD trails in the area start or finish from this road. Special Attractions: Access to Alamo Lake and Alamo Lake National Wildlife Refuge; Joshua tree forest; Rockhounding for onyx and rhyolite. This trail is graded dirt but suitable for a normal passenger vehicle. It usually has gentle grades, is fairly wide, and has very shallow water crossings (if any).
Wenden, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 53.9
This short trail climbs up the twisting road to the Apache Maid Fire Lookout in the Coconino National Forest. The trail, maintained by the forest service as access for the tower, is normally slightly rutted but is generally suitable for high-clearance vehicles. Special Attractions: Panoramic 360-degree views from the Apache Maid Fire Lookout; Connects with other 4WD trails within the Coconino National Forest. High-clearance vehicles are preferred, but not necessary. This trail is dirt roads, but may have rocks, grades, water crossings, or ruts that make clearance a concern in a normal passenger vehicle. The trail is fairly wide, so that passing is possible at almost any point along the trail. Mud is not a concern under normal weather conditions.
Sedona, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 4
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This trail—one of Arizona’s classic scenic drives—is high on the must-do lists of most people, locals and tourists alike. The drive passes by lakes, canyons, old mining towns, and cliff dwellings. The drive starts northwest of Apache Junction at the entrance to the Lost Dutchman State Park. The first 18 miles of the route are paved, but it is nevertheless an extremely scenic drive as it passes beside the first of the three lakes along the trail, Canyon Lake. The Superstition Mountains rise up to the south of the trail; these spectacular mountains were formed about 29 million years ago during the Tertiary Period and are mainly composed of volcanic ash and basalt. Special Attractions: Beautiful trail skirting the southern edge of the Superstition Mountains; Panoramic views south from Montana Mountain; Moderately challenging trail with shelf road and interesting climbs. This trail is graded dirt but suitable for a normal passenger vehicle. It usually has gentle grades, is fairly wide, and has very shallow water crossings (if any).
Apache Junction, AZ - Mountain Biking,Off-Highway Drives,Scenic Drives - Trail Length: 38.5
This short trail is part of a through route that connects Barfoot Park to Pine Canyon Trail near the Methodist Camp lower down in Pine Canyon. However, Pine Creek heavily washed out a few years ago and a short section is considered impassable to most vehicles, most unmodified 4WDs included. In the 1870s and 1880s, rustling cattle from Mexico for resale in Arizona was a common activity. Rustler Park was a favorite stopover point for the rustlers, who had time to re-brand, rest up, and feed the cattle on the park’s higher-altitude green pastures. Special Attractions: Easy trail traveling through many life zones, ultimately climbing to 9,531 feet; Cool summer camping opportunities; Summer wildflower viewing; Trout fishing in Riggs Flat Lake. High-clearance 4WDs are recommended, though most stock SUVs are acceptable. Expect a rough road surface with rocks larger than 6 inches, but there will be a reasonable driving line available. Patches of mud are possible but can be readily negotiated; sand may be deep and require lower tire pressures. There may be stream crossings up to 12 inches deep, substantial sections of single-lane shelf road, moderate grades, and sections of moderately loose road surface.
Rodeo, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 3.1
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This trail provides a longer, slightly easier route to view the Cochran Coke Ovens and can be combined with the shorter, very difficult Cochran Coke Ovens Trail to form a loop. This trail is more suitable for longer vehicles or ones with side steps or low-hanging brush bars than the very difficult-rated trail. In its own right, it provides spectacular views of desert ranges and canyon scenery, and there are many challenging sections to add driving interest along the way. Special Attractions: Remote, less-traveled entrance to the main El Camino del Diablo route; Western end of historic immigrant trail; Tinajas Altas Pass; Access to a network of 4WD trails. High-clearance 4WDs are required. This trail has either a rough, rutted surface, rocks up to 9 inches, mud and deep sand that may be impassable for inexperienced drivers, or stream crossings up to 18 inches deep. Certain sections may be steep enough to cause traction problems, and you may encounter very narrow shelf roads with steep drop-offs and tight clearance between rocks or trees.
Superior, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 12.2
This trail is a spur within the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. All the trails within the refuge are incredibly scenic and remote. This one is no exception. It travels through classic Sonoran desert scenery and vegetation; in spring the wildflowers and cacti bring splashes of color to the region. The trail leaves from a point southwest of the Castle Dome Mines Museum and turns off the graded Castle Dome Road to become a formed, single-track trail. It runs southeast along the western face of the Castle Dome Mountains, passing the wooden- lined shafts and adits of the Colorado Mine. Across from the mine remains, on the right-hand side of the trail, there is a short row of graves marked with simple wooden crosses. Special Attractions: Historic King of Arizona (Kofa) Mining District; Panoramic views over King Valley, the Tank Mountains, and the Kofa Mountains; Rugged Engesser Pass; Wildlife-viewing and remote desert experience. High-clearance 4WDs are preferred, but any high-clearance vehicle is acceptable. Expect a rough road surface; mud and sand are possible but will be easily passable. You may encounter rocks up to 6 inches in diameter, a loose road surface, and shelf roads, though these will be wide enough for passing or will have adequate pull-offs.
Quartzsite, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 14.5
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This moderate trail passes between two wilderness areas: Big Horn Mountains Wilderness to the south and Hummingbird Springs Wilderness to the north. The trail leaves from paved Eagle Eye Road. Initially, it is small and hard to follow in places, but as other trails gradually join the main trail, it becomes well defined and easy to follow. The portion of the trail that travels the vehicle corridor through the wilderness areas is the only trail that does so. Inevitably, it sees more vehicle traffic. Special Attractions: Excellent rockhounding for chalcedony and fire agate; Views and access to Saddle Mountain. High-clearance 4WDs are preferred, but any high-clearance vehicle is acceptable. Expect a rough road surface; mud and sand are possible but will be easily passable. You may encounter rocks up to 6 inches in diameter, a loose road surface, and shelf roads, though these will be wide enough for passing or will have adequate pull-offs.
Salome, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 24.1
This spectacular winding trail offers many moderately steep hill climbs and descents as it winds along the ridge tops within the Tonto National Forest. After 0.8 miles the trail drops in standard to become a small, well-used, formed trail and it follows alongside Big Maggie May Creek, climbing to the ridge tops above it. There are views back to Cramm Mountain and down into the wash. Special Attractions: Extremely pretty, moderately rated trail through classic desert scenery; Views of New River Mesa and the New River; Interesting old line cabin. High-clearance 4WDs are recommended, though most stock SUVs are acceptable. Expect a rough road surface with rocks larger than 6 inches, but there will be a reasonable driving line available. Patches of mud are possible but can be readily negotiated; sand may be deep and require lower tire pressures. There may be stream crossings up to 12 inches deep, substantial sections of single-lane shelf road, moderate grades, and sections of moderately loose road surface.
New River, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 9
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Bighorn Pass Trail is one of the more challenging trails within the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. It leaves from the graded dirt Pipeline Road and passes by the small stone Kofa Cabin a mile later. It runs through the Kofa Mountains along a ridge top before descending to follow the wide, gravelly Alamo Wash. You will pass Owl Head Dam on the right, which normally contains some water, just before a short spur leads out of the wash to the Kofa Monument. This rock cairn commemorates the formation of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge on January 25, 1939. Special Attractions: Scenic trail linking two major areas—the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge and the Little Horn Mountains; Seldom-used, easy trail in the rugged Little Horn Mountains; Hovatter Mine mill site and homestead site. High-clearance 4WDs are required. This trail has either a rough, rutted surface, rocks up to 9 inches, mud and deep sand that may be impassable for inexperienced drivers, or stream crossings up to 18 inches deep. Certain sections may be steep enough to cause traction problems, and you may encounter very narrow shelf roads with steep drop-offs and tight clearance between rocks or trees.
Quartzsite, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 17.6
This graded road connects Boynton Pass Trail to Cottonwood without ever touching the highway. The trail surface is roughly graded dirt that becomes extremely greasy when wet and is often impassable, even to 4WD vehicles. The trail starts in red rock country and gradually wraps its way down to the Verde River Valley. The differing views from the ends of the trail provide great contrasts. As the road descends gradually toward Clarkdale along a wide shelf road, Jerome can be seen clinging to the side of Mingus Mountain on the other side of the Verde Valley. Below, the Verde River cuts a deep swath through the valley. Special Attractions: Views of Verde Valley and Mingus Mountain; Tuzigoot National Monument. High-clearance vehicles are preferred, but not necessary. This trail is dirt roads, but may have rocks, grades, water crossings, or ruts that make clearance a concern in a normal passenger vehicle. The trail is fairly wide, so that passing is possible at almost any point along the trail. Mud is not a concern under normal weather conditions.
Sedona, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 18.5
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This well-graded road makes a wide loop around Bill Williams Mountain, which like the town of Williams was named after the infamous and reclusive mountain man. The cinder-surfaced road is suitable for passenger vehicles in dry weather and is a popular drive from spring through fall. The road may be open past the dates listed if there is little or no snow. It is not gated shut—just allowed to close naturally when it snows. There are some very good campsites along the first part of the road under the pine trees on the edge of the meadows. Special Attractions: Views of Bill Williams Mountain; Fall colors and views of wildlife along an easy loop road; Waterfowl watching at Coleman Lake. This trail is graded dirt but suitable for a normal passenger vehicle. It usually has gentle grades, is fairly wide, and has very shallow water crossings (if any).
Williams, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 17.4
The Black Canyon region encompasses much in the way of historical interest: Indian pictographs, early settlements, and a violent chapter of the Pleasant Valley Wars. Throw in an easy, graded trail, a plethora of backcountry campsites, and a secluded lake for trout fishing and there is truly something for everyone. The Black Canyon Trail leaves Arizona 260 near Forest Lakes and initially follows FR 300, the continuation of The Mogollon Rim Road, and a section of the General Crook Trail. Passing by the Black Canyon Rim Campground, the trail follows the dirt road through ponderosa pine forests along Black Canyon. Special Attractions: Black Canyon Lake; Graves of three men from the Pleasant Valley Wars and of early settlers; Polimana Indian Pictographs and Black Canyon Rock Shelter. This trail is graded dirt but suitable for a normal passenger vehicle. It usually has gentle grades, is fairly wide, and has very shallow water crossings (if any).
Heber, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 16.8
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This graded road runs along Black Creek Valley, parallel to paved Indian Road 12. It is a well-used road because it accesses several houses. The valley is wide and shallow, and the meandering, often dry Black Creek is to the east. The Chuska Mountains are to the east of the valley, just across the state line in New Mexico. The trail ends on Indian Road 12 a short distance into New Mexico, at the entrance to Red Lake, a popular fishing and camping place. Special Attractions: Easy trail running along a wide, scenic valley; Camping and fishing at Red Lake. This trail is graded dirt but suitable for a normal passenger vehicle. It usually has gentle grades, is fairly wide, and has very shallow water crossings (if any).
Fort Defiance, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 11.6
This easy, formed trail runs in a straight line along a wide ridge connecting Mexican Border Road with Parker Canyon Lake Road. The trail is open and offers good views down into Bodie Canyon on the east. Further up, the trail follows alongside Jones Canyon on the west. Special Attractions: Remains of Sunnyside ghost town; Sunnyside Cemetery; Hiking trail access to Miller Peak Wilderness and the Copper Glance Mine; Views into Sunnyside Canyon and the Huachuca Mountains. High-clearance vehicles are preferred, but not necessary. This trail is dirt roads, but may have rocks, grades, water crossings, or ruts that make clearance a concern in a normal passenger vehicle. The trail is fairly wide, so that passing is possible at almost any point along the trail. Mud is not a concern under normal weather conditions.
Sierra Vista, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 6.4
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This easygoing trail passes through some spectacular, remote scenery east of the Agua Fria River as well as in the Agua Fria National Monument. In dry weather it is suitable for highclearance vehicles, but in wet weather it becomes impassable, as signs at the start and finish of the trail warn. In addition the ford through the Agua Fria River near the western end of the trail can be temporarily impassable after heavy rain. Special Attractions: Access to the Verde River; Easy, scenic trail along Indian Spring Wash. High-clearance vehicles are preferred, but not necessary. This trail is dirt roads, but may have rocks, grades, water crossings, or ruts that make clearance a concern in a normal passenger vehicle. The trail is fairly wide, so that passing is possible at almost any point along the trail. Mud is not a concern under normal weather conditions.
New River, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 24.7
This trail, close to Wickenburg, is popular with locals and visitors for its stunning, varied scenery and a rare chance to dip your toes in a desert river. Although the river flows year-round, for much of the time it flows underground, leaving a wide, sandy, dry wash on the surface. Most of the year, the first part of the trail is deep sand with no water. Because the sand is deep, you will probably need to lower tire pressures. There are many vehicle tracks to follow—they all go the same way, so pick the best-looking route up the wash. Special Attractions: Ghost town of Stanton and historic Octave Mine; Old cemeteries at Octave and Weaver; Easy, quiet trail through spectacular desert scenery close to Wickenburg. High-clearance 4WDs are recommended, though most stock SUVs are acceptable. Expect a rough road surface with rocks larger than 6 inches, but there will be a reasonable driving line available. Patches of mud are possible but can be readily negotiated; sand may be deep and require lower tire pressures. There may be stream crossings up to 12 inches deep, substantial sections of single-lane shelf road, moderate grades, and sections of moderately loose road surface.
Wickenburg, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 12.7
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Although this trail is rated very difficult, only 1.3 miles in the narrow section of Box Canyon merit this rating. The remainder of the trail is pretty easy. However, given that this section is in the middle of the trail and there is no alternate way around it, the trail has been rated very difficult. The trail leaves US 60 and enters a military firing range. A notice board at the junction gives dates of live firing practice. In addition, a red flag is flown from the flagpole at the start of the trail when live firing is in progress. Most of this trail is on state land, and a valid permit is required. Special Attractions: Wooden and adobe cabins at the Martinez Mine; Tight, red-walled Martinez Canyon; Wide-ranging desert views and prolific desert vegetation. High-clearance 4WDs are required. This trail has either a rough, rutted surface, rocks up to 9 inches, mud and deep sand that may be impassable for inexperienced drivers, or stream crossings up to 18 inches deep. Certain sections may be steep enough to cause traction problems, and you may encounter very narrow shelf roads with steep drop-offs and tight clearance between rocks or trees.
Florence, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 25.4
This road leaves Sedona and travels through red rock country over Boynton Pass. Initially, the road is paved as it passes close to a resort and residential areas. It passes several hiking trailheads that lead into the wilderness areas to the north. The Boynton Canyon Trailhead also gives access to one of Sedona’s more famous vortices—the Boynton Canyon Vortex. Some believe that a vortex is an outflowing of the earth’s energy at a specific point and that each vortex has a unique energy. Vortices are often used as meditation sites and are thought to have spiritual qualities. The Boynton Canyon Vortex, a masculine-feminine vortex, is reputed to enhance the senses—in particular, psychic senses and past life memories. The energy is believed to be strongest around the knoll. Special Attractions: Palatki and Honanki Ruins and rock art; Very scenic road over Boynton Pass through red rock country; Boynton Canyon Vortex and Blue Door Vortex. High-clearance vehicles are preferred, but not necessary. This trail is dirt roads, but may have rocks, grades, water crossings, or ruts that make clearance a concern in a normal passenger vehicle. The trail is fairly wide, so that passing is possible at almost any point along the trail. Mud is not a concern under normal weather conditions.
Sedona, AZ - Off-Highway Drives - Trail Length: 10.5
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