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Gunsight Pass Professional Review and Guide
"Old mining road with beautiful views from Gunsight Pass and Lopez Pass at the top of the Santa Rita Mountains. This is a popular ATV area. Make sure you stay on numbered routes only and follow Tread Lightly guidelines. Stop at Helvetia Townsite—not much left but a few adobe walls. Examine historic gravesites in Helvetia Cemetery. Narrow, rocky trail climbs steeply to an elevation over 5,000 feet. Rutted with loose rock in several places. Suitable for aggressive stock vehicles with high ground clearance. Some backcountry driving experience recommended. Don’t go alone."
--Charles A. Wells, Guide to Arizona Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails (FunTreks).
I got a new JK after not having a a Jeep for the last five years. Entered the trail with 27 miles on the odometer. We had information for this trail from a book I just picked up, copywrighted in 2012, roads were blocked I presume for mining equipment in some ares so we just started driving. There were a good amount of alternative routes to explore. Great day for the new jeep and my five year, two year and six month old first off road experience. They had a blast!!
Gunsight Pass has quickly become one of our favorite trails to ride because of the scenery and it's close to our home. This trail is not difficult so long as you take your time and think things through; there is potential to get into trouble. We like going east to west and stop to see the ruins of the old Helvetia town site. Cool trail, definitely put it on your to do list.
Vehicle used = stock 2006 F-350 Superduty 4X4. There are many challenging sections on this route for a full sized pickup. On the plus it is a whole lot of fun. I got as far as the washout section (11.3 miles) without any damage but broke my plastic running boards on a high break-over. At two spots I added rock piles to the side of the road to keep from sliding into the ditch. Brush has encroached the trail at many locations and you will get some new brush stripes.
I love this trail! Absolutely beautiful views from the pass. East to West is the easier direction.
I sure hope we don't lose great trail this to the Rosemont mine.
I think this is a very good intermediate trail. There are a few obstacles of washed-out road that aren't too difficult but a little challenging. There are lots of sections of rocky driving which are fun and lots of good scenery up to the gunsight. The fun intermediate side is the part that runs from Sahrita to the top of the pass. Most of the other side from the top to highway 83 is a graded dirt road maintained for the Rosemont mine and mining equipment to travel so its not challenging or nearly as scenic. This is a good trail to practice before moving up to the difficult trails and its decently long to give you plenty of time to practice.
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