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Sunflower Mine Professional Review and Guide
"See well-preserved mercury mine along scenic forest road. Stock SUVs can reach Sunflower Mine. Difficult portion of the trail begins later. It becomes rocky and narrow with tight brush in places. One narrow shelf road with loose rock. Slippery when wet."
--Charles A. Wells, Guide to Arizona Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails (FunTreks).
We ran this trail yesterday with 6 Jeeps and a LandRover. It was a little rough the first half but the unlifted LandRover kept up fine. The 2nd half of the trail was more challenging and only the Jeeps ventured that. It was a little challenging for the one Jeep that didn't have lockers and was a stick shift but he did fine. Great trail for jeeps with a fun destination half way to explore and have lunch. We started the trail about 10:30 and came out around 3pm.
I did this trail twice this year... (2009) I did it in a 1979 Ford F-150 4x4 with a 6 inch lift and 33 inch tires. We had no trouble until after the first mine shaft. the road was washed out in several places on the side of the mountain and was to nearow for my truck. My girlfriend walked the road to the 2nd mine shaft but that was as far as we went. We back tracked to the wash where the rusted up car or station wagon is and hiked up the wash. We could see the mine structures but couldnt get to them. If we had more time before dark I think we could have walked the road passed the washed out area and made it all the way to the mine. Does anyone know how far the turn off for thr mine is from the 2nd shaft?
I took my Jeep on this trail last weekend (June 9th 2007), I had a blast running on it. If you like rock climbing then this is your trail. There is a problem with this trail ... as of last weekend the trail has a rock-slide on the West side at about 8 mile's in. This is where the trail run's along the side of mountain on a shelf edge. Like I said I was in a jeep and couldn't get thru. The trail is open to the mine's and you can run the bottom creek bed but you'll have to turn around. Still worth the trip.
This was a great trail. Very very easy for locked rigs. My open diff'd truck had a bit of trouble in a couple of spots. Overall though, it's not an overly technical trail. Lower clearance trucks risk rocker panel damage in the creek bed. Go slowly and soak in the amazing scenery. You don't want to miss the mineshafts that are scattered all over the trail. At the bottom of the big hill, there's a great spot to stop in the shade, with 2 mineshafts to your left. On the other side of the creek bed is the foundation from an old log-home. A little further straight past the mineshafts are the remnants of an old Dodge truck and an old Station Wagon type car that had been washed away in a flood many years ago - be careful around them, as they are jagged and rusty. It's a great family trail, and it traverses many different types of terrain.
I rode this trail alone last summer (5/05) on my 4x4 quad and I do not recommend doing that! Of course, I got through it just fine but there are hazards and you may need a buddy to help move a couple of rocks around. The trail itself is a great ride. There are three mine shafts you can see right off the trail. I wanted to go inside them but, as I mentioned, I rode this alone. It appeared to me that no one has been here for a VERY long time. The west side of the loop gets very rough for quite some time and that's where you will see the mine shafts. I kept thinking "this HAS GOT to get better pretty soon" but it didn't! I recommend going uphill on the west side and back down on the east, where the trail is just a smooth dirt road. When you get to the top of the hill the view is fantastic! It may take four hours in a jeep, but I did it in 2:45! Leave more time to check things out. ENJOY!
P.S. If anybody knows any good trails on the Mogollon Rim, and I know there are alot of them, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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