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San Francisco River View, AZ
route 26 4 0 0
Description 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
RatedFavorite   Wish List Region
 Alpine - South
Difficulty 1    Route Finding
Distance Round Trip 1.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,850 feet
Elevation Gain 20 feet
Accumulated Gain 60 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 2.1
Interest Perennial Creek
Author Preston Sands
Descriptions 167
Routes 149
Photos 5,504
Trips 1,156 map ( 6,002 miles )
Age 38
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Rated Viewed All Mine Friends
6  2010-01-28 Preston Sands
5  2009-12-03 Preston Sands
2  2008-07-10 Preston Sands
13  2008-05-22 Preston Sands
Trailhead Forecast
Historical Weather
Backpack - Possible - Not Popular
Seasons - ALL
Official Route
Alternative Routes
Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
1.5  Ash Spring Canyon
2.3  Evans Point-San Francisco River
4.1  Hickey Springs Trail #311
4.1  Pleasant Valley Trail #84
4.6  Clifton Peak
5.5  Frye Trail #12
[ View More! ]
     Desert Marigold
     Prickly Pear
     Longfellow Limestone
 Morenci Shale
Frisco Fun
by Preston Sands
Overview: This hike follows the roadbed of an aborted highway project from half a century ago, along the San Francisco River in eastern Arizona. Swimming possibilities, interesting geology, and far reaching views of the colorful San Francisco River canyon are the incentives for this short and easy hike.

Hike: At the end of the San Francisco River Road, a gate and some large boulders stop motor vehicles from continuing further. Park here, hike past the boulder blockade, and continue down the old highway grade. The hike immediately runs through a deep road cut, then emerges onto a shelf like grade, a couple of hundred feet above the San Francisco River. Outstanding views of the San Francisco River canyon begin at this point, and continue for the rest of the hike, with the grade staying high above the river. Large mesquite trees and cacti cover the wide grade of the old highway, funneling you onto a pathway at its center.

The grade makes a wide, sweeping curve to cross a colorful canyon of polished, purple rock, before turning north and crossing through a gate onto B.L.M. land at 0.6 miles. The nearly vertical terrain along the hike soon eases to a gentler, high desert hillside, where healthy prickly pear cacti frame views of lofty peaks towering above the San Francisco River.

The old highway grade and this hike both come to an end at 0.9 miles, where the highway crew ran out of money. A cow path leads a short distance further, before it too comes to an end on a steep hillside above the River. If you pick your route carefully from the end of the road or the cow path, you may be able to descend the steep hillside down to the San Francisco River, where there are excellent opportunities for swimming. Choose your route carefully, as there are hidden cliffs in some places.

The river bottom in this area has numerous sites for camping, among the cottonwood groves. A popular 4x4 road runs along the San Francisco River, which could provide an alternate return route. This 4x4 road connects with the San Francisco River Road at the beginning of this hike, next to the road block. Otherwise, return via the highway grade.
© 2008 - 2015

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.


    Map Drive
    Water see description
    Sun7:01am - 5:10pm
    Preferred Mar, Apr, Oct, Nov → Any
    RoadFR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay
    Permit $$

    Directions To hike
    From Safford, head east on Highway 70/191. 10 miles from Safford, the highway splits, turn left onto Highway 191 and follow it for another 23.75 miles to a highway junction known as 3-Way (old drive-in movie theater and store). Turn left to remain on Highway 191. From the 3-Way junction, head north on highway 191 for approximately 9.4 miles to milepost 163.9, in the town of Clifton (this point is just after crossing the 2nd railroad track and before the Circle K store). At milepost 163.9, turn right onto Zorilla Street, then make an immediate left onto Frisco Avenue. Frisco Avenue crosses a bridge over the San Francisco River at 0.55 miles, and becomes the San Francisco River Road (unsigned). Follow the San Francisco River Road to its end, about 6.8 miles from highway 191, where a side road drops downhill to the left. Stay on the highway grade. The trailhead (boulder blockade) is about 300 feet past the side road. (see hike description).
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
    page created by Preston Sands on May 27 2008 8:26 pm
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