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Coke Ovens - Via Cottonwood & Box Canyon, AZPrint Full | Basic
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Description 17 Triplogs 2 Topics
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 Superior - Southwest
Statistics
Difficulty 2.5    Route Finding
Distance Round Trip 0.55 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,709 feet
Elevation Gain -48 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 0.79
Interest Historic
Randal Schulhauser
Descriptions 71
Routes 97
Photos 9,251
Trips 946 map ( 8,429 miles )
Age 54
Location Ahwatukee, AZ
Photos
Rated Viewed All Mine Friends
4  2014-02-01 topohiker
11  2013-11-30
 Coke Ovens 4x4 Loop from
 Nightstalker
4  2012-09-30
 Asbestos Point
 djmason9
28  2012-03-24 topohiker
7  2011-12-22 CannondaleKid
20  2011-11-11
 Coke Ovens via Battle Axe
 CannondaleKid
15  2011-10-08
 Cochran-Gila River
 chumley
7  2009-12-17 AZLOT69
75  2007-02-26 AZLOT69
25  2005-11-12 Randal Schulhaus
10  2003-09-24
 Cochran Coke Ovens from P
 chumley
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Seasons - Autumn to Spring
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Water
Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
1.4  Martinez Cyn via Cottonwood & Box Cyn
2.0  Box Canyon East Loop
2.1  Mineral Mtn Quad - Peak 3306 Thumb
3.0  Ajax Peak 4356 - Mineral Mountains
3.0  Peak 3937 - Mineral Mountain Quad
3.0  Peak 4202 - Mineral Mountain Quad
[ View More! ]
Culture
     Coke Ovens
     Mining Equipment
     Pioneer Industry
     Railroad Right-of-Way
     Stone Dwelling
Space

Hotter than mesquite!
by Randal Schulhauser

Mobile Version
Notice! It was reported in this forum thread that the Coke Ovens are on private property that is closed to the public.

This is more a destination than a hiking trail per se, but an iconic Arizona location nonetheless! The ghost town of Cochran is nearby and could be combined with a visit to the Coke Ovens as well as hiking North or South Butte. NOTE: 4WD vehicle is a must and traveling with 2 or more vehicles strongly recommended. ALSO NOTE: State Trust Land Permit required. Information is listed further down the page above directions.

If "getting there" is half the fun, combining a trip to the Coke Ovens with a loop through Cottonwood Canyon and Box Canyon will double the fun. Cottonwood Canyon Road is located between milepost 144 & 145 along Hwy 79 at the flag pole. The "No Trespassing" signs don't apply if you have a State Trust Land Permit. A red flag up the pole indicates the National Guard may be practicing nearby with live ammunition. Follow Cottonwood Canyon Road until you reach the T-intersection with Mineral Mountain Road. Take Mineral Mountain Road south until you reach another T-intersection with Box Canyon Road. Take Box Canyon Road south until you reach yet another T-intersection at GPS co-ordinates 33o 08.984N, 111o 12.085W. This is the turn-off for the Coke Ovens and Martinez Mill & Mines. Follow the trail up over the saddle. Take the turn-off at GPS co-ordinates 33o 09.193N, 111o 10.610W to follow the loop to the Coke Ovens.

The Arizona Highways book "Arizona Ghost Towns and Mining Camps" by Philip Varney speculates that the five charcoal kilns were built around 1882 along the Gila River by the Pinal Consolidated Mining Company to turn mesquite into charcoal to be used in the ore smelting process. Charcoal burns hotter and longer than the mesquite wood from which it was derived. Smelters preferred coke, which is derived from coal, because it would burn even hotter and longer than charcoal. The abundance of mesquite in this Gila Valley location was exploited by the mining company in an attempt to obtain economic advantage. It should be pointed out that "Coke Ovens" is a complete misnomer and "Charcoal Kilns" would be most accurate to describe these bee hive structures.

Cochran was a mining and railroad town along the Phoenix and Eastern Railroad (and later, the Santa Fe, Prescott & Phoenix Railroad) beside the Gila River. The Silver Bell and Copper Butte mines combined with trade from nearby ranches created a town of about 100 people when the first post office was established at the site in 1904. Closure of the mines and post office in 1915 caused the town to vanish almost overnight.

Precisely when the Coke Ovens ceased operation is unknown, but homesteader William Fred Jenkins actually lived in one of the kilns in the 1930's. In 1971, these five unique structures standing over 30 feet high 72 feet in circumference were placed on the National Registry of Historic Places. In the 1980's, an attempt to integrate the kilns into a guest cottage/bed and breakfast operation was made. When you explore the kilns today you can notice the alterations such as concrete floors, door frames and windows to support this make-over. I can not find any records as to how successful this venture was.

On the return trek, continue along Box Canyon south towards the village of Price located along the Gila River wash. Follow Price Road back to Hwy 79 and the town of Florence.

Many off-roading guides indicate that the Coke Ovens sit on private land. No access restrictions were encountered on our recent visit. This route could be an interesting mountain bike journey, or a base camp for some interesting hiking opportunities in a remote location. Enjoy!

-

    Directions Preferred Months Nov Dec Jan Feb
    Water / Source:Gila River is nearby!
    Preferred Start9 AM Sunrise6:36am Sunset5:41pm
    Road / VehicleStrictly 4x4
    Fees / Permit
    AZ State Land Recreational Permits are available for an individual ($15.00), or a family limited to two adults and children under the age of 14 ($20.00). Permits are valid for one year from the date of purchase. Exceptions to this requirement are licensed hunters actively pursuing game in season and certain archaeological activities permitted by the Arizona State Museum. Recreation under this permit is limited to hiking, horseback riding, picnics, bicycling, photography, sightseeing, bird watching, and camping. Permits can be obtained through the mail by calling 602-364-ASLD(2753) or by visiting the Land Department office in Phoenix.




    Land Parcel Map

    Directions
    Print Version
    To hike
    Av Time (off-roading to coke ovens, 1-way) - 3 hours

    From Phoenix take Superstition Freeway (Hwy 60) east approximately 43 miles to Florence Junction. Take Hwy 79 south towards Florence approximately 5 1/2 miles to Cottonwood Canyon Road turn-off.

    GPS route summary:
    1. Hwy 79/Cottonwood Canyon Rd. turn- off; 33o 10.745'N, 111o 21.129'W, mile 0.00, el 1768 ft.
    2. Cottonwood Canyon/Mineral Mountain Road junction; 33o 12.160'N, 111o 13.480'W, mile 8.10, el 2397 ft.
    3. Mineral Mountain Road/Box Canyon Road junction; 33o 10.094'N, 111o 12.083'W, mile 11.21, el 2297 ft.
    4. Box Canyon/Coke Ovens turn-off; 33o 08.984'N, 111o 12.085'W, mile 12.68, elevation 2070 ft.
    5. North Martinez Spring turn-off; 33o 09.193'N, 111o 10.610'W, mile 14.65, elevation 2352 ft.
    6. Coke Ovens Loop 1st turn-off; 33o 07.518'N, 111o 10.253'W, mile 17.13, elevation 2021 ft.
    7. Coke Ovens Loop 2nd turn-off; 33o 07.340'N, 111o 10.309'W, mile 17.48, elevation 2156 ft.
    8. Coke Ovens; 33o 06.246'N, 111o 09.901'W, mile 19.07, elevation 1709 ft.
    9. Box Canyon Road - Price Road junction; 33o 05.811'N, 111o 14.203'W, mile 31.47, elevation 1581 ft.
    10. Hwy 79/Price Road turn-off; 33o 03.625'N, 111o 22.729'W, mile 41.30, elevation 1486 ft.

    See GPS overview map and detailed map for off-road route to the Coke Ovens.
    Login for Mapped Driving Directions
    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.
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