Long ago a man named James W. Eddy had a dream to construct the Mineral Belt Railroad. The rail was to cross the state North to South. Starting in Nogales and up though Globe, then up the rim passing through Flagstaff continuing on up to the Utah border near Lees Ferry(the launching area for rafters into the Grand Canyon). In August 1883 work began on drilling a 3,100 foot tunnel to ascend the Mogollon Rim. 42 men labored all summer. After running low on funds twice
the railroad was abandoned. Today the entrance to the railroad tunnel keeps the story alive.
At the edge of the Rim is the trailhead. The trail goes straight down and the footing is loose. Sand and loose rock make the going tricky. Pass the second electric poll and cross the wash to your left. The wind takes advantage of the natural depression of the Rim. The day I hiked the trail seconds after leaving the Rim the wind kicked in. Once returning the second I stepped up on the Rim the wind ceased. The trail continues straight down and curves to the junction with the Railroad Tunnel Trail. Actually you have been following the Colonel Devin Trail from the Rim and the Tunnel Trail is a spur trail that starts a half mile down. From the rim you have just dropped 760 feet, now you will work your way back up 300. If the trail signs are in place follow them. If not the Tunnel Trail starts to go over and back up where as the Colonel Devin Trail starts a switchback down the wash. From the junction it is a quarter mile over and back up to the tunnel. The trail is steep in sections so please be careful. A dark black rock formation tricked my senses into believing I was near the Tunnel. Well not much further over the tunnel came into view. What appears to be a recently constructed ruin is on the east side of the entrance. Upon first examining the tunnel, extensive graffiti is sad to see. Cool air inside makes the tunnel a great resting spot! The floor is fine grain sand. Sit back and imagine the man power it must have taken to drill here in the 1880's! Return back to the trailhead. Enjoy the ride home through the dense Ponderosa Pines along the Rim.
Update 10/03/08 - dshillis adds "The building
next to the tunnel is the remains of a powder house." - May 26 1999 joe bartels