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Quantrell Mine Trail, AZ

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Guide 19 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson S
2.7 of 5 by 6
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,190 feet
Elevation Gain 551 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,217 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.39
Interest Historic, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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12  2017-05-14
Elephant Head - South Approach
8  2017-05-14
Elephant Head - South Approach
12  2017-05-14
Elephant Head - South Approach
2  2014-02-21 wha
9  2013-03-24
Elephant Head with Little Elephant
12  2013-03-24
Elephant Head with Little Elephant
14  2013-01-05
Elephant Head - South Approach
10  2010-09-23 gummo
Page 1,  2
Author Jeffshadows
author avatar Guides 28
Routes 20
Photos 672
Trips 169 map ( 1,088 miles )
Age 41 Male Gender
Location Old Pueblo
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Mar, Feb, Apr → Early
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:09am - 6:27pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Gold? Silver? ...No chance. Amazing views? Oh yea!
by Jeffshadows

The Quantrell Mine is not unlike many other mines on the south side of the Santa Ritas. Places like Dunesque and Harshaw have stood the test of time and serve as reminders of what once drew men into these mountains. The Forest Service reports that Quantrell once produced large amounts of gold and silver in its better years. Today the only thing that sets it apart from the numerous other mines and prospects that litter the winding course that bears its name is its sheer size and the plurality of the works left on site. Quantrell boasts remains of loading works, three large tunnels, and a massive scree hill that can be seen on the Google satellite image of the area.

The Hike
The Quantell Mine trail begins at a junction with the Elephant Head Bike trail (FSR 930). The best way to reach the trail is to hike the first nine-tenths of a mile in from Agua Caliente Canyon along Elephant Head. The trail here is well-worn and route finding is easy. The trail is rocky and typical of many desert hiking trails, offering little protection from the sun. The views to the east of Mt. Hopkins and its Multiple Mirror Telescope are excellent. The trail climbs to a saddle behind Little Elephant Head peak and offers awesome mini-forests of Santa Rita Prickly Pear. The climb is gradual and offers no major obstacles or step-ups. At the saddle, a small, stoned-off side trail breaks west to the summit of Little Elephant Head. From the saddle, Elephant Head drops sharply into Chino Canyon. The goings seem like a respite from the previous climb, but provide for an exposed and fairly steep climb on your return trip. This section of trail seems to be the most adversely affected by the mountain bike traffic, as most of the bedrock is slick and the ground is beaten and slippery in many places. At just about nine-tenths of a mile the trail approaches a small bosque of mesquite and a trail marker sign. The Quantrell Mine trail climbs east (right) away and the Elephant Head trail continues down canyon. Turn right.

Now beyond the junction you are on the actual Quantrell Mine trail. The trail winds its way up loose rock and reaches the first of several old mines after about a quarter of a mile. This initial section of trail seems to see a lot of abuse by ATV traffic, and it makes the goings harder under loose and strewn rock and ruts in the trail. An OHV trail connects to Quantrell from Chino Canyon. Luckily, the trail beyond this first mine seems to only see use by bikes, equestrians, and hikers. The trail climbs away from the first mine and passes several more spectacular forests of Santa Rita Prickly Pear, before winding its way west and narrowing in places. Its easy to see how this was once a road traveled by motorized vehicles. Many of the minor canyons the trail encounters see it built up using crushed stone native to the area as support. In a couple of places these supports are crumbling or gone completely. The hills have washed down and trees sprung up, leaving the trail impassible to vehicles as it winds its way around to the west and below an unnamed peak. This section of trail climbs gradually, but relentlessly.

Shortly after winding back east, Quantrell Mine is visible off on the hillside below the minor peak to the south that houses a few television and cell phone towers. This final stretch of trail is pleasant and easygoing. You now enter juniper and pinyon and finally feel like you're actually in the Santa Ritas. A few paces before the mine a route marked by a large cairn breaks due west toward Elephant Head, and eventually achieves its summit. The trail approaches the mine and its large tailing piles after roughly four-tenths of a mile of following the ridge. The final section of trail winds its way north and then turns southeast to climb atop the mine tailings. Amazing views of Chino Canyon and Elephant Head dominate. Care should be exercised around the mine and its tailings.

Return the way you came. One note about the return course: When approaching the junction with the Elephant Head Trail it is easy for one to become confused and begin down Chino Canyon. The Quantrell Mine trail approaches and seamlessly becomes the down-canyon section of Elephant Head, whereas the section of Elephant Head that climbs back to the saddle takes a sharp right and immediately climbs away.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2008-06-07 Jeffshadows
    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Quantrell Mine Trail
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    There are two ways to access this trail according to the USFS description. I accessed the trail through Agua Caliente / Forest Road 183. This trail is significantly overgrown. I wore shorts and scratched up my legs pretty good. Be sure to wear long pants.

    I did not see any other hikers.

    I saw 2 piles of bear scat and one coyote scat. I saw a lizard, a humming bird, lots of flying beetles, butter flys and some sort of ground squirrel. Since I went one day after significant rain, there were lots and lots of desert flowers.
    Quantrell Mine Trail
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    last minute suggestion from johnlp to hike elephant head today
    this one has been on my list for a couple years now, and conditions seemed favorable
    john invited jj along and we were off
    set out a little after 8:00
    followed a trail, then an old mining road
    the hardest part of the hike was dropping down into chino canyon
    it was steep and loose
    up the other side was an easier grade with better footing
    great views of elephant head at the ridgeline
    the ridge leads to the base of the peak
    a great scramble up the granite - just pure fun
    one class four move toward the top
    i didn't feel any exposure, except for the gusty winds blowing me off course occasionally
    nice views from the summit of santa rita peaks and baboquivari
    a lot of elephant debris within a circle of rocks
    not in keeping with leave no trace, but neither is a summit register
    kind of fun to look at what people have left
    we didn't stay long, as we wanted to hit little elephant head on the return
    a couple of downclimbs, but good footing on the descent
    a 480 foot grind up from chino canyon, then back on the mining road to the little elephant head cutoff
    surprisingly good trail on this one; thought it would be less traveled
    an easier hike to the summit, also with good views and more wind gusts
    had a quick snack and headed back
    temps were fine, helped by a strong breeze and a little cloud cover at times
    lp and jj have been up here before, and it was nice of them to be willing to do it again
    stopped at bk tacos on the way home - yum
    just a great day, and this combo is one i would certainly do again
    in fact, at least four southern arizona peaks have now made my top 15 list, including rincon two weeks ago
    wrightson and ajo are the other two
    really like the sky island terrain
    thanks for the hike, guys, and to jj for driving
    Quantrell Mine Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Nick and I joined up with Allen and Randy in Agua Caliente Canyon and set off into the Santa Ritas to ride the Elephant. This was my second trip to the Santa Ritas and my first time in this part of the range. I was impressed to say the least, with huge mountains above, massive rock formations all around, and a variety of cool cacti dotting the slopes. Ocotillos were in full bloom, and water splashed through Chino Canyon. A breeze on this rather cool April day was welcome while laboring up sunny slopes. I had a blast climbing the rocky spine of Elephant Head; some jaw dropping exposure in a couple of spots, but nothing too dangerous. After taking photos on the summit we scrambled down Elephant Head and across Chino Canyon back to the trail. Nick and I made a side trip to the Quantrell Mine, where we poked around among the rocks and the relics before heading back. Back at the trailhead we rejoined Allen and Randy for cold beverages. On the drive out, old Wrightson popped up from behind the other mountains to say hello, looking like a forgotten 14er, it's rocky face still harboring a few slivers of snow. The Santa Ritas kick ass! :y:

    An outstanding adventure! Great to see you again Allen, and nice to meet you, Randy! ... 03xi6Qc%3D
    Quantrell Mine Trail
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    I've been talking about elephant head with my dad and preston for a while now, and i wanted to get back up there myself so we finally got it together and climbed up elephant head. my dad's friend Randy joined us too, so we had a nice group of four

    what a wonderful peak to ascend, for sure one of my local favorites. we marveled at everything along the way; blooming ocotillos, arizona rainbows and the marvelous views. the climb was even more fun than i remembered and we had great summit conditions.

    glad we finally got it together and made this very memorable trip up the 'ol elephant. i won't wait so long to comeback next time :)
    Quantrell Mine Trail
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    Went check this trail out and scout out some future hikes I've been planning in the Chino Basin area. This is a remote, seldom visited and very pretty area of the western Santa Ritas. The trail is a bit overgrown with grass and some catclaw and i got shredded pretty finely. Still a sweet hike though!
    Quantrell Mine Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Been looking at this hike on paper for a long time. Made one attempt to get to it up the old 4x4 trail through Chino Canyon a while back and ran into a locked gate. This hike beats a lot of the "Spring" hikes on the north side of the Ritas.

    Some people would walk into the landscape back there and think: "Look at this lifeless, forbidding place." Personally, I was enamored with the plethora of true Sonoran desert flora that Agua Caliente and Chino canyons offer. If the Rincons house a true Saguaro forest, then it can be said that Agua Caliente canyon houses a true Santa Rita Prickly Pear forest. The groves of them were stunning back in there.

    Permit $$
    Visit this link for full details.

    There are four specific day use areas that require a Coronado Recreational Pass or a National Pass/America the Beautiful Pass.
    1) Sabino Canyon - located on the Santa Catalina Ranger District (520)749-8700
    2) Madera Canyon - located on the Nogales Ranger District (520)281-2296
    3) Cave Creek - located on the Douglas Ranger District (520)364-3468
    4) Mt. Lemmon at 11 day use sites.

    Catalina State Park $6 per day. Sabino Canyon Tram is $10 extra.

    Coronado Forest
    MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
    Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From anywhere in Tucson, head south to I-19. Take I-19 south to exit 56 (Canoa). Take the east Frontage road south for three miles to Elephant Head road. Follow Elephant Head for about one and a half miles and turn right onto Mount Hopkins road. Take Mt. Hopkins road for 5.5 miles and turn north onto FSR 183, which is marked by the standard vertical FS road marker. Follow FSR for about two and a half miles until it approaches the basin of Agua Caliente stream. A large sign to the right of the road states "Dead End 2 Miles." Park here under the plentiful trees. Walk back down FSR 183 in the direction you just came for about 100 meters until you encounter the junction with FSR 930 - The Elephant Head trail.
    page created by Jeffshadows on Jun 06 2008 10:33 pm
    3 pack - loud whistle
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