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Donnelly Wash Trestle, AZ

no permit
64 3 0
Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Superior SW
2.7 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,639 feet
Elevation Gain 27 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.64
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack No
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
12  2018-04-17
Gila River:Cochran to Dam
15  2018-01-01
South Butte - Gila River
15  2016-11-26 topohiker
32  2016-02-13
Gila River:Cochran to Tunnel to Dam
2  2015-04-18 capcyclone
15  2011-10-08
Cochran-Gila River
Author capcyclone
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 3
Photos 54
Trips 75 map ( 430 miles )
Age 47 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Dec, Feb, Nov → 9 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:13am - 6:22pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Nice views of the Gila River
by capcyclone

Obey no trespassing signs, stay off private land and do not enter forbidden areas. This hike may not be legal. Contact admin if you have solid information either way.

This route begins near the "intersection" of the railroad crossing and Cochran Road. The hike tends to run parallel to the rail line westward. The area is popular for ATVs and other off-road vehicles and though the hiking trail is not signed, it is well defined along the route. The hike westward gives nice views of the Gila River and the riparian vegetation along the way. In fact, the entire area is an interesting marriage of typical Sonoran Desert landscape abutting riparian vegetation along the Gila River. There are a number of interesting rock walls that were cut to accommodate the rail line to run next to the Gila that provide an interesting backdrop at times.

There are a few washes that run perpendicular to the trail that may fill during and after heavy rains as they lead to the adjacent Gila River. At the end of this hike you will get a nice view of a train trestle as it crosses the Gila River and as the rail line continues over the trestle it goes through a tunnel in the mountainside on the other side of the Gila River. The trail skirts left from this area and ends at a small sandy spot on the Gila River.

Simply enjoy the ample shade here for a short rest and return back following this "out and back" the way you arrived.

There are a few spots just off trail that you can find shade in several spots, but otherwise the entire trail leaves the hiker exposed so be sure to bring the sunscreen and wear a hat! Also - bring your own water! There are no opportunities for potable water along this trail.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2015-04-20 capcyclone
    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
    Donnelly Wash Trestle
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    With air quality looking pretty bad in the valley, I decided this one would make a good New Years Day peak. We were rewarded with great views in all directions, a cool breeze up top, complete solitude, and a surprising number of signs of previous habitation (almost so much as to pique even my interest!!)

    Hit the trestle after getting back down, surprised to see as much flow in the Gila as there is, especially with none of it being diverted into the canals between here and Florence.
    Donnelly Wash Trestle
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Beautiful Arizona morning to enjoy a hike! The drive to the trail, particularly beginning with the Florence-Kelvin Highway provides beautiful views of the Sonoran Desert landscape - lots of variety of desert cactus and typical desert plants along the way. I neglected to take many photos, but the nearby foothills make the trail views nice the whole way. The "destination" of seeing a simple train trestle and train tunnel cutting into the hillside makes a perfect photo op....yet I forgot to snap a photo! :o
    Donnelly Wash Trestle
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Cochran-Gila River
    It had been a while since I had visited the area and I decided to spend an afternoon exploring. The Gila is basically dry except for a few puddles. Some places could be crossed in a Prius. Others had big puddles or deep mud. The crossing at Cochran looked a bit treacherous, but from the railroad bridge I think any capable truck could have driven the river bottom all the way to Florence.

    Curiosity got the best of me and I looked into the railroad. It's the Copper Basin Railway and runs from Winkelman to Magma. It's owned by the mining company and apparently runs a train one way once on most weekdays, but not on weekends. I don't know how fast it goes, but the tunnel is curved, so if you should illegally find yourself somewhere in the middle of the 630 feet, you wouldn't have a view of any oncoming trains. :o Just sayin.

    I didn't venture across to the Coke Ovens this time, cause I've seen them enough times. But it's only about a 15-minute hike and is very easy if the river is dry like now.

    Closer to Florence, the Hayden-Ashurst Diversion Dam is undergoing construction, in a 20-year project to line all the canals it feeds with concrete. Incidentally, it looks like it couldn't really hold any water to begin with, but I'm definitely no dam engineer, so don't ask me if 2 feet of sheet metal and some sticks can hold back a river!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Phoenix, follow US-60 east past Apache Junction to AZ 79 (South) to Florence. Just south of Florence, take a LEFT on the Florence-Kelvin Highway. The Florence-Kelvin Highway is paved for a while, but eventually gives way to a wide, graded and appears to be a well-maintained gravel road, though there are times the road "crosses" some wash areas that have several signs making it clear that water does cover the roadway during and after heavy rains.

    There are a number of ranches along the way and cross roads do have signage. Follow the Florence-Kelvin Highway until you take a LEFT on Cochran Road. Cochran Road is less maintained and though low clearance cars are seen along the way, the road is rougher and travel is slow (25-35mph) is typically top speed. Follow Cochran Road to the marked rail line crossing. Ample parking is available near the start of the hike as this is a popular dispersed camping area and several spots are available.
    page created by capcyclone on Apr 20 2015 8:18 pm
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