register help

Apache Box, NM

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
  4 of 5 
no permit
14 1 0
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,377 feet
Elevation Gain 250 feet
Accumulated Gain 550 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.75
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Ruins, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
14  2009-11-08 PrestonSands
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 169
Routes 148
Photos 5,615
Trips 1,501 map ( 7,603 miles )
Age 43 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Mar, Apr, Oct, Nov → Early
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:08am - 7:28pm
0 Alternative

Go prepared! - Caving Checklist
Apache treasure
by PrestonSands

Overview: Apache Box, at only about a mile long, is a short but extremely rugged box canyon near the Arizona-New Mexico border, located where Apache Creek tumbles off of the Mule Creek highlands. The attractions here are the chance to explore mines and caves, or simply travel through a narrow canyon bottom hemmed in by 800 foot sheer cliffs. Opportunities for canyoneering or rock climbing exist, as well. This is a very remote area, so come prepared.

The entrance to Apache Box is accessible via a rough four wheel drive road; consequently, the length of any hike to Apache Box can vary from one to five miles, or more, round trip, depending on your vehicle, determination, and time. The description here will begin near the divide between the Apache Creek and Bitter Creek watersheds, which seems like as good a place as any to begin your hike.

Geology: According to a New Mexico Bureau Of Mines And Mineral Resources report, The Apache Box pink to red to light brown-gray, fine-grained, crystal-poor to porphyritic to glomerophyritic and holocrystalline. It consists of plagioclase, sanidine, quartz and accessory biotite, zircon, and magnetite. Alteration minerals include sericite and hematite and silicification is common. The historic Apache Box Canyon Mine was a gold, silver, and copper claim, located within Apache Box, and consists of 3 adits and a 40 foot shaft.

Hike: Turning off of the Bitter Creek Road onto the private ranch property, the road to Apache Box travels northeast, past trailers and a couple of homes. Leaving the private ranch property and arriving on B.L.M. land, the road gets really rough, and there are a couple of welcome ridge top parking spots, about 1.5 miles from the Bitter Creek Road. These parking spots make an ideal place to start hiking.

A half mile or so beyond the parking spots, the road forks. Go right, uphill. The road to Apache Box slowly climbs north, below an increasingly steep mountainside to the right. Straight ahead, the enormous cliffs of Apache Box grow closer. Behind the Box, the peaks of the Big Lue Mountains appear quite tame, rising above the grasslands of the Apache Creek basin.

Soon the road passes below a massive cliff to the right, and comes to a small turnaround spot at the entrance to Apache Box, 3.4 miles from Bitter Creek Road. The four wheel drive road ends here, and a signpost identifies the area behind it as a Bureau Of Land Management Wilderness Study Area. A very steep and rocky trail continues on however, switchbacking down into the deep confines of Apache Box. From the switchbacks, one can see several caves in the cliffs above, which appear to be quite difficult to access. Prehistoric artifacts have been recovered from at least one of the caves.

Reaching the floor of Apache Box, the road disappears into the creek bed. This is not a place to get caught during a flash flood. Heading downstream, one soon comes to the old adits of the Apache Box Canyon Mine, at the foot of the cliffs. Bats now call the tunnels home.

Upstream and downstream from where the road ends in the bottom of Apache Box, waterfalls are sure to exist. Be careful, and give yourself plenty of time to explore this rugged and beautiful place.

Check out the Triplog.

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

2009-11-16 PrestonSands
    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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To canyon trip
    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 right onto State Highway 75, and drive 8.2 miles to Bitter Creek Road (signed) on the left, at milepost 390.15. Turn left onto Bitter Creek Road (dirt), and follow it east for approximately 12.2 miles to the large wrought-iron sign for a private ranch on the left.

    Turn left onto the road, and follow it across the ranch property. At about 1 mile in, the road suddenly bends left and becomes a driveway for a house. At this bend, go right instead, up a rocky 4 wheel drive road, past a large rockpile covered in flags. You are now off of the ranch property. Within the next half mile, there are two ridges with just enough room to park or turn around a vehicle (32.91112 N, 108.99699 W). Start hiking here, or continue to the final turnaround spot at the entrance to Apache Box, 1.85 miles further. (see hike description)
    page created by PrestonSands on Nov 16 2009 12:35 am
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    help comment issue

    end of page marker