Coke Ovens - Via Cottonwood & Box Canyon, AZ

Guide 17 Triplogs Mine 0 2 Topics
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
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
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Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
4  2014-02-01 topohiker
11  2013-11-30
Coke Ovens 4x4 Loop from Superior
4  2012-09-30
Asbestos Point
28  2012-03-24 topohiker
7  2011-12-22 CannondaleKid
20  2011-11-11
Coke Ovens via Battle Axe
15  2011-10-08
Cochran-Gila River
7  2009-12-17 AZLOT69
Page 1,  2
Author Randal_Schulhauser
author avatar Guides 71
Routes 98
Photos 9,967
Trips 1,009 map ( 9,248 miles )
Age 62 Male Gender
Location Ahwatukee, AZ
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Preferred Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov → 9 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:35am - 7:27pm
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Hotter than mesquite!
by Randal_Schulhauser

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 coordinates 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 coordinates 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 an economic advantage. It should be pointed out that "Coke Ovens" is a complete misnomer and "Charcoal Kilns" would be the most accurate to describe these beehive 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 lived in one of the kilns in the 1930s. 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 1980s, 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!

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2005-12-24 Randal_Schulhauser
    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 $$
    AZ State Recreational Land Permits
    For hiking, driving & sightseeing purposes, you seek the recreational permit.
    Under "Recreational Land Use" in the link above.
    2020 - $15.00 individual
    2020 - $20.00 family limited to two adults and children under the age of 18
    Plus $1 processing fee
    The permitting process quick, you will be emailed your permit instantly.

    Land Parcel Map

    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    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.
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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