All Aboard the Historic Journey
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.
Via North - 1.0 mi RT ( description below )
Via South - 3.5 mi RT
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. There is a small sign with a hiker about 50 feet AFTER you are on the correct trail. This junction is easy to miss.
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 is steep heading down and curves to the junction with the Railroad Tunnel Trail. You have been following the Colonel Devin Trail #290 from the Rim and the Tunnel Trail is a spur trail that starts 0.37 mile down. From the rim you have just dropped 380 feet. From the junction it just over a tenth of a mile 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 it in the 1880's! Return back to the trailhead. Enjoy the ride home through the dense Ponderosa Pines along the Rim.
10/03/08 - dshillis adds "The building next to the tunnel is the remains of a powder house."
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.