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Martinez Cyn via Cottonwood & Box Cyn, AZ

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237 27 3
Guide 27 Triplogs  3 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Superior SW
Rated
4
4 of 5 by 5
 
8
Statistics
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 3.25 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,564 feet
Elevation Gain 920 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,066 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.58
Interest Historic
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Will recalculate on button tap!
25  2018-04-12
Martinez Mines Loop
CannondaleKid
4  2013-03-03 djmason9
11  2012-12-20
Artisan Well- Martinez - Coke Oven -Loop
topohiker
14  2012-11-16 CannondaleKid
28  2012-03-24
Coke Ovens - Via Cottonwood & Box Canyon
topohiker
10  2012-02-19 CannondaleKid
35  2012-01-13 CannondaleKid
25  2011-12-05 CannondaleKid
Page 1,  2
Author Randal_Schulhauser
author avatar Guides 71
Routes 98
Photos 9,967
Trips 1,009 map ( 9,248 miles )
Age 59 Male Gender
Location Ahwatukee, AZ
Historical Weather
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:12am - 6:23pm
Official Route
 
2 Alternative
 
Water
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Mining Memories!
by Randal_Schulhauser

Some History
Martinez Canyon became a booming mining center during the late 1880's when multiple veins of silver were discovered throughout the canyon. Operations eventually played out in the early 1950's. The 4WD trail passes remnants of this boom including an old stage depot, a purported canteen and bordello, as well as cabins occupied by mining families until 1951 when severe flooding led to abandonment. Close examination of the cabins will show how they've been pushed off their foundations from the flash floods.


As you continue further up the canyon you will encounter Martinez Mine and Mill. Exit the canyon and travel an old mining trail up the hill and you will come across Columbia Mine and Silver Belle Mine. Martinez Mine and Mill are particularly well preserved with much of the machinery and equipment left behind for our continuing present day examination. I find part of the fascination exploring these abandoned sites is figuring out how some of these puzzling pieces of equipment were employed in the old mining operation. The nearby Coke Ovens and the ghost town of Cochran are further evidence of this booming mining center.

The Hike
Martinez Canyon features classic Sonoran Desert scenery. The 4WD trail to Martinez Cabin may test the limits of many stock vehicles. On this particular outing one of our vehicles torqued the engine compartment so severely as it negotiated a boulder field that the fan blades collided with the radiator! I recommend using Martinez Cabin as a Trail Head and continue hiking up the canyon to the mines. From the TH near the cabins, continue along the east fork of the wash. The half mile trek to Martinez Mine and Mill will require some boulder-hopping and climbing some slick-rock ledges. Peer up the high walls of the canyon and you will spot many "test holes" from past mining operations.

As Martinez Mill comes into view, take note of a trail that climbs out of the wash to the south. This will lead to the remains of one of the many head-frames and shafts comprising Martinez Mine. This particular head-frame and vertical shaft can also be accessed from the horizontal shaft located to the immediate east in the gully.

After exploring this site, continue another half mile further up Martinez Canyon until you reach an old mining trail that climbs out of the wash heading northerly direction. A series of switchbacks will take you up to Columbia and Silver Belle Mines at miles 1.3 and 1.5 respectively from the Martinez Cabin TH. The trail will crest just beyond Silver Belle Mine and loops back to Martinez Cabin via an incredibly steep section known as the "luge". We did not take this return loop deciding to retrace our steps back past the mines and on to the large cottonwood stands near Martinez Cabin.

Summary: Martinez Canyon is ripe with Arizona mining history and tales of the wild, wild west. The area has a continuing controversy pitting ORV enthusiasts against hiking enthusiasts. The Sierra Club and others have been petitioning the BLM to expand the nearby White Canyon Wilderness Area to include Martinez Canyon thereby closing the area to vehicular access. With an increasing number of 4WD roll-overs at the "luge", maybe allowing vehicular access to Martinez Cabin and closing access beyond the cabin would be a reasonable compromise. Enjoy!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2007-02-10 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.

    Most recent of 22 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Martinez Cyn via Cottonwood & Box Cyn
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Martinez Mines Loop
    I hadn't been in Martinez Canyon since the day before the BLM closed the access road in November 2012, but with most of the ATV-owning winter-visitors gone and a bit of cool weather we decided it was a worthy destination.

    The drive? One word... NASTY!
    If I still had the Cherokee the drive would not have presented an issue at all, but with the 4Runner having much less clearance and no front locker it presented many issues... one even had Tracey saying enough and bailing out for a few hundred yards.
    I'll admit I was in almost the same panic mode, backing down the hill was not an option!
    What made it even worse, even though the Vehicle Stability Control is supposedly disabled (dash light even shows it disabled) when nearing the top of a steep hill and the front wheels got light, the VSC decided began applying brakes seemingly incoherently to different wheels, which slowed the 4Runner down so much I wasn't sure I'd top the hill.
    So it was pretty much full throttle in low-range to make it. Only after I was down the other side was Tracey willing to be co-pilot again.

    The hike: My main interest was to see how the road had fared in 5+ 5 years with no vehicle traffic,just natural erosion. We can attest it is in as bad a shape as one could expect... even hiking the old loop route above the mines was nasty, especially since falling is absolutely not an option for me.
    Even without any near-misses my back was giving warning signs before the halfway point so we did no exploring up top and didn't set foot in either of the mines I had explored in-depth back in early-2012.
    Of course even if did go in, Tracey wouldn't have any part of that.
    So, we just continued along the long-unused road past the Silver Bell, Columbia & Martinez mines and a very short stop at the mill.
    Not much has changed at the mill, probably the number of visitors has dropped significantly due to the longer hike in.
    As dry as it's been in general this year, we were a bit surprised by how much green we found.
    Once our mission was accomplished, we agreed it was unlikely we'll be out here again... unless we win the lottery and can afford to buy an ATV or another more modified vehicle.
    Fat chance of that happening!
    Because of the astronomical odds you say? Nope! Cuz ya gotta play before you can win.
    Martinez Cyn via Cottonwood & Box Cyn
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Artisan Well- Martinez - Coke Oven -Loop
    I've wanted to hike the entire Martinez canyon ever since I've seen it from the new AZT # 16 section. We'll this time I worked it into a hike.
    I parked at the artisan well. The road in was a bit rougher from the last time.

    I headed on the old AZT. At one point I almost slipped on rock and noticed there was ice on it. I looked around and found some icicles hanging and dripping. The drippings formed ice stalagmites! I saw a couple more ice spots. I was only at 3,500 feet.

    I made it to the new AZT16 TH and saw CannondaleKid's water cache. I went on the AZT down to the old corral and then headed into Martinez canyon. There was an old cement spring box at the bottom.

    The trip down the canyon was pretty mild. It was what I expected from what I could see from other hikes. The canyon was pretty wide with not much vegetation. I had to go down a couple of 3~4 foot dry water falls.
    About 3/4 a mile down, I found two wooden boxes in the grass. I couldn't figure out what here were for. About a mile in, my GPS showed I was on a road and going past Martinez's well. I didn't see any well or any evidence of a road. In fact the canyon started to close up and become rockier.
    I was about 200 feet from where explored the canyon from the other side when I hit a showstopper! ](*,) :scared: I ran into a narrow 15 foot waterfall! I wasn't so committed to finishing this canyon, I would have turned around. I was able to climb up and over this area. Climbing is not something I enjoy. So I decided this was a one-time hike. I hit another waterfall, but this one was only 6 feet and getting around it was easier. I finally made it to the old mill!
    A section of track that went over the canyon has fallen down. (see my pics).

    On the way out of the canyon I saw the new locked gate. Martinez canyons is now closed to motor vehicles, but open to horse and foot travel. I did see a motor cycle track print in the canyon!
    I went to the corral on the way out and had lunch. I headed over to the Cochran Coke ovens. I then proceeded down Battle Axe Road. I checked out the Gila River, it's flowing pretty wide and fast.

    I returned to the Jeep via Battle Axe road. I was very surprised on the360 degrees views from Battle Axe road. The views are spectacular. I was also checking on the road conditions for a possible family outing to the Cochran Coke Ovens.

    The temps would have been perfect if it wasn't for the gusting cold winds. Surprisingly I didn't see one person the entire day. Not even any vehicles or hunters.
    Martinez Cyn via Cottonwood & Box Cyn
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Our group of 8 Jeeps left Price Rd near Florence and headed into Box Canyon. Although this part is plenty easy for most 4x4's, whenever the leader spotted an extra challenge next to the road we would pass over it and those who cared to would follow. Being third in line and following the only other Cherokee I had a chance to see the route over each obstacle so had no problem following. The last major obstacle we came to was a big boulder that looked a bit tougher, yet the Cherokee ahead went right over. Unbeknownst to me, he had broken a rock loose and since I was angled up at the time, I didn't see it and I just continued. Unfortunately with that rock out of place I dropped the left side slightly off the rock and the running board got hung up on the boulder. Although it already had thousands of Arizona pinstripes, this was the first dent for the Cherokee. I was able to back off and continue, but I'm already thinking of adding rock-sliders to prevent another occurrence.

    On the north end of Box Canyon we turned east onto Martinez Canyon Road, following it out to the Martinez cabin area. From there we continued through a few boulder fields and up to the mill. One of the other Jeeps had no lockers so decided not to continue, so since I was more interested in filming that driving, I parked there as well and hiked alongside the other 6 Jeeps as they made their way around the loop up the mountain and past the mines.

    Once the last of the Jeeps were passing through The Luge I ran back down the mountain to the Cherokee where the other driver was waiting patiently. I got turned around and we headed back out, catching up with the others back at the cabins again. From there it was back out to Box Canyon, where I turned right and headed north all the way out to the US 60.
    Martinez Cyn via Cottonwood & Box Cyn
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    While this was to be a day of four-wheeling one last time through the Martinez Mine loop, for me it turned out to be a 4x4/hike/run all rolled into one including a healthy dose of filming. I said one last time because BLM has already put the gate rails in place and will be installing the permanent gate very soon. :(
    It will prevent vehicle access only and those on foot will now have a short 1.5 mile hike to the Martinez Mill.

    Ok, back to the triplog...
    Although I could have continued all the way with the other Jeeps in the Cherokee, I decided this 'last trip' called for a series of videos best shot from along the road, if you could call it that. I left the Cherokee with one other Jeep that had no lockers while I walked alongside the other six who drove the full loop.

    Going through the boulder-field was plenty of work for man and vehicle so about halfway up the east side we stopped for lunch. Well, the others did... since I had the last-minute change of plans I realized my lunch and all but a small Gatorade bottle in my fanny pack was at least a mile back at the Cherokee. :whistle:
    I guess I'll be thirsty and starving later.

    After lunch we had the long slog up the hill past Columbia and Silver Bell mines. Although there were plenty of scrapes going over and around the boulders, with all the skid plates and rock sliders on the vehicles there was no damage, only more evidence of passage. The only mechanical issue was an air compressor check valve that came unscrewed and fell off. I had mentioned to the driver a few minutes earlier that it sounded like he had a leak, to which he replied, I just had it checked out yesterday and they said it was all good. Then a few moments later there was a pop and hiss of air. :o

    When we opened the hood I looked down by the compressor and the check valve had dropped into the only spot that kept it from falling on the ground and being run over. The only Teflon tape around was two miles away in my Cherokee so I put it back on as is. Wrenches were available but none that would fit in such tight quarters so I tightened it as tight was I could by hand and we hoped for the best. Luckily it stayed tight the rest of the trip... but he'll have a word with the folk who pronounced it fit. I have a feeling although they did use some Teflon tape they likely tightened it by hand as well and with the under-hood heat it loosened up. Oh well, we made do.

    Now to the downside of the trip... literally! Hmmmm, The Luge! For those unfamiliar with this feature, think Winter Olympics... hurtling down the mountain on ice with high walls on either side. Ok, so there was no ice, but even on foot there wasn't much more traction than on ice. :scared:
    The first (and most capable) Jeep got halfway through before it fell sideways into a hole, ending up against a wall. Within just moments it was time to break out the winch. With this one plus 5 more Jeeps waiting, the one with the most capable winch was planted at the top of The Luge to winch each one down to a smooth rock area free of loose gravel, where they would continue on their own to the bottom. After winching the first Jeep back up out of the hole, we set out with pick and shovel to fill the worst of the holes. We kept this up while the rest of the Jeeps were winched down so by time the 'wincher' had to drive down without assistance, it was doable.

    When it was down to the last two to drop through The Luge, I realized I still had to get back to the Cherokee and help guide out the one guy still a his Jeep by the mill. It didn't take a moment to realize I would have to hustle to make it back to the cabins by time the others got there. So, once I got past the first 100 yards of real treacherous footing I took off at a jog until I reached more-or-less flat (but still rocky) ground. It wasn't but a few minutes later I heard the group starting down the hill so I kicked it in high and ran the last mile to the Cherokee. Before turning around in tight quarters and leading David (the one who had waited patiently for hours!) back out to the cabins, by now absolutely famished and thirsty I grabbed a quick sandwich, slogged down a 32 oz Gatorade and we set off. The timing worked out just right, we made it to the cabins just as the last Jeep turned the corner ahead of us.

    Passing the newly installed gate rails on the way out, I realized this was the last trip in by vehicle... which I guess is best, since too many inexperienced (and many times inebriated) folks have disastrous results in the area, especially the many roll-overs in The Luge.
    Martinez Cyn via Cottonwood & Box Cyn
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I took Fan and Mike to see the Coke Ovens & Martinez Canyon.
    We parked right outside Box Canyon and started hiking in.

    Fan wasn't feeling great, so she dropped back and followed our footprints. Mike and I made the Coke Ovens by noon. We talked to some ATVers who crossed the Gila. The Gila is now a foot deep.

    On the way back we ran across Fan. She hiked with us back to the Coke Ovens / Martinez split. We started heading to Martinez canyon. Fan didn't like the heavy ATV traffic so she headed back to the Jeep.

    We got to the Cabins and headed up the 'luge'. It was very steep and slippery. The views from the top were spectacular. I could very clearly see the AZT from there. We did a little poking around the Silver Belle and the Columbia mines.

    We got back to the canyon floor and headed away from the mill. My GPS showed an old road and the Martinez well was in that direction. We did some mild canyoneering for a bit. There was no road and we didn't find any well.

    We then headed back to the Jeep.

    We noticed that after we started the 'luge' we didn't see any more vehicles.

    The overcast helped a lot with the temps.
    Martinez Cyn via Cottonwood & Box Cyn
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Ever since I hiked the new section 16 of the AZT and looked into Martinez canyon I was a mission to check out the Martinez cabins/mill/mines.

    I wanted to park at where Price road/Box canyon intersect, but I missed it and went up Box Canyon to right before the canyon narrows up.
    I wanted to hike and not do much 4x4ing. I can hike faster that I can off-road/4x4 and it's less nerve racking (especially bouldering and steps!).

    I started hiking a little after 8 and the box canyon was nice and cool. By 9 I was at the Martinez turnoff.

    I got to the cabins and headed to off the mill and the mines. I explored for a while, looking at the mill mines and machinery. I then headed to the Columbia / Silver belle mines. There was twice I thought I took a wrong turn because there was no road, just a creek with big boulders. Then I saw a road. I climb up almost to the Belle Mine and had a good view of the area. I could now see the AZT section 16 where I was looking into this canyon last February!
    Life is Good! :y:

    I was tempted to check out the 'luge', but I wasn't sure on how long it would take to get to the Coke Ovens, so I turned around.

    When I returned to the cabin there was about 6 ATVs there. Up until this point I hadn't seen one ATV or 4x4. I got down to the spring and there was about 5 ATVs there. One guy asked if it was crowded at the cabin. I replied that there was 6 ATVs. The Guy said "Oh so it's pretty empty". I replied "that's one perspective". The guys then said that that area gets very crowded.

    I was under the impression that the Martinez Canyon was closed to ATVs, but I never saw a sign stating it.

    One the way out from the cabin, there must have been 15 quads/ATVs and 5 Jeeps going in. I'm glad I brought my MP3 player to drown out the noise.

    Next was the Coke Ovens. Along the way I saw two spots where there was windshield glass all over the road. I'm guessing it was a rollover. When I got to the loop section, there was 2 Jeeps and a trike sitting at the intersection. They asked me which way was better and I told them I was going to left because there was no vehicles coming out that way.

    I was impressed when I first saw the Coke Ovens. The pictures don't do it justice. I was surprised at how much cooler it was in the ovens; it felt like it was 10 degrees cooler. A couple minutes later a set of ATVs pulled up. They said they left shortly after seeing me at the Martinez cabin. They were amazed at how fast I got there. Then the Jeeps and the trike pulled up. I beat then by 5 minutes. I guess this re-affirms my belief that you can hike faster than ATV's on rough roads.

    I talked to folk and learned that the Gila was 3 feet deep. One guy told me that the house next to the cabins was pristine 15 years ago and over time 'idiots' stole the appliances, broke all the windows and trashed the place.
    The Jeeps were worried about the trike, so they left to tow the trike across the Gila and drop it off at in Florence.

    I took a nice lunch inside the Coke Oven. A sheriff's helicopter buzzed by the ovens and one point.

    I had an hour to explore, so I went to validate a shortcut route I had though up. From looking at my topo's, it looked like there might be a way to hike back to Price road from the north side of the Gila. There was flat land on the North side of the Gila all the way until what looked like a wall. The train crosses the river here via a bridge. I was hoping that there might be a way to get to the bridge before the wall. I found a road going the direction of the bridge. By now I was in a mesquite forest that provided ample shade. I was getting very hopeful when I saw the bridge in the near distance and especially when the GPS showed the bridge being less than a 1,000 feet away! The road punched out of the woods right at the Gila. I saw the wall, a bunch of do-able rocks below it and nothing. It was a dead end with the Gila flowing that deep and fast. I backtracked to see if there was any way around the wall and there was nothing reasonable. So the only way to shortcut back to Price road is to cross the Gila when it low and follow the tracks back.

    After 4 o'clock I didn't see another ATV. I returned to the Jeep via the roads just as it got dark.

    The temps were perfect in the morning and the evening. The middle of the day was very warm. I went through 7 liters of fluids.

    This is a cool place to explorer either by vehicle or hiking.
    Martinez Cyn via Cottonwood & Box Cyn
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Hiked through parts of the Gila River near the west side of the U-shaped bend near the Railroad Tunnel; also hiked along the river for a total of a little over a mile.

    Hiked about a half mile around stagecoach stop, and a mile around Martinez Cabin, the Bordello and Martinez Mill.
    Martinez Cyn via Cottonwood & Box Cyn
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Took Diversion Dam Road and over to Price Station Road...followed it beyond the end. Tried to follow SAMBA's posted GPS track to the Coke Ovens and up to the 4WD jeep trail, but at the U-shaped bend in the Gila River next to the railroad tunnel we couldn't find any way to go further. Couldn't go through the tunnel, it was spiked to keep vehicles out...and the Gila River was 3 feet deep (too deep to go as far as needed). So we had to turn back.

    We then went up Box Canyon and then over to the stagecoach stop. Then back down to the turn off to Martinez Canyon and all the way in to the Martinez Mill. On the way, spent a lot of time at the Cabins and also saw the Bordello/Cantina.

    While at the cabins, the BLM was in there demolishing one of the buildings that was vandalized beyond their desire to repair. It is really sad, in the last 5 years people have so vandalized the area that the BLM is soon going to shut it down to vehicle use. People are actually going in there and ripping the wood off the buildings for firewood for their campfires, shooting guns into them, and on and on. What is wrong with people?!

    We actually drove beyond the cabin in a Jeep to just under a quarter-mile from the mill, then walked up there. Wanted to go see the other two mines just beyond that, but my wife really wanted to go back. Then went back through Box Canyon and Diversion Dam Road.
    Martinez Cyn via Cottonwood & Box Cyn
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    We started early to beat the rush of ATV's, dirt bikes & 4x4's by heading directly to Martinez Canyon for a hike and exploration of the Silver Bell and Columbia Mines. The cabin area was chock full of said parties by time we finished our exploration/hike so it was a good thing we wasted little time.

    From there we drove out to the Coke Ovens but by this time it was like a ATV/dirt-bike convention so we continued on down to the Gila River to where Eric and Hank had their misadventure about a year ago. While the river bed was dry halfway across, it was rushing pretty fast farther out. Part of it was shallow based on the waves but there was a 5' wide spot with no swirls so it would be a deeper spot so there was no way we were going to cross today. So we headed back to the ovens which by this time was almost deserted but for 3 ATV's and their riders. Having noticed now as well as earlier the amount of people who didn't appear adventurous enough to tackle the whole drive from Box Canyon to the ovens, I asked one of the drivers which way they came in from. He answered across the river from Cochran Road. Since we were down there and saw no evidence I asked where. He told us it was almost as soon as we get out of the trees, but not remembering a good looking crossing there we were baffled. To that he said to follow them and they'd show us.

    Good thing we followed them because even if we knew where they crossed we wouldn't have know the direction and exact spot. Instead of driving straight across where they drove down the bank, they turned upstream 20' then swung out across then another curve farther downstream and out. Although the ATV's were lower than us with 4 people in each, it was a good thing my air intake was the highest point under the hood because water was gushing out everywhere. Thinking we were home free we look ahead and find trees to the edge of the water so we have to drive back down into the water for another 50' before driving up a steep, slick and muddy bank. It was very shallow here so no worries but with only ATV's and cycles using this route it took the locker engaged and just keeping the foot on the gas to get up the bank. We followed the ATV's until we hit Donnelly Wash and we cruised south to the Flo-Kelvin highway and back to Florence. Not done 4-wheeling for the day we headed east on Price Road for the trip through Box Canyon and back out Cottonwood where we had entered some 8+ hours before.

    Another long run for the Samurai over plenty of rough terrain and a river crossing without a hiccup so things are working out great.

    See our mine exploration hike triplog here:
    [ triplog ]

    To view the videos from inside the mines follow the links...
    Columbia Mine:
    http://changephoenix.com/jpserver/web/p ... .php?id=47
    Silver Bell Mine:
    http://changephoenix.com/jpserver/web/p ... .php?id=48
    Martinez Cyn via Cottonwood & Box Cyn
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Last month I was focused more on hiking the ridges and mesa above and to the north of this area so my exploration of the mines was limited to a portion of the Silver Bell Mine. But this trip with a partner willing to step into the dark unknown our focus was solely on exploration of the mines.

    Being a Sunday of a three-day holiday weekend I knew it would be plenty busy with ATV's and 4x4's so we headed out early. Although easily capable of driving much farther in we chose to abide by the posted sign prohibiting access by motorized vehicles. This sign has been here for some time but has largely been ignored by the motorized vehicle crowd for so long that most people think it's ok because others are doing it. Sadly this attitude will lead to more closures of recreational areas. Oh yeah, for those who care, the fine for vehicular travel on prohibited land is $25,000. Ok, enough of the :SB:

    The day was cool and to start with the sky was a haze of white with some gray clouds so I didn't spend much time on photos. But no matter, this was a mine exploration trip and videos would take precedence.

    Having been out here numerous times we took only a cursory glance through the mill and kept on going around and up the steep and rocky climb to the Columbia Mine. After a quick look around outside the mine we turned on our lights, I turned on the video camera and we headed in. We went in some distance (~500'?) to where one set of rails continued straight ahead and the other set curved to the left. We decided to follow the curved track and see where it took us. It continued a ways before being presented with another intersection, this time with more options. To keep it simple we chose a left turn each time. We found several vertical shafts, some going up and some going down. With more air flow in some areas it appears the up shafts were ventilation shafts. We chose not to ascend or descend any vertical shafts even though the ladders made from 2x4's appeared to be almost new... of course they haven't been exposed to the elements. Not prepared to the climbing we headed back to the first curve to take the other route. It turned out to head in straight to a cave-in dead-end. Walking straight out from that point appeared to be close to 600'.

    Most of the information I'd found about these mines was that they stopped producing in 1971, however there was water piping with a 1981 manufacturing date so it appears something was still going on 30 years ago.

    After exploring the Columbia Mine we headed uphill to check out the Silver Bell again. Having been in it just a month ago we wasted little time in getting to the point I turned around last trip. From there we followed several more turns, encountering more shafts, horizontal as well as both up and down. Again we did not ascend or descend the vertical shafts. Today with further research I found the two mines are connected but without knowing which of the shafts connect that's past what we were prepared to take on. I supposed with a few more ready-and-willing partners with notebooks to 'map out' the mines it wouldn't take too much to figure it out. But while I may be an off-trail-hiker, I do it above ground and I'm definitely not a spelunker so I'll leave it to those who are.

    After leaving the mines we hiked up and over the mountain to take the shorter but more demanding hike. We had to be very careful getting down 'The Luge' which would NOT be fun attempting in a vehicle. I like keeping the rubber side down, thank you!

    Mine videos are here...
    Columbia Mine:
    http://changephoenix.com/jpserver/web/public/file.php?id=47
    Silver Bell Mine:
    http://changephoenix.com/jpserver/web/public/file.php?id=48
    I'll post a few on HAZ with the full photo set here:
    http://changephoenix.com/jpserver/web/public/file.php?id=49

    Permit $$
    AZ State Land Recreational Permits are available for an individual ($15.00), or a family limited to two adults and children under the age of 18 ($20.00).




    Land Parcel Map


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Strictly 4x4

    To hike
    From Phoenix: Take the Superstition Freeway (Hwy 60) east towards Globe until you reach the intersection with Hwy 79 at Florence Junction. Travel south along Hwy 79 towards Florence about 5 miles until you reach Cottonwood Canyon Road. The intersection of Cottonwood Canyon Road is located between Hwy 79 mile marker 144 and 145. There is a large flagpole at the intersection used to signal live artillery in-use at the nearby National Guard range. Reference the GPS map for the 4WD route from Cottonwood Canyon to Mineral Mountain Road to Box Canyon Road and on to Martinez Canyon Road. Further details are contained in the Coke Ovens via Cottonwood & Box Canyons.

    The Martinez Cabin TH is located at GPS coordinates 33o 10.002'N, 111o 09.499'W. My GPS noted 16.12 miles traveled from the Hwy 79 entrance at Cottonwood Canyon Road to the Martinez Cabin TH. Travel time to the TH was about 2 hours.

    NOTE: [As of this writing 02/10/07] State Trust Land Permit required. This can be obtained in person by visiting the Arizona State Land Department at 1616 West Adams Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007. Cost is $15 per individual or $20 per family and is good for 1 year on any Arizona State Trust area. Call 1-602-364-2753 for additional information.
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