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Upper Cave Creek Canyon, AZ
mini location map2014-12-27
13 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
photographer avatar
 
Upper Cave Creek Canyon, AZ 
Upper Cave Creek Canyon, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 27 2014
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking3.10 Miles 680 AEG
Hiking3.10 Miles   2 Hrs      1.55 mph
680 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I've been wanting to check out an old mine on the north side of Cave Creek Canyon across the creek from the intersection of the Skunk Tank Trail with the Cave Creek #4 trail. But I was being lazy today and did not want to do the long day hike down from the CC#4 trailhead. Based on some arm chair map and Google Earth exploring it looked like there may be a driveable route to the mine taking FR468 off of Seven Creeks Road north of the CC#4 trail head for about 3 miles and then about 1.5 miles on an old mine access road.

So off I went. FR468 was in fair shape requiring a high clearance vehicle and maybe 4WD coming out of some of the washes. Best of all was NO PINSTRIPING. I stopped at the turn off from FR468 to the mine access road to check out the ruins of an old rock walled cabin. Three guys that looked like three generations (son, father and grandfather) were setting up to do some target shooting by the cabin. They turned out to be a wealth of information. They said the cabin ruins had been the home of an old miner named Hughie. I mentioned that I was looking for the remains of an old stage/freight wagon road coming up out of Cave Creek Canyon. The older guy had heard of such a stage road which quite likely had passed by the cabin ruins. He said it had been a shortcut to the old Fort McDowell - Fort Whipple wagon road and had connected with the Fort Wipple road somewhere north of Bloody Basin. They also had an interesting lost mine story and rumors of old Spanish mines in the Cave Creek area and in the Mazatzal Mtns.

I had to drive through their target range on my way to the old mine. Fortunately they held their fire until I disappeared down into a dry wash where I decided to park and walk the remaining mile to the mine. I sat in my car eating lunch before starting the hike listening to rifle fire and the whine of ricocheting bullets zinging off of boulders on the hill above me. I felt reasonably safe parked down in the bottom of the wash but rushed through lunch and headed down the mining road at a fast pass. The mine wasn't very exciting - just a trench in the side of the hill and a big pile of tailings. The old mining road looked driveable for high clearance 4WD all the way to the mine but I was glad to get some exercise. I checked out some nearby hilltops for Indian ruins on the way with no luck. There appeared to be the remains of a dam in the gully above the mine which may have been used to collect water for processing the ore. There was an old pack trail across the ravine from the mine. It had rock retaining walls in a couple of places where it traversed the steep hill side and looked very old. I followed it almost all the way down to the bottom of Cave Creek Canyon but turned around when the brush started getting thick. It did not appear to be wide enough to be the old stage road.

I got back to the FJ in plenty of time to make it home for dinner. I beeped the horn several times to warn the target shooters that I was driving through their range and stopped to hear more of their old mining stories before continuing on my way.
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522 Photosets

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