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Victoria Mine Trail
12 Photosets

mini location map2018-03-18
12 by photographer avatarDarthStiller
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Victoria Mine TrailSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 18 2018
Hiking7.20 Miles 900 AEG
Hiking7.20 Miles   2 Hrs   52 Mns   2.51 mph
900 ft AEG
1st trip
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This is a decent little hike, but I'm not quite sure why it's in the 100 Classic Hikes in AZ book :-k . I enjoyed it, but I don't know that I would think of this as classic, must-do hike for AZ. Since the weather is still cool this time of year (especially for this year), my plan for the day was to head down to Organ Pipe NM and do this trail and the Estes Canyon-Bull Pasture Loop, which are both in the 100 Classic Hikes in AZ book. Arch Canyon was also considered to add mileage, but we ended up not having enough time to get that one in. Breaking up the day into two short to moderate length hikes gave me the advantage to use my smaller M.U.L.E. Camelbak, which I normally use for jogging. I just got it for Xmas this year, so I've been having fun with the new toy lately :DANCE: . It's made to military specs, but is blue digital cammo with some added decoration.

Joe and I arrived at the visitor center at about 7:30am to get an entrance pass. The ranger vacuuming the welcome mat in front of an open door told us that the center wasn't open yet as we tried to walk by her. They didn't open until 8am and we didn't want to sit and wait. I asked if it was ok to just go and pay later, would we have to worry about getting a ticket. She said no worries on a ticket and we were off 8) .

The trailhead is at the southwest corner of the campground, which seemed to be full, mostly with RVs, but there were a few tents. Our start at 7:45am didn't seem really early to me, but when we started, all the people we saw were elderly. It gave us the impression that this spot seemed to be favored by retirees. It wasn't until after the hike when everyone was awake and active at their campsites that we noticed younger people.

The hike in to Victoria Mine is uneventful. Mostly level, some stream crossings give moderate AEG. The views to the south are expansive, mountain ranges in Mexico are very prominent. The Victoria Mine was kind of interesting. The remains of the building that used to be some kind of shop or store was cool, along with the flywheel outside. All the open mineshafts have pretty sturdy protection around them to prevent fatalities. I was able to get a glimpse down into one :scared: .

I noticed on the park map that there is another trail from Victoria Mine called the Lost Cabin Trail that goes to not-so Lost Cabin, which we found. This was another 1.8 miles in from the Victoria Mine. Since we drove a good 3 hours to get there, it seemed like the best idea to make the most of our opportunity. If I was ever to go back to hike to the Lost Cabin, I would have to hike the Victoria Mine Trail all over again, so it only made sense to go check this out : rambo : .

The Lost Cabin Trail follows a dirt road south and then west and over the saddle of a hill that the Victoria Mine is at the base off. Then it turns north and goes to the Lost Cabin. That cabin is in worse shape than the store at the Victoria Mine. And it also appears that some critters have made some nests amongst the strewn stones that used to be the walls :o .

Just up the hill from the cabin is the Lost Cabin Mine. We took the road over to that and checked it out. From the mine, it was only about another 100' max up to the top of the hill. I don't relish off trail hiking, but this was a no brainer to hop over the hill and make our way back to the Victoria Mine and the car. I would say we easily saved a mile on the return trip, maybe more. On the east side of the hill on our way down we found an unofficial trail that we took to the north until we got down to the flat part. There are several signs in the park that warn about activities of illegal migrants, so we were wondering if this was a trail that they use. Seems plausible.

After we were done, we had a quick lunch at my car and then headed back to the visitor center to pay the entrance (exit?) fee, and then head over to the Estes Canyon-Bull Pasture Loop. We got there just after 11am and the one ranger who is the designated fee collection ranger (???!!!) had just started to give a half hour presentation to a group. The ranger working the cash register (who is NOT a designated fee collection ranger and therefore could not let me pay ](*,) ), suggested I just use one of the self pay stations in the park, just like the Maricopa Co. parks. This was not relayed to us in the morning. I paid for my obligatory refridgerator magnet that I always get from visits to new places, and we were off to our second hike of the day.
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