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Black Hills Back Country Byway - 3 members in 13 triplogs have rated this an average 4.7 ( 1 to 5 best )
13 triplogs
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Dec 05 2020
chumley
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 Guides 80
 Routes 681
 Photos 15,069
 Triplogs 1,550

47 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Black Hills Back Country BywayTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Scenic Drive avatar Dec 05 2020
chumley
Scenic Drive21.00 Miles 2,540 AEG
Scenic Drive21.00 Miles   4 Hrs      5.25 mph
2,540 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This seemed to be a good way to waste a few hours without a lot of physical effort. I got photos of all the interpretive signs (read them all if you're bored -- I still haven't!) thinking HAZ needed a guide for this one. But sure enough, it's already been Schulhauser'd. Which saves me all kinds of effort. :y:

Side note: the road up to Guthrie Peak is a bitch, and while it's possible in a stock off-road Tacoma in 4LO, it's slow AF and not something I'd choose to do again.
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33s over 45s
2 archives
Mar 30 2020
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,803

50 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Greenlee Black Hills, AZ 
Greenlee Black Hills, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 30 2020
SkyIslander18
Hiking3.00 Miles 300 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles
300 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Plan was to drive up to Clifton and slowly make my way back to Safford for the day.
Arrived at Clifton to an almost completely shut down town, only Circle K was open.
Walked around the historic Chase Creek District then headed back.
Stopped along the Byway and off-trailed down and across several wildflower fields.
Next stop was at Guthrie Peak, not nearly as many poppies as 2 weeks ago, but still many.
Quick stop at the Rockhound area, not much going on in this area.
Back home to Safford at sunset.
Enjoyable road trip day!
:D
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Mar 09 2020
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,803

50 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Hwy 191-75-70 Loop, AZ 
Hwy 191-75-70 Loop, AZ
 
Scenic Drive avatar Mar 09 2020
SkyIslander18
Scenic Drive140.00 Miles
Scenic Drive140.00 Miles
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Road trip to scout out wildflower spots for the upcoming weeks.
Safford :next: 191 to 3-Way :next: 75 to Duncan :next: 70 back up 191 to the Black Hills Byway :next: back to Safford finishing off with a trip out to Gila Box.
Gonna be a banner wildflower season in one spot, average in another, and disappointing in a usual hot spot.
Also got a couple hikes in at the Black Hills & Gila Box before sundown.
Good trip and am now ready for some upcoming spring camping ...
:D
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Feb 25 2018
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,803

50 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Black Hills Rockhound TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Rockhounding avatar Feb 25 2018
SkyIslander18
Rockhounding3.00 Miles 350 AEG
Rockhounding3.00 Miles
350 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners none no partners
Perfect day for collecting pretty rocks!
Sunny day with low temps and the always amazing scenic Black Hills.
Looped the trail and along the way I found a few geodes, tons of chalcedony & some new finds that I'm still trying to identify in my field guides. The main draw of the area is Fire Agate which I found plenty, nothing gem quality, but a couple of shelf display pieces and a ziplock bag full of rough that will go into the cactus garden for the neighborhood to view.
During my visit I met a few (hardcore) rockhounders in the field and let me just say ... these rock people are a very different & unique breed! :lol:
Black Hills Rock!
:D
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1 archive
Apr 14 2016
rwstorm
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 Guides 1
 Routes 125
 Photos 20,354
 Triplogs 923

72 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Black Hills Back Country BywayTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Scenic Drive avatar Apr 14 2016
rwstorm
Scenic Drive
Scenic Drive
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Next week I plan on camping at the Riverview Campground at the west end of the Gila Box RNCA east of Safford with AZLumberjack and my friend Paul. Neither has been to the Gila Box area before (in the case of Paul that is almost unbelievable to me :o ), so this should be fun. :) I decided to drive out to the area for an overview of things to do, plus for me, finally check out the 21 mile drive that I have been wanting to do for about 30 years. It also allowed me to take a look at the other campground option (Owl Creek) at the eastern portion of the Gila Box RNCA to decide which one I liked better (Riverview hands down).

I started by heading out of Tucson about 0530, hitting the Denny's in Benson for breakfast and to top off the tank, then stopping at Safford for a couple of Subway sandwiches to go, plus beverages/ice. My kind of day in the making. :D Then off to drive through the mining complex at Clifton/Morenci, before heading back down through Clifton for some photos and on to the turnoff for the Black Hills Byway.

I must say the BLM did a terrific job documenting the history along this drive...plenty of interpretive pullouts along the way to add to the enjoyment of this beautiful run through the Black Hills! The road is narrow and rough in places with plenty of curves and big dropoffs. The temptation for rubbernecking is great on this road, but it's best to pay attention to avoid being referred to in the past tense. :lol:

One of the other goals for this trip was to find an acceptable Mexican food restaurant for us to enjoy a meal at before heading home following next week's campout. After many years of stopping at Casa Manana, I finally have had enough of that place and its fairly bland food. They now charge extra for things that should come standard...the last straw. One thing that has long been a problem in Safford in my opinion is the lack of decent restaurants (not to mention reasonable lodging). I decided to give La Paloma another try over in Solomon (right by the turnoff to the Box anyway), and it came through. The salsa was just average, but the red chile and vibe of the place made me happy.

Glad I made the drive over, as now I know how to make next week's event just right. I will cut out the Black Hills drive portion, as it will just put too much of a time constraint on us. Clifton and the big pit...well that is a must! Paul and I have been there many times, but it will be a mind blower for Jack! (think jet dot com commercials :lol: )
Meteorology
Meteorology
Sunset
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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Mar 03 2015
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,803

50 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Black Hills Rockhound TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 03 2015
SkyIslander18
Hiking5.10 Miles 750 AEG
Hiking5.10 Miles
750 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners none no partners
My annual Black Hills poppy hunt.
First hit up the Guthrie Peak area, None :o
Second up was the Black Hills Rockhound area. Lots of good patches, but nothing like years past :-k
I completed the lasso loop with some off-trail across the foothills to also hunt for fire agate, found a couple of lower shelf pieces.
Last up was a scenic drive up the Byway. Again some good patches of poppies, but not blanketing the hills like in years past. I left the Black Hills a little disappointed, but satisfied! Where the poppies were lacking was very made up by the many other wildflowers that have come up this year, quite a rainbow of colors out there.
And of course the landscape scenery of the hills alone was worth the trip out!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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Jul 28 2014
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,803

50 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Black Hills Back Country BywayTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Scenic Drive avatar Jul 28 2014
SkyIslander18
Scenic Drive21.00 Miles 1,800 AEG
Scenic Drive21.00 Miles
1,800 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Picked up Lauren and together we traveled out to one of my favorite areas of Graham County.
I had no real plan for the scenic Black Hills area this evening as we drove out and just winged it upon arrival. We first drove up the byway stopping at a few places including the Twin C Ranch overlook, cinder mine and a couple of the canyon overlooks. Had a very fun photo session with a few of the resident byway horses and a exciting shoot with a black-tailed rattlesnake!
We then turned around and traveled back to 191 and up to the back entrance of the rockhound collecting area. The 2 mile drive in to the collecting field always has been & always will be one of my favorite scenes in the Gila valley, I just love it!
We then hiked a short ways up the rockhound trail where I found a couple of very nice fire agate pieces for my friend to start her collection. The evening ended with a classic Black Hills sunset and a feeling of wanting to come right back out to this awesome area soon!
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Nov 12 2013
louie
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 Routes 1
 Photos 48
 Triplogs 11

49 male
 Joined Jan 07 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Black Hills Back Country BywayTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Scenic Drive avatar Nov 12 2013
louie
Scenic Drive21.00 Miles 1,800 AEG
Scenic Drive21.00 Miles
1,800 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Just finished this drive in my 19ft extended passenger van and had no issues with the road. The southern part was more rocky, but just went slow and had no trouble. There is no camping allowed along the Gila River where the road crosses the bridge over the water so that was a bit disappointing as BLM told me there was camping allowed along the river, but they must have meant "along" in terms of the campground that is high above the river. I wanted to camp right next to the water so attempted driving down a ranch road a few miles south of the crossing, but the road becomes 4x4 as you near the water so that route failed as well. Next time I'll do this route in my jeep as there are numerous roads that will get you to the water if you have a high clearance 4x4.

We did manage to find a place to camp along a stream, but had to drive to Clifton and then drove up the road that parallels the San Francisco river and found some nice stream-side camps. The cottonwoods are still turning so enjoyed the fall foliage. There is actually a B&B along this road complete with hot springs guests can soak in.

Hit the rock park on the way home which was very cool and the kids had fun collecting fire agate. The turn-off to the park is unmarked, but once you turn onto the road you will see a sign for it. Would like to camp and just spend all day rock-hounding, but will need to bring firewood as there is a dearth of fuels out there for your fire.

Enjoy!!!
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
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Jul 15 2013
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,803

50 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Black Hills Back Country BywayTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Storm Chasing avatar Jul 15 2013
SkyIslander18
Storm Chasing55.00 Miles
Storm Chasing55.00 Miles   5 Hrs      11.00 mph
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
With radar & the weather station promising a huge storm moving in and covering most of southeastern AZ throughout the night, I loaded the truck up for a long one tonight. No matter where I went it was gonna hit the area so I opted for great photo scenery rather then chasing the lightning cells. I spent most of the night driving the Black Hills Byway with 2 short drives down to the rockhound area as well. As I feared, this was a big one with lots of coverage producing few strikes, but with lots of steady wind & rain. Lightning photography just wasn't gonna happen tonight so I spent most of the night setting up for long exposure shots of the Black Hills. Not 1 lightning pic for the trip, but that was OK, watching the rains at the Black Hills was worth the drive alone! This is such an awesome area ..... for anything!!!
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Jan 04 2013
MAVM
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 Guides 1
 Routes 43
 Photos 666
 Triplogs 78

55 male
 Joined Mar 15 2012
 Seattle, WA
Black Hills Back Country BywayTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
4x4 Trip avatar Jan 04 2013
MAVM
4x4 Trip21.24 Miles 2,163 AEG
4x4 Trip21.24 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   10.62 mph
2,163 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Gila Box RNCA - Part II

The same day I took another drive out to the northern end of the Peloncillo Mountains, where the eastern end of the Gila Box RNCA resides. The day - regionally cold, breezy with dappled lighting - in and out of overcast.

I greatly enjoyed this remote wonderland and spent part of the time envisioning what it must have taken to create such a route for the practicality it was born of...I estimated that the journey of nearly 100 years past from the Morenci - Clifton area to Safford must have been an investment of a full day - especially if one was hauling any materials, etc.

I read along the way that prisoners toiled from 1914 to 1920 to construct the Safford-Clifton Road -- now the byway -- greatly enhancing travel between the agricultural Safford valley and the mining communities of Clifton and Morenci, etc. Leading one to ponder throughout the drive, what it was like before this route - seen as a watershed area improvement in transport - was constructed.
Named place
Named place
Old Safford Bridge
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2 archives
Jul 11 2012
outdoor_lover
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 Guides 7
 Routes 53
 Photos 12,949
 Triplogs 568

58 female
 Joined Aug 19 2011
 Scottsdale, AZ
Black Hills Back Country BywayTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Scenic Drive avatar Jul 11 2012
outdoor_lover
Scenic Drive21.00 Miles 1,800 AEG
Scenic Drive21.00 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   8.40 mph
1,800 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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SkyIslander18
After filling my pocket full of rocks at the Black Hills Rockhound Area, Chad and I took the Scenic Route towards Clifton/Morenci, using the Black Hills Back Country Byway. This is the original dirt highway between Safford and Clifton, built between 1914 and 1920 by local prisoners. It's a very historical route with several points of interest.

Our first stop was at an old Pumice Mine. We hiked off the road, exploring the Mine area for a bit and then proceeded down the Byway to a Cinder Mine. After exploring that area for a bit, we hit an awesome overlook with incredible vistas. We had some clouds today, so the Photo Ops seemed endless...

After enjoying and photographing the panoramic views at the Overlook, we continued on down the road and enjoying more historical areas and some nice views of Guthrie Peak. We eventually got to a Phelps Dodge Exhibit about the Morenci Copper Mine, that can be seen in the distance, from the exhibit. We stopped there for a bit, reading about the Mine, as we would be driving right through it after leaving the Byway, on our way to our Hike.

After leaving the Copper Mine Exhibit area, we continued on, stopping at the ruins of an old Prisoner Camp for some Photo Ops, before arriving at the Old Safford Bridge. The Bridge was built entirely of concrete in 1918 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. We stopped here for awhile both enjoying the views of the Bridge and the Gila River below.

After leaving the Bridge, we continued on, enjoying other historical sights before finally arriving at the end of the Byway, and turning onto Highway 191. We drove through Clifton and Morenci and literally, the Highway takes you right through almost the middle of the Morenci Mine. We were passing under machinery, and through the Canyons created during the Open Pit Mining Process.

I'm going to elaborate a little here, so be patient... I'm not a big fan of Open Pit Mining, but I understand it's part of our economy and it is what it is. When I was in grade school we had a field trip to one of the Mines in Superior and for a grade schooler, it was impressively big, including the equipment that is used, especially the trucks. Their tires were 4 times the height of an adult. But, I have never thought I would be excited about seeing another Open Pit Mine. Let me tell you, if you're in the area, you should drive this...It is frickin' amazing...I can't begin to describe the enormity and views that you get of this Mine...According to my Tour Guide, this Mine is the Largest Open Pit Copper Mine in the World and I believe him....Holy Cow!!! From what I remember of the Superior Mine, it was just a big hole with a bunch of terracing. This Mine, wow! The colors brought out of the rock and the terraces is amAZing!!

After continuing up the road past the Mine, we drove up to our Hike. (Separate Triplog). This drive with the Rockhounding took about half the day, but it was well worth it and I'm really glad we did it. The whole thing is something to see and I'd do it again in a heartbeat...Thanks for showing me a part of Arizona where I have never been, Chad!! It's a winner!!! :y:
Named place
Named place
Morenci Open Pit
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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"
Jul 11 2012
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,803

50 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Black Hills Back Country BywayTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Scenic Drive avatar Jul 11 2012
SkyIslander18
Scenic Drive21.00 Miles 1,800 AEG
Scenic Drive21.00 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   8.40 mph
1,800 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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outdoor_lover
After an hour of rockhounding in the Black Hills, Pam and I circled back around from the collecting area and got on the Back Country Byway for a scenic drive on our way up to Clifton/Morenci. This was the 2nd time I have traveled this entire byway and I thoroughly enjoyed it as much as the first time, what a cool road!!!
We made a lot of stops along the way including - the old cinder & pumice mines, Canyon Overlook picnic area, Guthrie Peak view, prison camp ruins, Freeport-McMoRan copper mine exhibit and a short hike along the Gila River and under the old 1918 Safford bridge. The 21 mile byway road then came to an end at US 191 which we then took up north to Granville for the day's hike.
There is a lot of history to see along the byway and I would highly recommend stopping at the Safford Chamber of Commerce and picking up the "along the way" driving brochure to all interested in taking this scenic drive!
Fauna
Fauna
Cow
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Feb 13 2011
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,803

50 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Black Hills Back Country BywayTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Scenic Drive avatar Feb 13 2011
SkyIslander18
Scenic Drive25.00 Miles 1,710 AEG
Scenic Drive25.00 Miles
1,710 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After seeing the first 8 miles of this very scenic road on the drive in to hike Guthrie Peak 5 days eariler, I just had to come back and see the last 13 miles of it! I entered from the south entrance and drove my way up,down & around the 21 mile Byway road ending at the north entrance just outside of Clifton. Made many stops along the way and found many roads/trails that I will have to come back to explore on foot. On the way back home I reentered the Black Hills from highway 191 and drove in to the Rockhound Area to hunt for Fire Agate until the sun went down. Found a few good pieces before dark and then was treated to one Awesome sunset on the drive out!

Great weather, great scenic drive on a historic road and one nice sunset made this a trip to remember for some time!

http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/recrea ... hills.html
Fauna
Fauna
Cow Wild horse
Geology
Geology
Fire Agate
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6 archives

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.

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