Birthing Place

Total Miles
9.6

Elevation

1470.34 ft

Duration

Hours

Technical Rating

4

Moderate

Best Time

spring, fall, winter, summer

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Trail Overview

Legend says this is where Indians went to give birth because there was year-round water and "tubs" that could be used for baths. We do not know if the legend is true, but do believe the site was important to the people of the time, even if just for water. There are many petroglyphs in the area.Just over a mile into the trail is a short spur headed downhill to the left where you will find an arrastra. If you have more than 3 vehicles you should park on top and walk down. There is not much room to turn. An Arrastra is a primitive mill for grinding and pulverizing (typically) gold or silver ore. The simplest form of the arrastra is two or more flat-bottomed drag stones placed in a circular pit paved with flat stones, and connected to a center post by a long arm. With a horse, mule or human providing power at the other end of the arm, the stones were dragged slowly around in a circle, crushing the ore. Some arrastras were powered by a water wheel; a few were powered by steam or gasoline engines, and even electricity.For gold ore, the gold was typically recovered by amalgamation with quicksilver. The miner would add clean mercury to the ground ore, continue grinding, rinse out the fines, then add more ore and repeat the process. At cleanup, the gold amalgam was carefully recovered from the low places and crevices in the arrastra floor. The amalgam was then heated in a distillation retort to recover the gold, and the mercury was saved for reuse.Continue down the hill and drop into Lyons Creek. This shelf road has several areas of "cross trail" erosion that are very off-camber and dangerous if you are not careful. These will become impassable over time. The portion along the creek is very scratchy. Expect Arizona pinstriping.Leave the brushy creek and turn right on a clearer road. This trail turns uphill at a windmill then stops on a bank overlooking a creek. We were there in a very dry period and there was still a lot of water present in pools along the creek.Our imaginations told us the depression that now is choked with grass was cleaned out and served as a bath. This area is the Birthing Place.There are many petroglyphs on both sides of the creek. These are not as detailed and intricate as some others in the Southwest, but they are still interesting.Retrace your path for a bit, then this trail ends as it intersects Devil's Canyon 3.5. If you turn west you will travel the rough 3.5 part of Devil's Canyon 3.5. If you turn east you will on an easy 2.5 trail for 3-4 miles then take well graded Pinto to Pinal 2.0 all the way to Globe. Government Springs Ranch has grazing rights along this trail, and they also own some of the land outright. The trail across this privately owned land can be closed at any time. Please respect the Ranch and do not give them a reason to close the trail. Leave gates the way you find them. The ranch is not gated from this trail, but the manager does not want traffic through the ranch. Stay away.

Difficulty

Intermediate

Technical Rating

4