South of Gila River

Total Miles
24.0

Elevation

950.2 ft

Duration

Hours

Technical Rating

5

Moderate

Best Time

Summer, Fall

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Trail Overview

This is an easy, relaxed Jeep trail through lush Sonoran Desert vegetation while enjoying great scenery, and there is even a chance to play in the Gila River, depending on the water flow. Access to this area is the Florence-Kelvin Highway, but the Gila River can sometimes be forded to access this area from the north. The water flow should be 350 CFS or less at Coke Ovens Ford - the flow should be less than that at Cochran ford. The main track shows an interesting trip through the area, but there are many more easy roads and washes to be run if you have the time. The trail is described west to east but can be done either way. We like to run this route west to east. It crosses, then parallels, Box O Wash down to the Gila River, skirts the edge of South Butte, and then travels a high road with fantastic views of the White Canyon Wilderness and Walnut Canyon areas. Cross Box O Wash then parallel it down to the shore of the Gila River, the opening photo of this page. Leave the Gila, go south of South Butte, and return to the river in a different spot. Continue east and enjoy a high road with views of North and South Buttes (photo) and of the Walnut Canyon area across the Gila River. Finish the day returning via Superior with a stop at the Ray Mine overlook - a humongous open pit copper mine. Caution - the overlook seems to be open on a random basis.

Difficulty

Uneven, rutted dirt trail with loose rocks, sand, erosion, and washes. Potential water crossings up to 18" deep, mud holes, and obstacles up to 2 feet, including ledges and short, steep grades.

Technical Rating

5