Passage #14 - Black Hills


Beehive Well Location:  Tiger Mine Trailhead to Freeman Road Trailhead

Length:  27.4 miles

Southern Trailhead:  Tiger Mine Trailhead
- GPS Coordinates:  32.65044° N, 110.73150° W
- Access: From the east entrance to the town of Oracle, drive 0.8 miles east on AZ 77 to mile marker 105 and turn left (north) onto Old Tiger Road. After 1.5 miles on this road, you’ll see an unmistakable Arizona Trail gateway on the left (north) side of the road. Parking is available on either side of the road.

Northern Trailhead:  Freeman Road Trailhead
- GPS Coordinates:  32.87109° N, 110.88256° W
- Access: From Mammoth, drive north on Hwy 77 to the town of Dudleyville. Turn left (west) on Dudleyville Road to the center of the community and locate San Pedro Road. Head west on San Pedro Road, where the road soon turns to dirt. Cross the San Pedro River (usually dry or very shallow) and then turn north at intersection and follow road north along the river (Camino Rio) for 0.5 mile. Turn left (west) on Freeman Road. Cross railroad tracks and continue for 12 miles to the trailhead.

Trail Route Description:  From the Tiger Mine Trailhead the trail proceeds in a twisting NNW direction for approximately 5.5 miles until reaching a 3-way pipeline road intersection. Over this section you will descend into and cross several distinct washes, all of which are about a mile apart; eventually reaching the largest wash, which is Tucson Wash. After climbing out of Tucson Wash the trail will gently curve around to a true north direction as you traverse several ridges, one gate, a dirt road, and soon arrive at the pipeline intersection. At this junction, there will be a large white steel gate on the east side signifying private land owned by El Paso Gas.
The newly constructed trail now continues in a twisting northerly direction for approximately 10.5 miles to the confluence of Camp Grant and Bloodsucker Washes. Over this distance you will traverse many water drainages, unique rock formations, and 360° scenic views as you climb up and over the ridge line of the Black Hills. Antelope Peak will consistently be the prominent landmark as the trail meanders northward, as will the Superstitions and Pinal Mountains. To the east lies the entire Galiuro Mtn. Range and the San Pedro River with Mt Graham (10,720’) in the background. Looking to the south will be both the Rincon and Santa Catalina Mountains, with Mt Lemmon at 9,160’. When viewing to the east you will get a good idea of the how expansive the Sonoran Desert is as it transitions from low to high desert.
Traversing this 10.5 mile section, you will pass through 3 cowboy style gates, cross 5 ranch dirt roads, and possibly observe many nearby old cattle tanks, broken wind mills, and abandoned wells. Near the middle of this stretch and within view from long distances is a large active water tank, named Mountainview Tank. Water is pumped up to this 40K gallon tank from lower wells, which then gravity feeds numerous smaller tanks across many miles of the cattle ranch. Once past the tank area and for the next 2 miles, the trail crosses one more ranch road and winds around numerous drainages and smaller ridge lines. There is ample signage, both cairns and carsonites, to assist in traversing this decomposed granite terrain as the trail gently turns to the west and climbs to a high ridge line. Most likely, you will have cattle for company; they too like the elevation and cooler breezes this ridge provides. This is the final ridge before dropping down to the confluence of Camp Grant and Bloodsucker Washes. At this point the trail drops directly into the ever changing wash, crosses to a ‘tree like island’ and then traverses the rest of the confluence, with numerous carsonite signage, until reaching a two track ranch road.
Continue on the road as it bends around to the west; there will be several gates to pass through before the trail eventually leaves the road and drops down to Beehive Well and Tank, on the edge of Putnam Wash. The trail now heads northwest in Putnam Wash for a short distance, exiting to the northeast, crosses several ridges, then descends into Dobson Wash and nearby Antelope Tank. After another gate and road crossing, it continues northwest as it circles around on the east and north side of Antelope Peak, then descends to a two-track. It now catches another two-track and heads north for approximately 1 mile, crosses Freeman Road and turns west, goes through one more gate, and then reaches Freeman Road TH.

Cycling along the trail Difficulty:  Moderate

Season(s):  Fall, Winter and Spring (current weather forecast)

Water:  Water sources are very limited along this passage. Water can sometimes be found at Mountainview Tank, Cowhead Well and Beehive Well. All man made water tanks and sources can only be used with the consent of the owner.

Notes/Warnings:

  • All water along this passage should be purified prior to use.
  • Although this passage crosses State Trust Land, a permit is not required as long as you are on or near the Arizona Trail.

Resources:

  • USGS Topographic Maps: Mammoth, North of Oracle, Putnam Wash and Black Mountain.
  • BLM Information Center maps.

For more information, contact:


Current Trail Information:


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