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Name: Battle Axe Trail Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: Not rated yet
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (2.5 out of 5)
Time: 4 - 8 hours Region: Central Arizona
Length: 12 miles (one way) Elevation gain/loss/change: +1457 / -2526 ft / +1069 ft (one way)
Type: Out and back Avg Elevation: 2200 ft
Best time to go: fall, spring, winter Fees: NA
Fitness rating: Low Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Low Scenic Beauty: Medium
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: October, 2005
Short Description: This is a rough (but not too tough) trail through scenic Walnut Canyon to the old townsite of Cochran
Geocaches:Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's just a few. I Wanna Rock;The Great Wall-nut Canyon; Cochran Drift.
References / Contact Information: Cochran Ghost Town;
Points of interest: An old prospect, Walnut Canyon, Cochran ghost town.
Special Considerations: May not be able to cross Gila River to visit Cochran in wet weather (but this isn't required to do the trail).
How to get there: About two hours NE of Tucson. Head north on Oracle Rd (AZ 77) for 46 miles, then turn left on AZ 177. After approximately 22 miles, take left on Battle Axe Rd. Click here for directions.

Trail Description

This trip is usually combined with a trip to the Cochran Coke Ovens (click here for information about the Coke Ovens trail), but can be done as an out and back. It's a bumpy and rough trail, but not too difficult by itself (the Coke Ovens trail is much more difficult). The portion of the trail between Cochran and Walnut canyon isn't anything spectacular (though there are some interesting ruins), but Walnut Canyon is beautiful. I wish we had spent more time in Walnut Canyon. It looked there were some interesting trails to explore around this area.

General Information and History

General information on Cochran: Cochran's post office was established January 3, 1905 and discontinued January 15, 1915. Cochran was a mining camp but also served as a stop on the Sante Fe, Prescott, Phoenix railroad. The town supported about 100 people and had a general merchandise store, boardinghouse, and many other establishments. Today all that remains are the coke ovens across the river. The town was named for John. S. Cochran, the first postmaster

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The Trail

The trail starts at the intersection of Hwy 177 and Battle Axe Road (Waypoint B26). After about 2 miles (Waypoint B24), you'll begin to enter Walnut Canyon and skirt the edge of Copper Butte. The next two miles are probably the most scenic portion of the trip. If you have a chance, this place would be a great place to explore.

Keep on the main road as you travel just to the north of a few nice buttes. At Waypoint B19, you'll begin to come out of the wash area on the west side of a tall butte.

At Waypoint B17, you'll come to the top of the hill and start to head back down the other side. Keep on the main road, there are numerous spurs in the area. At Waypoint B10 there are some old mining ruins to explore.

When you reach Waypoint B5 there's an old river ford off to the left. During dry weather, this can be crossed to get over to the Cochran town site. As with all water crossing, verify the depth before attempting.

Continue on Battle Axe trail to the west until you reach the Coke Ovens trail (Waypoint B1). From here you've got a few choices. You can go to the Coke Ovens (about a mile to the west) and head out across the river, take a right and make your way our via the Coke Ovens trail and Box Canyon, or you can turn around and go back the way you came. Typically, the Coke Ovens trail is more difficult than Battle Axe.

It's all up to you.

Have fun and be safe!

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