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Name: Bog Hole FR5534 Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: No votes yet
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (Easy 2WD/4WD)
Time: 1- 2 hours Region: SE Arizona
Length: 4.5 miles (one way) Elevation gain/loss/change: ~ +429 ft / -181 / +248 ft (one way)
Type: Out and back Avg Elevation: 5000 ft
Best time to go: fall, summer (after rains), spring, winter Fees: NA
Fitness rating: Low Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Low Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: April, 2014
Short Description: An easy 2WD/4WD trip into the extremely scenic San Rafael Valley to a wildlife recreational area.
Geocaches: A few geocaches in the area: San Rafael Crossroads; San Rafael Valley Junction; Land of No
References / Contact Information: Arizona Fish and Game; AZFG Map; Tucson Weekly;
Points of interest: Bog Hole Wildlife Recreational Area, bird watching, San Rafael Valley, border town of Lochiel, great camping and hunting, very scenic area
Special Considerations: Trail is located within Wildlife Area - See Az Fish and Game for special precautions if hunting, camping, etc. No fishing at Bog Hole. Near Mexico border - use caution - don't go alone. Very remote.
How to get there: Bog Hole Wildlife Area is in the Meadow Valley Flat area. From AZ Fish and Game: From Patagonia, head east on Forest Road 58. When you get to the junction with Forest Road 765, turn left. When the road forks, veer right (as if going to the Cott Tank drainage). Turn right on the two-track road that parallels the enclosure fence. Park at the wooden ladder marked with Bog Hole Wildlife Area signs. See more description below. Click here for directions.

Trail Description

This is a short and easy 2WD/4WD trail into the extremely scenic and beautiful San Rafael Valley of southern Arizona. This area has sweeping grassland vistas, large cattle ranches and beautiful tree-lined canyons. Although this trail just touches the north end of the valley, it is highly recommended to explore the valley to the south on some of the main roads. You won't be disappointed.

The Bog Hole Wildlife Area is run by the Arizona Fish and Game Department. The "Hole" is a portion of a shallow canyon that's been dammed up. During the raining season, the hole is a fairly large pond-sized body of water with huge trees lining the shore. I have seen it almost dry during the hot summer. This area changes significantly between the seasons: after the summer monsoons, it's lush, green and wet. During the winter dry months, the grass is like straw and the bog dries up.

Although no fishing is allowed in wildlife area, there is plenty to do at the hole - bird watching, hiking, photography and hunting. The trail is typically fairly easy unless it has rained recently, then it can become difficult to impassible on these roads. The mud can get quite thick and slippery.

Finally, what's in a name? I'm not sure why this is called Bog Hole, but after hiking around the hole one time, I can attest to it being "boggy". The area immediately around the hole was quite swampy, except for the portion next to the parking area and dam. If you decide to talk a walk around the hole, make sure you are prepared for this or give it a wide berth. You may get your shoes (and more) wet and mucky.

General Information and History

See Arizona Fish and Game for more information.

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The Trail

NOTE: I went on this trail in April, 2014 and am writing this report based on memory. The trail may have changed significantly since I visited it.

From Patagonia, head south on Harshaw Road (FR58) out of Patagonia. Drive south for a little over 6 miles, then take a left toward the San Rafael Valley (staying on FR58). Drive another 3 miles or so until you reach Waypoint 001. Take a left to stay on FR58.

Drive east about 1.4 miles until you reach Waypoint 002. Take a left (heading north) onto FR765. Until now, the roads have all been maintained dirt roads. FR765 is not regularly maintained for passenger cars, however, I have been on it in good weather when an 2WD SUV or truck would be able to drive this fairly easily.

Head north on FR765 for 0.4 miles until you reach a cattle guard in a fence line on your right at Waypoint 003. There is also a road on your left. Keep right, taking the little zigzag, through the cattle guard and continue north on FR765.

Keep driving for another 0.7 miles until you reach Waypoint 004. Keep right here to stay on FR765. You will go through a couple of curves and then continue to head north. Continue driving for another 1.1 miles until you reach Waypoint 005 at the Bog Hole turn off.

Take a right onto FR5534 and drive the 0.82 miles to the Bog Hole Parking area. This section of the road can be a little rougher than the previous sections and depending on conditions, may require higher ground clearance or 4WD.

When you reach Waypoint 006, you've made it to the parking area. Park and head down to Bog Hole and do some exploring on foot. Watch where you step, it can get a little swampy at times.

When you're done, retrace your tracks to FR58. If you're so inclined, you may want to head east on FR58 and then south on San Rafael to the border and then back north up Harshaw Road at Lochiel. It is a very beautiful drive.

Be aware that the area just south and east of Bog Hole is not public National Forest Land, but private land owned by ranchers and The Nature Conservancy. You can drive through on the main roads and enjoy the scenery, but no camping, hunting, etc.

Have fun and be safe!

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