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Name: Flux Canyon FR812 Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: Not rated yet
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (Easy). See 2013 update in trail description below
Time: 2 - 4 hours Region: SE Arizona
Length: 7.0 miles (one way) Elevation gain/loss/change: +1836 / -787 ft / +1049 ft (one way)
Type: Through Trail Avg Elevation: 4500 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: April, 2013
Short Description: An easy 4WD trail to the World's Fair Mine
Offroad Passport Forum: Click here to join the discussion on Offroad Passport regarding my 2013 trip and a bunch of side trails we went on
Geocaches:Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's just a few. 4x4 cache; Mowry Load
References / Contact Information: Mining data; Backcountry Adventures: Arizona (pages 508 - 510)
Points of interest: World's Fair Mine ruins; Access to Harshaw and Mowry
Special Considerations: Trail is located in illegal immigrant and smuggler high traffic area, see page regarding warning (it's not as bad as it sounds). Lots of old mines in this area, stay away from open mine shafts and be careful of mine tailings.
How to get there: From Tucson, take I-10 east until you reach exit 281. Drive south on the Sonoita Hwy 83 for about 26 miles. When you reach Sonoita, turn right onto Hwy 82 toward Patagonia. Drive about 15 miles and through Patagonia until you reach Waypoint 001. Turn left onto Flux Canyon Rd. Click here for directions.

Trail Description

Note: September, 2016 this trail has been closed off due to mining operations.

This is an easy 4WD trail that runs between runs between Patagonia and Harshaw. It has some nice mining ruins along the way and ends up in the beautiful Patagonia Mountains.

General Information and History

In the late 1600s, the famous Jesuit missionary, Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino made contact with the local Indian tribes. He first visited local villages in 1692, but the Apache and Pima Indians were fighting. The Pima Indians were forced toward Tucson and in 1701 the Jesuits established the mission of San Gabriel de Guevavi near Sonoita. This shouldn't be confused with present day Sonoita, which is a Papago word meaning, "place where corn will grow." This was an Indian village a few miles southwest of Patagonia.

Most of the mining operations in this area were associated with the mining group located in Harshaw (a larger mining group a few miles east of this trail). Due to the steep terrain, many residents lived in nearby settlements.

The World's Fair Mine may have been located in 1879 by Mr. McNamee, who reportedly abandoned it in 1881. It was relocated in 1883 by Mr. William Moran, who sold it to Frank Powers in 1884 who still held it circa 1915. Click here for mineral data.

One famous resident who lived in the area was named, James "Paddy" Graydon. He was an Irishman and former U.S. cavalryman who immigrated to America in 1853 and wound up in Sonoita after serving with the New Mexican cavalry for a short time.

He ran a saloon and hotel names the U.S. Boundary Hotel in the late 1850s. He ran a well-stocked bar (at least for the area) which served not only booze, but prostitutes as well. In times of strife, he appointed himself regulator of law and order.

He was part of the party that hunted down a band of Indians (led by the famous chief Cochise) who were accused of stealing a Mexican boy from another Irishman named John Ward.

Eventually, it was found that Cochise's band was not guilty of taking the boy, but the damage had been done. This event and subsequently the "Boscom Affair" led to many years of bloodshed. See the Fort Bowie Adventure for more information.

When the Civil War broke out, Graydon rejoined the U.S. Army as a captain of an independent spy unit which operated behind Confederate lines. He died in a gunfight at Fort Stanton, New Mexico, a short time after the Civil War battle of Valverde.

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The Trail

Note: September, 2016 this trail has been closed off due to mining operations.

April 2013 Update: We ran this trail again in April 2013 and the FS had almost completed a total grading of the trail from start to end. The steep portion of the trail between Waypoints 003 and 004 has mostly been completed, but at the time of this trip, one section of about 1/3 of a mile wasn't graded. This section was rougher than it had been in 2005 and I would probably rate it a 2 or 2.5 out of 5 in the condition we took it. We saw the dozer parked on the trail above this. I believe they will finish the road shortly, but don't know for sure. For now, I will leave the difficulty rating as is. If they do grade the remaining section, I would rate it a 1.5/5 until it becomes rutted again.

The trail starts at the intersection of Hwy 82 and Flux Canyon Rd (Waypoint 001). Head south on Flux Canyon Rd, which is graded at this point. It crosses private property here, stay on the trail.

AT Waypoint 003, bear right onto unmarked smaller dirt road, FR812. At about 2.6 miles from the start, you'll cross into National Forest land (Waypoint 004).

At Waypoint 005, the track on the right leads to Flux Mine. 2013 Update: This road has been blocked off by the Forest Service (see Offroad Passport trail report for photos of Flux Mine). At Waypoint 006, keep left on Flux Canyon road. The right is FR215 which leads to the Chief Mine. 2013 Update: We took this road to the Chief Mine (see Offroad Passport trail report for photos and description).

Continue on the trail until you reach Waypoint 007 and the World's Fair Mine. This is a great place to stop, explore and have lunch. 2013 Update: You have to walk down to the mine. The FS has blocked off the road that you used to be able to drive to the mine. It's a short walk (~1/4 of a mile). Large groups may have difficulty parking along this area of the road.

When you're done, keep heading south on Flux Canyon road, keeping left at Waypoint 008 (which leads down FR4685). 2013 Update: We took this road to its end (see Offroad Passport trail report for photos and description). Keep on the main road until you reach Waypoint 010 (Harshaw road).

From here, you can head out through Patagonia (taking a left), or through Nogales (taking a right). There are tons of places to explore around here: Mowry, Harshaw, Duquesne (pronounced Dukane) and Washington Camp. Make sure you leave some time to explore some of these gems.

2013 Update: We also took a FR trail to Thunder Mine, just south of Harshaw (see Offroad Passport trail report for photos and description).

Whatever you choose to do, have fun and be safe!

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