4WD Adventures
4wd Adventures

Mountain Biking Adventures

Biking Adventures

Hiking Adventures

Hiking Adventures

Quick Trip Reports

I'm excited to announce my new book, The Kachina Accord, has been published. This is the second book in the Jason Holt series. Click here for more details.

Who are the Experience Arizona Adventurers?

Matt Marine

Matt Marine is an Arizona resident who loves exploring Arizona's wonderful outdoor adventures. To find out more about Matt, click the link below.

more ...


Cat-Dog is my faithful trail companion. Her real name is Cammie. Why do I call her Cat-Dog?

more ...


Amanda Oien

My name is Amanda Oien and I am a senior at the University of Arizona, studying Journalism and Government and Public Policy. I am a desert child, through and through. I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and have never found myself wanting to leave.


See Intern Page for previous interns

It's a Jeep Thing
Jeep people are awesome, but we do have our idiosyncrasies. Join me as we look at the humorous side of owning and loving Jeeps.

Feature Adventures
Want to try something different? These stories showcase a wide varitey of unique adventures that allow you to experience them first hand!

Portrait Photography
A collection of photo galleries showcasing my portrait photography - typically portraits with a slight twist.

My first book. It's a mystery called Devil's Moon and has already received outstanding reviews. Set in Sedona, Devil's Moon offers anyone who enjoys a good mystery (or who just loves Arizona) a great read.

more ...

I'm excited to announce my new book, Kokopelli Harvest, has been published. Click here for more details.

Outdoor Adventures based on Offroad Exploration!

Arizona N2O - The Lighter Side of Experience Arizona

more ...

Do you know your Aizona trails? Figure out where I am in Arizona and win some cool stuff!

Click to subscribe to our email notifications and online magazine.

Click to explore Arizona ghost towns and mines


Read the Experience Arizona Disclaimer before attempting any of our adventures. Check with local authorities (FS, BLM, etc.) before heading out on any adventures for updates road conditions, closures, etc.

more ...

Road Closures

Trails and roads listed within this site may be closed at any time by the Forest Service, private property owners or other governmental agencies. It is your responsibility to verify state of trail prior to attempting to run it.

more ...

On this page
Trail description
Trail info and history
The trail
Rate this adventure

Quick Links
4WD Ratings
How to read Ratings

New Adventures


Click here for the latest 4WD Adventure

Mountain Biking

Click here for the latest Biking Adventure


Click here for the latest Hiking Adventure

Rate this adventure!

Name: Francis Mountain Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating:
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (demading 4WD)
Time: 1-2 hours Region: SE Arizona
Length: 1.3 miles (roundtrip) Elevation gain/loss/change: +427 / -420 ft / 0 ft (roundtrip)
Type: Out and back Avg Elevation: 5000 ft
Best time to go: fall, spring, winter Fees: NA
Fitness rating: Low Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Medium Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: September, 2011
Short Description: A very short, but difficult trail to the gravesite of a miner with a unique story
Geocaches: Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's just a few. Francis Mountain Cache; American Flag; Cody's Cache
References / Contact Information: Francis Mountain Cache; Newspaper Story
Points of interest: Earl Francis gravesite; nice views of Oracle; interesting trail
Special Considerations: Little used road, washed out sections may be difficult, route finding may be difficult
How to get there: From Tucson, head north on Hwy 77, turn right onto American Ave at the town of Oracle. After about 2.5 miles, turn right onto Mt. Lemmon Rd, then turn right after about 0.3 miles onto N. Cody Loop Rd (also known as FR4454). Go another 2.2 miles, then turn right onto S. Wildcat Trail (dirt road at Waypoint 001). Go through the green metal gate. Head south for another 0.2 miles until you reach Waypoint 002, then turn right onto 4WD trail. Click here for directions.

Trail Description

This is a super short, but fun 4WD trail to an interesting place with great views of the surrounding area. The trail is washed out and can be difficult for stock, low-clearance 4WD vehicles. My Rubicon handled it without any assistance from my lockers, careful wheel placement is required portions of the trail.

General Information and History

This trail is dedicated to Earl Francis, a miner in the 1960's who gave his life for what he believed in - freedom. The trail goes to his gravesite, mining claims and location of his homestead. This is a very interesting place. I suggest you make a trip to the site, find the geocache and read about the history of this man during your visit.

If you want to know about Earl Francis before you go, click here. Warning-this is a spoiler!

Listen to the ballad of The Earl Francis Mine!

July 2012 Update: Arizona native and song writer Ed Putney performs a wonderful ballad about Earl Francis. Click here for an interview with Ed and to listen to The Earl Francis Mine.

back to top

The Trail

At Waypoint 001, go through the green metal gate. This short portion of Wildcat Trail is high-clearance 2WD. After about 1/4 of a mile, you'll reach a faded trail on the right (Waypoint 002).

Take this trail up the hill on your right. This is a short trail to the top. The first section of the hill (about 1/4 of a mile) along the washouts is the most difficult. If you can get past this, the rest should be fairly easy.

Keep going up the hill, past the washouts and along the switchbacks. Once you get to the top (Waypoint 003), there's a large parking area with great views. The grave is off the trail to the south of the road.

You can walk from here to the geocache also. Explore the area. Can you find the remnants of the old house and mines?

When you're done, go back the way you came.

Be safe and have fun!

back to top


Have you been on this adventure? What did you think? Comments and updates welcome by clicking here. You can also rate this adventure by clicking here.

Wonderful Place and More Info on Francis Mountain

Matt: An Experience Arizona reader submitted the following comment and information on Francis Mountain. Much appreciated!

Great find and thanks for all the work you do. It's much appreciated. I went out to Francis Mountain today and it's a great place. What a story.

Here is something I found online when I returned home. It's an old Newspaper clipping regarding the Earl Francis story (spoiler)

Newspaper Story

back to top