|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.|
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.
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.
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!
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)