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Name: Guajolote Flat (FR4695) Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: Not rated yet
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (Easy 4WD trail). May be more difficult now (see comments below)
Time: 1 - 3 hours (one way, does not including trip back or time to get to trail head) Region: SE Arizona
Length: 5.3 miles (one way) Elevation gain/loss/change: ~ +1398 / -986 ft / +412 ft (one way)
Type: Through trail Avg Elevation: 5600 ft
Best time to go: summer, fall, spring, winter, Fees: NA
Fitness rating: Low Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: High Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: September, 2013
Short Description: An easy 4WD (though not for the faint of heart) that switchbacks up a steep mountain to a beautiful, flat plateau
Geocaches: A few geocaches in the area. Above Arizona 2; Guajolote Flate; Ruby Challenge
References / Contact Information:Offroad Passport Trip Report;
Points of interest: Wonderful scenery; beautiful views; steep switchbacks, mines, camping spots
Special Considerations: Lots of old mines in this area, stay away from open mine shafts and be careful of mine tailings. Area / trail is not well traveled is desolate. Travel in groups.Trail is located in illegal immigrant and smuggler high traffic area, see page regarding warning (it's not as bad as it sounds).
How to get there: From Tucson, take I-19 south to Nogales. Take exit on to I-19 Business / Grand Ave. Follow that for about 4 miles. Turn onto Kino Springs Dr and drive 5.7 miles northeast until you reach Duquesne Rd. Take a right on Duquesne Road and drive 5 miles until you reach Waypoint 001. Click here for directions.

Trail Description

May be more difficult now (see comments below)

As a trail, Guajolote Flat is a misnomer. Yes, there is a nice, large flat spot when you get to the top of Red Hill, but much of this drive is steep and anything but flat!

I drove this trail in September 2013 and it quickly became one of my favorites in the area. The trail leads you through some really gorgeous scenery in southern Arizona. The steep switchbacks up Red Hill can get your blood pumping, but the views are fantastic. When you get to the top, you'll be rewarded for your efforts by a lush, flat area that's seems like a mountain top oasis. If you're exploring the area, Guajolote Flat is a trail you shouldn't miss.

General Information and History

According to the book, Arizona's Names X Mark the Place: Historical Names of Places in Arizona by Byrd Howell Granger, Guajolote (which means turkey in Spanish) Flat originates from the nearby Guajolote Mine. Looking at the current topographical map, I don't see a nearby Guajolote Mine. There is a "Guajalote" Peak though. Notice the "a" after the "j" (instead of an "o"). I think this is another typo on the USGS Map.

I do see why they called in "Flat" though. Although not flat like you may think about when thinking about a place like Nebraska, there is a somewhat flat (given the area) region on top of the mountain.

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The Trail

May be more difficult now (see comments below)

Note: We did this trail from south to north, but it can also be done the opposite direction. I'm not sure what would be more fun? I really enjoyed the climb up Red Hill, but would also think the drive down and the views that way would make it an awesome trip north to south.

From the trail head at Waypoint 001, turn north onto FR4695. If you're driving west on Duquesne Road, the trail can be easy to miss and it's a SHARP right turn. Getting onto the road was probably the most difficult part of the trip.

The first mile of the trip is along a mild shelf road in which you get awesome views of the Providencia Canyon to the north and the valleys to the west. You also get to see Four Metals Mine and Red Hill from here. If this part of the trail makes you nervous, you won't like the climb up to Red Hill.

At Waypoint 002, take the sharp turn to the left to stay on the main road. There is a faint trail leading off to the right. To my knowledge, this doesn't go anywhere and will be closed soon (when the new MVUMs are released).

Now begins the fun part: the climb up Red Hill. This can be steep and a little scary for those who don't like heights. When we ran the trail, it was in perfect shape, with no difficult sections. I can see, however, with a significant monsoon that this trail could become difficult quickly.

switchbacksare nicely done and I only had to back up on one of them (which is good considering my long wheelbase). After almost 1/2 a mile of climbing you'll come to a nice pullout on the left at Four Metals Mine (Waypoint 003). This is a great place to stop, take some pictures and get your breath. Another thing to note: the sulphur smell at the mine was fairly significant when we went.

Keep climbing for another 0.4 miles until you reach the top (well, almost) of Red Hill at Waypoint 004. Keep on the main road as it curves to the left into another set of short switchbacks. I also really enjoyed this part of the trail. Portions of the trail were dug down into the mountain on both sides.

Soon, you will top the ridge and come to the "flat" part of the trail. This is another awesome area, with big trees and lush greenery (at least when we went there). Keep straight at Waypoint 005 on the main road.

Drive another 0.2 miles until you get to Waypoint 006. FR4697 leads off to your left. We took this road for about 1/3 of a mile until we came to Private Property. I knew there was a hunting cabin in the area and thought it was on private property. Please respect it and don't cross the gate.

Stay on FR4695 at Waypoint 006. At Waypoint 007, stay left on the main road. FR4695A heads off to the right. This trail is also scheduled to be closed soon.

A short distance from Waypoint 007 are some rock ruins at Waypoint 007A. They are off to the right. There are some main ones right along the trail and some others scattered about. Not sure what was here.

Keep straight at Waypoint 008. The left onto FR4697 ends at private property soon too (though we did not take this spur trail). Almost 0.6 miles from Waypoint 008, you will come to the 4681-cutoff trail on your left. This is difficult to see and is fairly overgrown. This cutoff trail is difficult and is scheduled to be closed soon. Keep going straight.

The remaining portion of this trail is a nice downhill track and super easy (probably 2WD high clearance). It's nice and smooth too. Keep on the main road past Waypoints 010 and 011 until you reach Harshaw Road at Waypoint 012.

Now you can either head back to Patagonia to the north or take a right and do more exploring down near the border.

Whatever you choose, have fun and be safe!

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Comments

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.

Trail may have become more difficult

January 24, 2016

From Steve:

Well it's a lot more difficult now. We actually ran the trail North to South and encountered an individual who was driving North who actually turned around because he felt he could not make the descent. We ran five vehicles through there, one of which was stock, and it took a little pounding. A sixth vehicle which accompanied us turned around too as his running boards on his stock 05 4runner would have been ripped off. The trail was given a difficulty rating of 2 by you previously. I would definitely recommend a change to a 3 to possibly 3.5 rated trail due to just this climb or descent. Only one of our vehicles did not run any sort of traction aiding device such as locker or limited slip, but we didn't feel that he would have been able to make the climb without a "pull" up if we would have elected to go the other way.

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