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Matt Marine

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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.

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Name: Helvetia Ruins FR505 Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: Not rated yet
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (semi-maintained dirt road)
Time: 1 - 2 hours Region: SE Arizona
Length: 13.0 miles (one way) Elevation gain/loss/change: +1580 / -0 ft / +1580 ft (one way)
Type: Out and back Avg Elevation: 3400 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: November, 2004
Short Description: An easy dirt road to some historic ruins
Geocaches:Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's just a few. Lennie's Cache; Shade!
References / Contact Information:
Points of interest: Helvetia town site ruins, Helvetia cemetery, access to Gunsight Pass, lots of places to explore.
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).
How to get there: From Tucson, take I-19 south to exit 75. Drive east on Sahuarita Rd for about 2.5 miles. Take a right on S. Santa Rita Rd. Click here for directions.

Trail Description

December 2015 Update: This has been closed by the Rosemont Mining Company.

This is an easy dirt road that takes you to some old adobe ruins of the Helvetia cemetery and town site. High clearance (non-4WD) vehicles should be able go here without any problems. This adventure can be combined with the Gunsight Pass Trail. There's also tons of short trails in the area to explore.

General Information and History

The town of Helvetia was established in the late 1800s mainly for Mexican miners working the areas mines. At its peak, the town boasted more than 300 people and a 150 ton smelter that worked copper from the mines. The Helvetia's post office was established December 12, 1899 and discontinued December 31, 1921. The mine shut down in 1911 and today only scattered remnants remain.

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The Trail

December 2015 Update: This has been closed by the Rosemont Mining Company.

I've started this trail at the intersection of E Sahuarita Rd and S Santa Rita Rd in Sahuarita (Waypoint 021). NOTE: The Waypoints are in reverse order for this trail.

Head south on Santa Rita Rd for 11.5 miles until you reach Helvetia Rd (FR505) at Waypoint 019. Take a left on Helvetia Rd. After only 0.25 miles, you'll see the Helvetia Cemetery off to the right (Waypoint 018).

After almost another mile, keep going straight at Waypoint 017. Follow the road for another half mile or so until you reach the Helvetia ruins (Waypoint 016) off to the left.

You can explore the ruins for a while, then either go back the way you came or head out through Gunsight Pass. Gunsight Pass requires 4WD.

Whatever you decide, have fun and be safe.

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