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Name: Martinez Mine Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: Not rated yet
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (Challenging)
Time: 3 - 5 hours Region: Central Arizona
Length: 4.5 miles (one way) Elevation gain/loss/change: +1120 / -500 ft / +620 ft (one way)
Type: Out and back Avg Elevation: 2400 ft
Best time to go: fall, spring, winter Fees: NA
Fitness rating: Low Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Low Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: December, 2008
Short Description: A challenging 4WD trail to some historic ruins
Geocaches:Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's just a few. Box Canyon Book Cache, Gotta Want It…, Martinez Treasure
References / Contact Information: Arizona Backcountry Adventures, pages 450 and 454; Guide to Arizona Backroads and 4-wheel Drive Trails pages 187 and 195. Expeditions West
Points of interest: Martinez Mine ruins, Martinez Mine cabins, challenging 4WD trails
Special Considerations: Area very popular, can be busy on weekends
How to get there: See Box Canyon Adventure. Take Oracle Road north out of Tucson. Oracle Road turns into State Highway 77. Follow Highway 77 to Oracle Junction. At Oracle Junction, turn left on Highway 79. Follow Highway 79 past the junction with Highway 287 through the town of Florence. Just beyond the outskirts of Florence, turn right on Price Road. Price Road is immediately before the railroad tracks. Click here for directions.

Trail Description

January 2013 Update: I've got good information that the BLM has closed off this road just before the cabins. Although I have not been able to verify it myself, I believe this information is correct. See member's comment below and updated maps/GPS coordinates.

The Martinez Mine trail is a spur trail off the Box Canyon trail. It's a popular out and back and offers a wide variety of 4WD challenges. The trail as described takes you to a set of cabins about a half mile from Martinez Mine. I park and walk the remaining way up the wash. This is a very difficult section of the trail. I have seen Jeeps (and other vehicles do this), but they all were modified (lifted with larger tires and most likely lockers). I have also seen many people break things along this section of the trail. The boulder garden (just before the cabins) can be a challenge for stock vehicles. This adventure is one of my favorites. It combines challenging 4WD, with outstanding scenery and some history all in one!

General Information and History

It is my understanding that the cabins at Martinez Mine were home to the family that mined ore in this canyon and processed the ore at the Martinez Mill farther up the canyon. For history and mining buffs, the Martinez Mill is truly a sight to behold and the canyon itself is quite scenic. I also believe that Arizona Highways did an article on this location in the 1970s, I am still trying to find out more information on this unique place.

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The Trail

January 2013 Update: I've got good information that the BLM has closed off this road just before the cabins. Although I have not been able to verify it myself, I believe this information is correct. See member's comment below and updated maps/GPS coordinates.
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Take the Box Canyon trail until you reach Waypoint 001 (Waypoint 009 on the Box Canyon Trail map). Take a right off Box Canyon to start the Martinez Mine trail.

The two miles is fairly easy 4WD. Enjoy the scenery and the unusual rock formations around here. Keep going straight at Waypoint 002 (a right here will take you to on the Coke Ovens adventure).

At Waypoint 003, you'll pass through a saddle and there will be a short spur road off to your right. This leads to a small corral (Waypoint 004) and makes a fairly interesting short side trip. There's also a nice open area here for a few tents if you're camping.

2013 Update: I've got good information that the BLM has closed off this road just before the cabins. Although I have not been able to verify it myself, I believe this information is correct. See member's comment below and updated maps/GPS coordinates.

Once back on the main road, you can continue heading east where you will find a new locked gate at Waypoint "Gate". You may be able to park here and walk the rest of the way to the cabins and the mill. Just before you reach Waypoint 005, you will drop down into a nice, rocky wash. If you'are lucky, there will be water flowing here. This is a truly beautiful area. Did you notice some old masonry walls around the area?

At approximately Waypoint 005, you'll come to what we call the "Boulder Garden." This used to be a fun place to challenge you and your vehicles. The wash turned downright nasty for about 100 yards (at least for stock vehicles). Though if you're walking, you shouldn't have any issues.

The area after the boulder garden is gorgeous. Red rock and big cottonwood trees. Continue up the trail until you reach the cabins. This is a great place to stop for a picnic.

NOTE: Please don't trash these cabins anymore than they've already been abused. I've heard the Forest Service is thinking about closing down this trail due to the amount of destruction laid upon the cabins and the mine itself. Respect our environment so others can enjoy it.

You can walk the remaining half mile to Martinez Mine. Those who like more of a challenge used to be able drive it.

When you're finished, retrace your steps back to your vehicle and Box Canyon.

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.

2017 Update

From an Experience Arizona subscriber:

Ran the run into Martinez today. Gate is still up. Does have a access "v" on the side the dirt bikes are using but nothing else with a motor. The late model cabin is disassembled and the material stacked around the slab. The large red cabin is on the verge of falling. The support beams are mostly gone under the kitchen and a large cotton wood has pushed the roof over and is beginning to push the entire cabin away from the stream.  The small white cabin has a partial roof and just over two walls standing. Very nice spot just wish there was a better spot to park/ have lunch at the vehicle. But that's what happens with vandalism. I noticed in one of your pics there were two generators in a shed. The shed is still there with a roof, one generator is gone the other has been dragged out and partly torn apart. I suppose fortunately it has been gated, at least some of it is still there. The bridge at the mill is also down. Both ends still up, but looks like the recent floods have washed out the center section from the way the south side is pointing down stream now. Lots of large timbers were in the wash all the way down to the gate almost. Great hike in with lots of shade and there was minimal water running in a few spots. Over all under 2 miles round trip, just above the mill to one of the ore shafts to the gate.

Recent photos:

Trail Closed - Confirmation

February, 2013: I was just at Martinez Mine in November, and I can confirm that the BLM has gated the road about 1/2 a mile before the cabins. One of the cabins has been torn down, and the other is basically destroyed. It's a real shame, the last time I was here in 2006, they cabins were almost pristine.

Trail Closed about a Mile from Mine

December 29, 2012: I did the Martinez Mine trail today, and I can verify that that BLM has closed the trail about a mile from the mine itself.

January, 2013: The exact location of the locked gate (heavy duty, not just a padlock) is at:

33* 09' 35" N, 111* 09' 50" W

There's a place to turn around about 100 meters from the gate, but it's not very big. Large enough for me to do a K-Turn with my 4Runner, though. As I said, the gate is very heavy duty, and is not easily bypassed. They have also fenced the trail for about 50 meters beyond the gate to prevent vehicles from driving around the gate.

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