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Name: Ripsey Hill Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: Not rated yet
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (Demanding 4WD trail)
Time: 1 - 2 hours (does not including trip back or time to get to trail head) Region: Central Arizona
Length: 7.6 miles (out and back) Elevation gain/loss/change: ~ +1548 / -1548 ft / +0 ft (roundtrip)
Type: Out and back Avg Elevation: 5400 ft
Best time to go: fall, spring, winter, Fees: NA
Fitness rating: Low Educational Merit: Medium
Danger/fear rating: Medium Scenic Beauty: Medium
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: October, 2013
Short Description: A short spur trail in the Ripsey Mine area that leads to a cool old mine
Geocaches: A few geocaches in the area.Tin House; Big-Yuk-a; So Where's the Head?
References / Contact Information: Experience Arizona Trip Report; Offroad Passport Trip Report
Points of interest: Florence Lead-Silver Mine; tons of old mining equipment; old assayer's cabin; ranch/stable; old car frame; fun drive
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. Route finding (especially the first 1/4 of a mile) is difficult, a GPS, maps and Google Earth images are recommended.
How to get there: To go in via the Old Ripsey Mine from Tucson: take Oracle Road north out of Tucson. Oracle Road turns into State Highway 77. Follow Highway 77 to Oracle Junction and make a left on Highway 79. Take Hwy 79 for about 36 miles until you take a right onto Cactus Forest Rd. Drive 0.8 miles, then take a left onto Diffen Road. Drive on Diffen for 3 miles, then take a right onto the Florence-Kelvin Hwy. Drive east for about 20 miles until you reach Waypoint 001 (Red Cloud Trail). Click here for directions.
To go in via Ripsey Wash from tucson: take Hwy 77 north out of Tucson, past Oracle, Mammoth and turn left on Hwy 177 at Winkleman. Drive 16 miles on 177 past Hayden and Kearny. Take a left on the Florence-Kelvin Hwy. The road is paved at first, then you cross the Gila River and it turns to a well-graded dirt road. Drive 4 miles west until you reach the Ripsey Wash at Waypoint 001. Click here for directions.

Trail Description

This is a short spur trail off the Old Ripsey Mine and Hackberry Cabin trails. The first quarter mile is almost entirely washed away (though still not difficult) and route finding is difficult here. I recommend a GPS, topo map and/or Google Earth images to help.

Once out of the wash, the road still isn't traveled much, but it's easy to follow. The trail passes an old wooden ranch house and stable (my guess) with the nice old car frame next to it. It ends at the Florence Lead-Silver Mine which has a semi-modern cabin/shack, tons of old equipment strewn about and of course the mine.

If you have time while out enjoying either Old Ripsey Mine or Hackberry Cabin, I recommend checking this trail out!

General Information and History

I don't have specific history or information on the two spots detailed in this adventure, but you can click here for info on the Ripsey Mining Area and Joe Mulhattan (the "World's Biggest Liar") who was quite a character in the area.

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The Trail

At waypoint 001, head south down the wash. There doesn't seem to be a road here and you wouldn't know there is one if your map/GPS wasn't telling you so. Drive up the wash, keeping to the right when you can (the exit is on the right).

After about 1/4 miles, the "trail" heads off to the right out of the wash (Waypoint 002). When I went, this was very difficult to find due to some trees blocking the view of the shelf road coming out of the wash.

You will see the road as it leaves the wash. If you're out of the wash and not on a defined road, you're not at the right spot.

You will climb up the short distance out of the wash and make a sharp left when you get to the top of the hill. Follow this trail for another 1/4 miles until you get to Waypoint 003. Keep straight at this intersection. I believe the right will take you back out to the main trail again (Waypoint 007 on the Hackberry Trail), but I haven't been on it.

Not far (~0.2 miles) from Waypoint 003, you'll notice a car/truck frame on your left, a corral on your right and 50 yards further up the trail a 1/2 collapsed building (Waypoint 004). I think this used to be a ranch and stable, but Cat-dog and I didn't get to explore much due to the massive amounts of cholla that blew off from high winds that came through a few days before our visit.

After you're done looking around there, keep driving on the road until you come to the toughest portion of the trail (near Waypoint 005), which is roughly 0.35 miles from the ranch. This section has some big washouts that can be a little butt-clenching, especially if you're out alone. Take care negotiating them and keep driving.

Once you've topped the hill, the hard part's done. When I went, this section was a little overgrown, but not too bad. Keep driving until you reach Waypoint 006, the wooden shack.

I recommend parking just before the shack. I think there's room for at least five vehicles in the area without too much problem. The road switchbacks right after the shack and is impassible not far from that. Remember, the shack is private property. Please respect it and don't trash it.

On foot, you can go around the shack and find the mine at the next switchback (about 50 yards away). You can also see a collapsed building on the side of the hill about another 50 yards away. This is where you'll find the big shaft where there was water in the bottom. There's a ton of mining equipment here including an old compressor. Again, please be respectful and leave it just as you found it for all of us to enjoy.

I am sure there's some neat stuff out there that we didn't have time to find too.

When you're done exploring, return the way you came in.

Have fun and be safe!

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