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Name: Yellow Jacket Mine Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: No votes yet
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (Easy 4WD)
Time: 2- 4 hours Region: SW Arizona
Length: ~20 miles total (roundtrip) Elevation gain/loss/change: ~ +2350 ft / -1970 / +380 ft (roundtrip)
Type: Modified Loop Avg Elevation: 4000 ft
Best time to go: fall, spring, winter Fees: NA
Fitness rating: Low Educational Merit: Medium
Danger/fear rating: Low Scenic Beauty: Medium
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: January, 2016
Short Description: An easy 4WD trail to an interesting mine and some other ruins through some very beautiful desert scenery
Geocaches: A few geocaches in the area: Cholla Hill; Jolly Roger; It's Mine!
References / Contact Information: None at this time
Points of interest: Yellow Jacket Mine, Skunk Spring, Stone ruins, an old arrastra
Special Considerations: Lots of old mines in this area, stay away from open mine shafts and be careful of mine tailings.Trail is located in illegal immigrant and smuggler high traffic area, see page regarding warning. I have heard this area has become more dangerous in the past few months (mid 2016). Use extreme caution when visiting this area.
How to get there: From I-19, take the Arivaca exit and drive about 23 miles to Arivaca. Turn left (south) onto 5th Ave (Ruby road). Travel about 0.5 miles until you reach Waypoint 001 and FR216 (S. Fraguitas or W. Tres Bellotas Roads). Click here for directions.

Trail Description

NOTE: Trail is located in illegal immigrant and smuggler high traffic area, see page regarding warning. I have heard this area has become more dangerous in the past few months (mid 2016). Use extreme caution when visiting this area.

This is an easy 4WD trail through the rolling hills and beautiful desert scenery of extreme southern Arizona. This area has some rich mining history with some of the oldest mines in Arizona located in the surrounding hills.

The trail leads past the Yellow Jacket Mine. It is marked Private Property and has seen some "recent" use, so please do not cross the fences. It is interesting seeing the mine even from a distance. Near the Yellow Jacket Mine, there's ruins of old stone buildings and even an old arrastra. If you don't know what an arrastra is, click here.

This is an awesome trail to take after a good rain as there may be some water flowing in the canyons, but always use caution when doing this. There are some narrow canyons and washes that would be very dangerous during heavy rains or flash floods from rains beyond visual range.

There are lots of trails and places to explore in the area including:
- Coches Well
- Brouse Mine
- Ajax Mine
- Fraguita Spring
- Fresnel Dam

General Information and History

I do not have any information on Yellow Jacket Mine. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

If you want to know what an arrastra is, click here for the Brouse Mine adventure.

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The Trail

NOTE: I went on this trail in January, 2016 and am writing this report over six months later, mostly based on memory (except for the GPS track). Therefore, the directions and descriptions may not be as accurate as when I write the report immediately after the adventure.

From Arivaca, head southeast on Ruby Road for about 0.5 miles, then bear right onto W. Tres Bellotas Road (FR216) at Waypoint 001. The road turns from pavement into a graded (usually) dirt road at this point. Head south on FR216. There will be numerous roads that lead off in both directions. Not all roads are notes here. Usually, take the most well-traveled road.

Continue driving south for 3.8 miles until you pass FR4122 to Fraguita Springs on the right at Waypoint 002. You will also pass FR4121 to Ajax Mine on the right. Both of these are detailed out on other adventures.

FYI, Google earth (and possible other GPS units) may show that the road turns into Fraguita Spring Road before reaching the turn off to Fraguita Springs, then turns back into Tres Bellotas Road.

Drive another 1.4 miles until you pass FR4119 to Brouse Mine on the right at Waypoint 003.

Drive south along FR216 for another 2.6 miles until you reach a Y-intersection at Waypoint 004. Taking a right here will lead you to Coches Well ruins and Fresnel Dam on FR601. Keep left to stay on FR216. Drive south for another 3.0 miles until you reach Waypoint 005.

From here, make a hard left to begin trekking northeast. Drive another 1.45 miles until you pass a road on the right at Waypoint 006. This small spur dies out shortly after leaving the main road. Keep left and head up the small hill.

Drive 3.41 miles until you reach Waypoint 007. Keep straight as you pass the road on your left. Keep to the main road for another 0.18 miles until you reach Waypoint 008. You will see Yellow Jacket Mine on your right as you come down the hill. Take a right at Waypoint 008. I believe you can also go left here to get back to Ruby Road, but I have not taken that route yet.

Less than 0.1 miles later you will come to Waypoint 009. You can get a good look at the mine and some of their old vehicles and ore cars from here. The mine is on and marked as private property. Please respect this and take only pictures and don't cross the fence line. On the left side of the road is an old arrastra. It can be a little hard to see if you don't know what to look for, but it's worth a look.

Continue down the road for a very short bit and you will see some rock ruins on both sides of the road. You will also come to a mine on the right side at Waypoint 010. If you want, you can walk into the mine for a few feet and see all the leftover bags used in the mine, presumably by smugglers.

Drive another 0.35 miles until you reach Waypoint 011. There's a faint trail on the left that leads to an old mine with a winch above it. I would recommend parking at the intersection and walking to these if you're interested. It's about 0.1 miles each way. Not much of a hike.

When you're done looking at the old winch, continue another 0.1 miles on the road until you reach the road on your right at Waypoint 012. This is a short spur that leads to the top of a mountain that has wonderful 360 degree views. The road can be steep and I can imagine may get washed out with summer rains, but I believe the Border Patrol uses it for a lookout and keep it in decent shape.

Take a right to go to the lookout. Drive 0.6 miles until you reach the top at Waypoint 013. The road circles the top. Go in one way, out the other. There's great views.

Take the spur road back down to the main road and take a right at Waypoint 012. Drive 0.75 miles until you reach Skunk Springs at Waypoint 014. My topo map shows caves in the canyon on the left. We took some time to look for these (and one of party had done so on another trip). We failed to find them either time. I think they have been filled in.

Unlike the name implies, Skunk Springs is a beautiful little area to the right of the road. After a nice rain, there can be some water coming off a short falls and through the canyon. Very beautiful!

Continue heading down the main road for the final 1.8 miles until you reach Ruby Road at Waypoint 015. There's a nice cattle tank (Cemetery Tank and Yanks Spring) on your left and other roads in the area that look interesting, but we didn't take any of these.

When you reach Ruby Road, take a left to head back to Arivaca or a right to go to Ruby.

Have fun and be safe!

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