What to bring:
4x4 truck, sack lunch, sunscreen, jacket, hiking boots, water
The participants were John Hill in "The River ....", Bob and Robbie Peterson in "Free Willy", Ed and Debbi McCullough in their brand new F-250 Super Duty Ford, Mike and Melissa Drake, John Waack and Skip Bohling. By the time we got to Florence, both the Drakes and the Waacks were passengers because of vehicle problems.
To be sure you've got the picture: 2 of 5 vehicles are already out of commission, its snowing and there are dark clouds on the horizon, and we haven't even made it to the trail yet! Yiiii-haaaa.
The snow was melting very fast, because Florence is lower altitude. Our trip through Box Canyon was great because the melting snow made lots of little waterfalls coming down off the high cliffs. Traffic was very heavy as we met half a dozen trucks going both ways in this narrow canyon --- seems that everybody had the same idea for a fun trip. Ed managed to get the new truck through without any damage to his virgin sheet metal.
We got to the Beehive Ovens about 2:30 and had a quick lunch and look around the ovens. By 3:30 we were headed cross country toward Walnut Canyon. There were intermittent light rain and snow showers all day long. Snow on the high rocks improved already spectacular scenery. Most of the trail is rocky, but there were plenty of puddles and mud to splash through. The water was never more than a foot deep, so the Gila Box veterans were unphased.
We came out on Highway 177 above Ray Mine about 5:15 in the midst of a vigorous snow storm. The only damage of the whole trip came in the last quarter mile when Ed got a flat tire.
John and Ed took the Drakes back to Florence by way of Superior to pick up their Jeep. The snow and clouds on Picketpost Mountain were very pretty. Bob took the Waacks directly back to Catalina via Winkleman to meet up with a new alternator. A fun day was had by all.
After leaving the Beehive Ovens, follow the trail to the East along the river for about a mile. This section can be very muddy if the river has been high recently. Then turn Northeast (not exactly, but in the general direction of Red Mountain Mine). The trail winds around on the flats and then crosses the ridge going North on the East side of The Rincon. (see the GPS waypoints below --- parts of our route are not shown on the Teapot Mountain topo map, although the map indicates another possible route to the East of Copper Butte). The road drops down into White Canyon (going downstream) and then crosses into Walnut Canyon (going upstream) before picking up Battleaxe Road out to AZ Highway 177. The Highway 177 turnoff is on top of the hill about a mile North/West of Ray Mine.
The old Cochran townsite is normally not accessible from the North side of the Gila River where the beehive ovens are located. (The ford shown on the topo maps is washed out.) Other roads (with a rating of 2) lead into Cochran proper from the South. You get a nice view of the Cochran site across the river as you are descending toward the beehive ovens.
Adjoining Topographic Maps
|Landmark||UTM Easting||UTM Northing||Altitude|
|Highway 79 turnoff to Box Canyon||12 4 64 800 E||36 58 000 N||+1500|
|South entrance to Box Canyon||12 4 78 200 E||36 61 800 N||+1580|
|North entrance to Box Canyon||12 4 81 000 E||36 67 750 N||+2150|
|Jeep trail to Cochran||12 4 83 480 E||36 68 050 N||+2475|
|Fork to ovens or river||12 4 85 175 E||36 63 900 N||+1940|
|Cochran Beehive Ovens||12 4 84 600 E||36 62 750 N||+1700|
|road from river||12 4 86 501 E||36 63 761 N||+1688|
|toward Red Mountain Mine||12 4 87 827 E||36 63 956 N||+1860|
|pass across The Spine near The Rincon||12 4 91 268 E||36 68 222 N||+2511|
|near White Canyon||12 4 91 698 E||36 69 191 N||+2227|
|in Walnut Canyon||12 4 92 579 E||36 68 756 N||+1913|
|road out of Walnut Canyon||12 4 94 846 E||36 68 764 N||+2554|
|turnoff from Highway 177||12 4 96 356 E||36 71 055 N||+3000|
|former Cochran town site (across river)||12 4 86 050 E||36 63 150 N||+1640|
Last modified: Mon Mar 12 19:54:58 2012