Purple Pansy & Black Rock – Abandoned Arizona Mines

Black Rock Mine

Beyond the Pavement – 4 Wheeling Arizona

A short distance south of Aguila, Arizona along Eagle Eye Road, we arrived at the trailhead for visiting two abandoned Arizona mines. We were with a contingent of off-roading enthusiasts, like ourselves. We were the only Jeep; the rest were side-by-sides but we’re all members of the North Ranch Outdoors Club, from the RV park where we winter.

We always look forward to any trips with the group that are suitable for our Jeep Wrangler. This particular run to the Purple Pansy and Black Rock Mines was just such a ride. Sadly, it would be our last ride with the group this season. But for good reason … soon we’ll be starting our migration back north … if the weather across the plains and the upper mid-west cooperates. Otherwise, we’ll have to hold up somewhere along the way.

Our first stop will be in Cottonwood, Arizona to meet up with friends and spend a few days riding trails in the surrounding area including Sedona. More on those treks will come later, for now let’s focus on the two abandoned Arizona mines we visited.

The Purple Pansy – Our 1st Abandoned Mines Stop

The Purple Pansy Mine was also known as the Claude Fugett Mine, Fortunate and Claude Fugett Claim. It is a sizeable operation, as evident by the number of rather large shafts dotting the claim. This mine produced Manganese, a mineral used in the production of stainless-steel. It’s also a mineral necessary for a healthy body. The claim has been owned by several entities over the years, dating back to 1957. When it ceased operations, I don’t know, but it still is listed as having registered owners.

Water tanks at the Purple Pansy abandoned Arizona mine.

Black Rock Mine

The Black Rock Mine is another abandoned Arizona mine located in this area. It is a bit unique as it is a pit-type mine with mining tunnels dug into the walls of the pit. Like the Purple Pansy, the Black Rock Mine is another source for Manganese. Claims for this site date back to 1915, operating on and off up until possibly 1960.

This mine is situated in an area of granite and volcanic rock. When you see the mine, it looks as if they carved out the volcanic rock to retrieve the manganese and left the granite behind. Possibly these were vents for the nearby volcanoes or the chambers below one. Assay remarks about this mine reveal it yielded low iron oxide levels of ore.

Exploring the Black Rock Mine, and abandoned Arizona mine.

This trek I estimated at about 24-28 miles being off-road with another 90 miles (round-trip) from the RV park where we started. It was a beautiful day, the weather perfect. Just enough of a breeze to blow the dust away that was kicked up by the rigs, and after a few miles on the trail everyone shed their jackets for just a T-shirt.

This is an Arrastra, used to pulverize ore mined in these parts.Along the route we also stopped to see a couple of items, this one was particularly of interest. It is called an Arrastra, which was used to grind and pulverize ore, to extract gold and silver. In this part of the country, they were powered by Burros to turn the mechanism that ground the ore.

Purple Pansy & Black Rock Abandoned Arizona Mines Trail Rating

We rate this Arizona 4-wheeling trail at 2.9 on our trail rating guide.Overall, I give this particular trail ride a 2.9. There were, as you’ll see in the video below, some steep gravel two-tracks, a few rocks to negotiate over and soft sand in the washes. A 4×4 is highly recommended due to the sand. A stock Jeep Wrangler would have little if any issues on this run. Scratching from foliage is likely to occur.


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Gerald Voigt

Gerald's interests are wide and varied. His work career started in the United States Air Force and since then has worked in logistics management, retail & service management as well as manufacturing. He's an author, photographer, pilot, radio show host and marketing consultant who enjoys RVing which allows him greater freedom to explore, meet new acquaintances and serve his clients.