Looking for a fun Arizona Jeep trail to explore? Copper Canyon Trail is 8 miles long and parallels I-17, with interesting views and challenging terrain as you descend into the canyon.
We were looking for a place to trail ride with friends in the area, this trail came up along with the one for Squaw Peak on Trails Offroad. Given the length of the two, we decided to combine the two into a day ride.
For RV Travelers Who Explore by Jeep or OHV:
Sitting along the mountain range on the south side of Verde Valley just above Camp Verde, Arizona is Squaw Peak. This peak was selected as a location for a plethora of telecommunications antennas due to its elevation and line of sight to other peaks used for similar purposes. Not only do you get an incredible view, but your phone signal will be insanely strong.
The views are commanding with a full 360-degree view of Arizona including Prescott, Prescott Valley and down the I-17 corridor towards Phoenix, picturesque mountains around Sedona as well as the snow-covered tops of the San Francisco Mountains near Flagstaff. So, whether you’re looking to get out and explore for fun or just want an incredible view, Squaw Peak is the place for you!
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.
Arizona isn’t just a big flat desert sprinkled with cactus and rattlesnakes and you don’t have to travel very far from where we are staying to see some pretty spectacular scenery.
Our last trail ride was a group ride with the local off-road club here in the park we’re staying at. Four rigs, two side-by-sides, our Jeep Wrangler and a vintage International Scout. After arriving at the trailhead parking area, while the side-by-sides unloaded off their trailers, the two of us aired down and readied for the ride.
Back in the late 1800’s traveling in what is now known as Arizona was a difficult and dangerous journey . Not only was the terrain often inhospitable for humans, the local natives weren’t always on good terms with the people who were trying to colonizing these lands. Natives were not the only ones who attacked the outposts that sprung up to support the stage lines and those who worked or rode them. In most cases it was a fellow countrymen that attacked and killed them. Such as the massacre at the Dragoon Springs Station which sits on the western slope of the Dragoon Mountains near where Cochise hid from the US Army in what was to be called Cochise Stronghold.
The Dragoon Springs Station site isn’t too far from I-10 near the area known as Texas Canyon where the town of Dragoon is just a short ride from Benson, AZ. if you are thinking of visiting this site, you will first need to have an Arizona Land Trust Permit. Click this link to learn more about obtaining a Recreational Land Use Permit which runs $20 for a family or $15 for an individual.
It is just a seven mile drive from I-10 to the site. The road to the site requires going through a gate…be sure to close the gate after passing through. The road was in fairly good shape up to the turn off to the site. From that point to the site, there were some areas of water erosion, but nothing too serious to prevent even a 2WD pickup or SUV from getting through.
NOTICE: In Arizona, road and trail conditions can change rapidly during inclement weather. Be prepared to turn around to avoid flash flooding areas and heed the warnings DO NOT ENTER when water is standing or flowing across the roadway.
This site has a remarkable history which can be read about HERE. Today, while standing on the site, you are not far away from modern infrastructure such as roads, highways, homes and vehicles. On the day we visited we were accompanied by dozens of cattle that were grazing around the fenced in site. All of them had their eyes on us as we explored the former stage coach station. All one has to do is look around, across the desert and up at the mountains to have some sense of what it was like to have lived there back in the late 1800’s. It wasn’t hard to comprehend the harshness and hard life it was to live and work there. The desert can be a hostile, but beautiful place too.
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