Hiking in the Tri-Community: Three to try

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Mammoth Hike.tif

The Mammoth Hike. (Nina Crowder photo)

By Nina Crowder

Special to the Nugget

Enjoying the outdoors is easy to do when you live in the Copper Corridor. There are many places to visit and hike that are in close proximity.

One enjoyable hike is just off Highway 77 on the lower Aravaipa Creek, approximately 10 miles north of Mammoth.

From Mammoth approximately 10 miles turn left on Camp Grant Road (instead of turning right to go to Central Arizona College, turn left). Go to the double arrows and turn right on PZ Ranch Road.

Stop and park just in front of the cattle guard about four-tenths of a mile and follow the trail just before the cattle guard. The trail is on the left side of the road along the barbed wire fence and is very visible.

This is a relaxing walk that will take you from the cholla cactus to the Aravaipa Creek with tall picturesque trees. Walking in the fall or winter, you will be able to hear the rustling of the leaves as they crunch beneath your feet.

The sky above may have a few hawks soaring around along with other colorful birds chirping. It’s a perfect place for a picnic.

Another close walk is in Mammoth. As you begin to head out of Mammoth, you will cross the Tucson Wash Bridge, on the left hand side you will see an apartment complex.

The first road past the apartment complex is Camino Rio Road, turn left here. Go over the cattle guard and turn left. Follow that road to a large flat area with practice baseball fields, where you can see a large railroad bridge. This is where you will park.

From here, walk west along the dirt road to the railroad bridge. From the railroad bridge, head west up the wash until you see a gas line road on the right, approximately one mile. You can either enjoy the views from below of the crosses on the large red rock and the windmill above or walk to the top of the hill on the gas line road to the windmill.

At the top of the windmill hill, enjoy the views or continue on one of several of the trails that are up there. While on this hike you may see deer, coyotes, javelina, roadrunners and other typical desert critters. The windmill it is an invigorating hike that allows you to realize the breath taking views and how close to home they are for many of us.

Or how about hiking a section of the Arizona Trail? This trail is a total of 4.6 miles, over rolling hills and scenic boulders with your final destination being a windmill with a picnic table near.

This is a very well marked trail. It can be hiked during the day or at night, just be sure to bring a flashlight.

To begin, turn right on Tiger Mine Road off Hwy 77 near Oracle and park next to the sign indicating the Arizona Trail. Go through the gate, walk into the wash, turn left and go through the tunnel that leads you under the highway. You will be in a wash. Go to your left heading east, and follow the Arizona Trail/Windmill markers.

Follow the path until you reach the top, where you will see the windmill. Enjoy a nice rest as you take in the captivating scenery.

The Arizona Trail is an 800-plus mile recreation trail from Mexico to Utah that connects mountain ranges, canyons, deserts, forests, wilderness areas, historic sites, trail systems and points of interest. It serves dayhikers, backpackers, equestrians, mountain bicyclists, trail runners, nature enthusiasts, cross-country skiers, snowshoers, and mule and llama packers.

All the beginning of these hikes are easily accessible by car. When you hike any of these locations take plenty of water, snacks and your camera.

When hiking any area please be sure to leave the trail and site you visit in the same condition if not better condition than how you found it.

For more info on maps or to print a map to take with you, visit AZStateParks.com.

Oracle Windmill Hike.tif

The Windmill Hike in Oracle. (Nina Crowder photo)

Aravaipa Hike.tif

The Aravaipa Hike. (Nina Crowder photo)

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