How to get there: From the interchange of I-10 and I-17 in central Phoenix, head south on I-17. After 6 miles, merge onto I-10 east. After 5 miles, keep right onto US-60 east towards Mesa/Globe. Follow US-60 east for 44 miles. Just after mile marker 215 turn right onto the poorly marked mineral Mountain Road. Staging is off to the right just down the road. Do not enter this area if there is a red flag flying at the entrance – that means there is active artillery fire going on in the area.
The trail: From the staging area, Mineral Mountain Road heads south. Stay straight just before 0.5 miles where a gas pipeline crosses under the road. Stay on the main trail as it crosses several washes and several turnoffs for additional camping/staging spots. Stay right at 2.1 miles where a lesser road goes left. Stay straight at 2.8 miles at a large clearing where many trails branch off. A trail joins from the left at 3.7 miles. Stay to the left at 4.4 miles where Reymert Road goes back and to the right. The trail is now Reymert Road on maps. The road heads east over a cattle guard and comes to another junction at 4.7 miles. Continue to the left off the main path to get to Reymert Mine. The trail becomes narrower and follows along a normally dry wash. Turn right out of the wash at 5.6 miles to visit the “Sugar Shack”, a small miner’s cabin located at 5.8 miles. Return the 0.2 miles back to the main wash and turn right to continue to Reymert Mine. Continue to follow the wash northeast until just after 6.7 miles where you want to follow the path out of the wash and to the right. At 6.9 miles, you’ll come to the ruins of the Reymert smelter. A decent foundation and other mining remnants in the area show a little bit of the history of this area. Reymert Mine functioned from around 1890 to the 1950s. It was primarily a silver mine until most of the ruins were bulldozed. Some foundations and structures still remain and make this a worthwhile side trip. When you’re done at Reymert, return to the main wash and follow it southwest back to the main road.
By 8.6 miles, you should be back at the junction you were at just a few minutes before. Turn left to continue to Ajax and Woodpecker Mines. The wide trail continues in a southerly direction as it climbs and descends a few small hills. After going downhill, you’ll pass a small clearing and the trail will split at 10.1 miles. Stay left where Cottonwood Canyon Road goes right and eventually connects to AZ-79 (please note: there may be a permanently closed gate along Cottonwood Canyon Road, we haven’t been on this road and can’t confirm). After staying left, the trail drops down into a wide wash. Follow the main tracks in the wash until 10.4 miles at a small clearing.
Optional (difficult) route to Ajax Mine: At this clearing, going to the left will take you 3.2 miles up a narrow wash through Woodpecker Mine, and to the road that leads to Ajax Mine. This is a very difficult 4x4 trail with obstacles nicknamed “Firehole”, “Devil’s Back”, and an even more extreme trail known as the “highway to hell”. Only heavily modified vehicles in a group should attempt this more difficult way. It leaves the wash after 2.1 miles and passes through what’s left of the Woodpecker Mine before reconnecting to the easier route to Ajax Mine.
Continuing on the easier way to Ajax Mine, stay to the right at the clearing at 10.1 miles. The trail continues to cross the wash several times before turning sharp left. You’ll come to yet another important junction at 10.9 miles. To the right across the wash is Box Canyon trail that will connect with Martinez Mine Trail and Coke Ovens trail about 5 miles down the wash. Continuing straight is the way to Ajax Mine. You’ll zig zag across a wash several times and pass a corral and windmill of to the right at 11.5 miles – this is a sign you’re on the right path. Stay left at 11.7 where lesser trails leave to the right. The trail gets more difficult at 12.4 miles where it becomes rockier as it crosses a wash. This section is subject to erosion and may have small rock ledges to get over. Stay straight at 12.7 where the more difficult Woodpecker Trail enters from the left. From here on out, the trail winds up above a narrow canyon as you climb to Ajax Mine. At 13.3 miles, the trail drops into a dry wash trail junction. You’ll see Ajax Mine off to your right. Stay right to climb up to it where the trail ends at 13.4 miles. Ajax Mine has some impressive mill foundations left. Other mines dot the hillside in the area. Head back the way you came when you are done.
Optional side trip to Woodpecker Mine: if you don’t take the alternate “Woodpecker Trail” but still won’t to see Woodpecker Mine, take the spur trail that joined from the left at 12.7 miles. The trail is difficult and there really isn’t much left to see so it’s up to you whether you make the side trip or not. Either way, there are plenty of ways to extend your trip. Consider taking Box Canyon Trail south. If you’re running short on time and are satisfied with seeing Reymert Mine and Ajax Mine, return to US-60 and the staging area via the way you came (Reymert Road & Mineral Mountain Road).
Summary/Trail Ratings: The trip from the staging area to Reymert Mine and the easier way to Ajax Mine and back is 23 miles round trip. You can easily extend your day by exploring the vast number of trails in the area. If you stick to the 23 miles to Ajax and back with a side trip to Reymert allow for about 2-4 hours of driving. Add more time for stops and other trails. The easier trail including the spur to Reymert and Ajax is rated a ‘5’. Most of the trails up until the turnoff to the alternate route to Woodpecker Mine are hard packed dirt roads. The road gets more challenging in the canyon leading up to Ajax Mine. There, a few rock ledges make it more difficult. The entire alternate route to Woodpecker Mine is rated a ‘9’. The spur between Woodpecker Mine and the easier road to Ajax is rated a ‘7’. Aggressive stock SUV’s with good ground clearance and preferably 4-wheel drive can make it the easy way to Ajax Mine. Only modified vehicles on the difficult and optional route. This trail is also great for OHV’s as you can quickly get to the different mines to explore. This area is on state trust land so don’t forget to carry a permit.
Status: Open | Trail Type: Out & back | Length: 23 miles to Ajax Mine & back | Approx. Time: 2 to 4 hours
On this trail, travel along a series of mostly easy dirt roads to numerous historic mines southwest of Superior. While the main trail is moderate at worst, you can take the alternate and famous Woodpecker Trail to Ajax Mine for some extreme 4-wheeling. Easily extend your weekend by following Box Canyon Trail south to access other historic and scenic sites in the region.
Page last updated: 7/1/2015