Martinez Mine Trail
Martinez Mine was once one of the best hardcore trails in the state. Unfortunately, the difficult section of trail is now closed since a gate stops all vehicles towards the end of the trail. Fortunately, you can still hike back to see some of the numerous ruins that span Martinez Canyon if you feel ambitious.
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Permits: A State Trust Land Permit is required for this trail. Permits cost $15/individual or $20 for two people and are good for 1 year. Get permits here.
Where to go:
From the I-10/I-17 interchange in central Phoenix, head south on I-17. After 6 miles, merge onto I-10 east. Follow I-10 for 5 miles and then merge onto the US-60 towards Mesa/Globe. Follow US-60 for 40 miles to AZ-79. Take exit 212 toward Florence/Tucson and follow AZ-79 south for 14 miles. Turn left onto Price Road just after railroad tracks. Follow Price Road/Price Station Road east for 2.4 miles. Stay left and after 200 feet, turn right. Continue along the road for 2.9 miles where it will follow along the railroad tracks before crossing over them. After crossing continue east along Price road for an additional 4.3 miles. Box Canyon Trail begins where Box Canyon Road leaves the railroad tracks at approximately 33° 5'47.77"N, 111°13'57.99"W. Staging is available here or 1 mile up the road. Take Box Canyon trail north for 5.4 miles.
From the Gila River and Price Road junction, follow Box Canyon Trail north for 5.4 miles through the scenic and moderately challenging Box Canyon. Along this section of trail, you’ll follow normally dry washes most of the way. The 1.5 miles through Box Canyon are the most scenic. After 5.4 miles, turn right where Box Canyon Trail continues to the left. Reset your odometer. Follow the wash as it heads northeast. After half a mile, the trail leaves the wash as it heads east on dirt roads. The trail crests a small hill and then turns left into a wash at the 1.0 mile mark. Stay right at 1.2 miles where the trail forks.
Follow the trail east as it winds across the hill side. Watch for erosion on this part of the trail which can create small washouts. The trail then heads downhill and crosses a wash and comes to a junction at 2.1 miles. Stay left here where Coke Ovens trail goes right. The trail heads northeast again weaving in and out of a wash. The trail climbs and becomes more eroded at 2.5 miles. Stay left at 2.7 miles where the trail forks again. The trail narrows as it approaches a gate. At 3.1 miles you reach the gate which prevents vehicles from going any further. There is a small pull off just before the gate which makes it slightly easier to turn around. Consider parking here and hiking to the mine
The hike: It seems almost pointless to come all this way to not see Martinez Mine. What used to be a difficult 4x4 trail that climbed over boulders as it follow the creek up to Martinez Mine now serves as only hiking trail. From the gate to the mill site is exactly 1 mile and gains about 500 feet. The hike consists of following the creek upstream. At exactly halfway you’ll pass old miner’s cabins along the banks of the wash. After the cabins, the trail continues in the tight canyon an additional half mile to the site of Martinez Mill. A large structure still remains. Unfortunately, the railroad tracks that once spanned over the creek have collapsed. Regardless, there is still a lot to check out. Not much remains past the mine – the trail eventually loops back via a trail called “the luge” an extremely difficult former 4x4 trail. When you’re done at Martinez Mill, hike 1 mile back to your vehicle and drive the 8.5 miles back the way you came to Price Road. When hiking, remember to pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and good shoes. Don’t attempt in summer or if you don’t think you can make the 2 miles round trip.
Notes & Trail Ratings:
Martinez Mine definitely isn’t the hardcore trail is used to be. It still offers a fun day trip to explore Box Canyon and hike out to the site of Martinez Mill. Because the hardcore section is now closed, this trail is rated a ‘6’. The section through Box Canyon with its sandy bottom and occasional boulders is rated a ‘5’. The 3.1 miles to Martinez Mine are slightly more difficult with some trail erosion making wheel placement a little trickier. Some smaller, aggressive stock vehicles can make this trip although high clearance and 4-wheel drive are strongly recommended. Allow for a good 4-6 hours to drive out here and explore the area. Easily extend your day by taking the Coke Ovens Trail, the rest of Box Canyon trail north, or the Reymert Mine and Ajax Mine Trail to Highway 60.