Phillips Mine Trail
On this trail, take a short but historic trip past Seneca Lake and through the area near the Salt River Canyon. The trail ends at a historic homestead near Phillips Mine, an old asbestos mine.
Where to go:
This trail begins northeast of Globe. From the I-17/I-10 interchange in central Phoenix, head east on I-10. After 11 miles, stay right onto US-60 towards Mesa-Globe. Follow US-60 east for 80 miles through Superior and Globe. Past Globe, turn left to stay on US-60 for an additional 33 miles. Turn left after the “Seneca” sign onto Philips Mine Road. There is a turn lane but it can be easy to miss. Look for the old gas station and other buildings on the left side of the road. Turn right in front of the gas station and follow it to another road. Then turn left. There will be numerous abandoned buildings in this area to check out. There are numerous places to stage to the west on many small pull-offs. There are also several camping spots on either side of Seneca Lake to the west.
From the abandoned buildings just off US-60, head northwest along Phillips Mine Road. The paved surface has many good sized potholes so look out. Within a couple thousand feet, you’ll swing north past the shores of the small Seneca Lake. Turn left onto a concrete ford just after 0.7 miles.
The trail is slightly rougher around the ford where there can occasionally be water. The trail then swings west as it heads uphill. Continue straight at 1.4 miles where lesser roads branch off to either side. The trail swings north again and begins to drop. At 2.7 miles the trail gets rougher as it twists and turns and follows along the very edge of the Salt River Canyon. The road hugs the mountainside and you’ll be treated to some pretty good views off to the right. At 3.1 miles, you’re back on level ground surrounded by trees. The trail continues to the left at 3.6 miles where the road forks but consider stopping to check out a few old buildings a short walk to the right. The buildings say to ‘keep out’ so observe from the outside if you stop.
Continuing on the main trail to the northwest, the trail passes lesser traveled trails on either side of the road. Off to the left at 4.9 miles is a corral and cattle tank – watch out for cattle, which can be along the road at any time. Continue on the relatively well maintained trail as the surrounding forest becomes denser. After turning to the right, the trail begins to rapidly drop at 6.5 miles. The trail gets the roughest around 6.7 miles where water runoff has made a mess of the hill. Careful tire placement is needed as it gets pretty rocky and washed out as you descend. At the bottom of the hill, the trail gently swings right around a small hill and slowly drops toward your final destination. You’ll come to a pull off at 8.15 miles. If you have a more capable vehicle, you can continue down the final hill, which is more difficult to end at the abandoned buildings at 8.25 miles. There are numerous abandoned buildings on both sides of the trail to check out, as well as some good samples of serpentine and asbestos (the safe kind). After the abandoned buildings, the trail deteriorates quickly. Tailings and a couple more buildings can be found down this trail as it drops into the canyon if you feel like hiking. For us, we were satisfied with checking out the numerous abandoned buildings and rock hounding. When you’re done, return to Seneca Lake and US-60 via the way you came.
Notes & Trail Ratings:
This trail is mostly easy with a few sections that push moderate. Stock SUV’s can make it to the pull off near Phillips Mine. More aggressive SUV’s with high clearance can make it to the abandoned buildings. 4-wheel drive isn’t needed on this trail unless recent erosion has made the trail more difficult. The 16 miles round trip to Phillips Mine and back can easily be completed in 1-2 hours. We’ve rated this trail a ‘3’ for its occasional rocky and eroded sections along some of the hills. Otherwise, this trail is easy going for most of the way with a lot of things to stop and check out along the drive.