Millsite Canyon Trail
Superior, Arizona (Pinal) Technical Rating: 3-7
Last Updated: 10-07-2017
Tonto National Forest
Millsite Canyon Trail Highlights
With spectacular vistas of the Superstition Mountain Range and soaring cliff walls lining the route, this should always be considered as an excellent addition to the popular Montana Mountain Loop. Adding Millsite Trail to the beginning section of the more popular loop creates a more challenging run than the typical groomed forest roads. Millsite Canyon is a little known area that will challenge stock type vehicles and reward you with rarely viewed cliffs and diverse desert vegetation. While you work your way through the dense over growth you'll witness towering saguaros clinging precariously to the rocky terrain. Located outside Superior, Arizona the entire region is a popular off road destination for many locals and club outings. Although the area is popular, this particular trail allows you to enjoy a true back country four wheeling experience.
In the late 1800's the entire region was once the silver mining center for Arizona. Pinal City (now Superior) and the Silver King Mine became a popular destination for hundreds of miners and some of the old West's most memorable characters, including Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. In fact, in the area you can find the grave of Wyatt Earp's consort at the time, Celia Ann "Mattie" Blaylock. Though the grave isn't along this trail, it can be found along one of the many other great trails found in this region.
GPS location for cemetery 33°17'17.5"N 111°08'05.1"W , south of Happy Camp Road.
Technical rating: (3-7) Easy-Moderate
Rocks frequent and large, 12" and may exceed hub height. Holes frequent or deep (12"). Shelves to 9". Mud 8" deep and may be present on uphill sections. Grades to 25 degrees and sidehill to 30 degrees. Water crossings to 18" and may have strong currents. 1-1/2 vehicles wide. 4WD required. Driver experience helpful.
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Directions to Trailhead
The entrance is along the Montana Mtn. Loop trail http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/60-montana-mountain. After Way Point 3 you will encounter a cattle guard and the beginning of FR 1900 on the left.
Millsite Trail is a scenic, narrow and brushy alternative to the very popular but less difficult Montana Mtn. Loop beginning section. The trail has become pretty rough throughout the entire route. There are numerous large boulders and it is highly recommended you have at least one locker, skid plates and rocker protection. This very tight and rocky trail has a couple of challenging sections for stock type vehicles, requiring experience to get through some sections and spotters on others. It also has a couple VERY narrow sections towards the end, if you do not feel comfortable traversing a loose, narrow ledge road, then you may be required to turn around. This section is the reason for the higher difficulty rating. Also keep in mind this is not a well maintained trail, the brush is very tight and will leave you with an abundance of AZ pinstripes. The trail eventually leads back down to the Montana Mtn. Loop at the Woodbury Trailhead turn off, Way Point 4. http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/60-montana-mountain
1: TRAILHEAD FR1900 (0.0mi)
After crossing the cattle guard, turn left to travel north along FR 1900.
2: STAY LEFT FR1900 (0.1mi)
Shortly after the beginning, the trail appears to travel to the right but it's only a shooting area. Continue north in the wash to the left.
3: STAY RIGHT IN WASH (0.3mi)
Stay in the wash to the right, twice, both of the lefts lead to a dead end with a campsite at the end. It can accommodate a couple vehicles.
4: CAMPSITE WITH A VIEW (0.7mi)
This is a great campsite offering a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains. There is room for a couple of vehicles and tents. You will only find a rock campfire ring on site. Please remember to always pack it in and pack it out.
5: STAY LEFT IN THE WASH (1.3mi)
When you enter the rocky wash, stay left traveling north on FR1900. To the right is a dead end.
7: STAY LEFT FR1900 (1.9mi)
Stay left on FR1900 traveling north. To the right is a dead end hill climb and not a legal route. Please respect the environment by not traveling off the designated trails.
8: STAY RIGHT ON FR1900 (2.8mi)
Continue right, traveling north along FR1900. To the left is FR1935 which eventually leads to Hardt Tank Rd.
9: STAY LEFT ON FR1900 (3.3mi)
Continue left on FR1900, toward the large canyon to the north. To the right is not a legal trail.
10: TURN RIGHT ON FR237 (3.6mi)
Turn right, northeast on FR237 towards the canyon ahead. Continuing forward on FR1900 is a dead end.
11: ROCK LEDGE (4.1mi)
This is sort of a gate keeper for the difficult section. Beyond this point is where the tight brush, big boulders and narrow ledges will be encountered. Travel through the rocky wash with some tight brushy sections being careful with soft tops, look for the stray branch sticking out!
12: DIFFICULT ROCK CLIMB (5.8mi)
This is by far the most challenging section you'll encounter along the route. There are a few large boulders to navigate with some loose dirt mixed in as well. If not already done, disconnecting your sway bars is a good idea for this section. Please do not create stacks of rocks to aid in climbing the obstacles. If needed, please remove all remnants afterward to not diminish from the next users experience.
13: NARROW LEDGES (USE CAUTION) (7.1mi)
After climbing above the wash on the shelf road you will encounter a couple VERY narrow, loose and tippy spots. These can be carefully navigated by narrower width vehicles but would be pushing it with full width axles. Stay high to the drivers side as much as you can, without sliding down on the loose packed dirt. Smooth steady momentum is your friend in this instance but not too much speed. There are a couple of spots that a spotter will likely be needed.
14: STAY RIGHT (7.7mi)
Continue to the right, traveling north along the two track trail. To the left is a dead end.
15: CATTLE FENCE / STEEP DOWN HILL (8.0mi)
You eventually come to a cattle fence that must remain closed, after which you'll encounter a steep down hill descent to the valley below. There are also deep washouts and tight turns on this steep shelf road. As always, pick your lines wisely before attempting any difficult obstacle.
Camping and Lodging
While camping is not very popular in the area, there are several primitive spots both on the main roads as well as a couple small spots along the trail. These are small and would only be good for a couple vehicles. Please remember to always extinguish your campfire entirely when leaving and please be aware of no burn orders in affect at different times of the year. There are no services or facilities in the area for campers. There is no running water in the area for campers.
Questions & AnswersNo questions have been submitted.
Offroaded on 10-07-2017
Low Temperature: 75° F
High Temperature: 95° F
We had a great time on this trail with the wonderful people from Meetup.com. The trail has gotten a little rougher and the brush is very tight but it's still worth the effort. This time we connected it with Mountain Mountain for an all day run.
Offroaded on 09-24-2017
Trail is a lot rougher now than when this was written. Took me 3 hours. a lot of fun but definitely not suitable for stock vehicles. lockers would help, if you don't have those better have some wheel time!