Millsite Canyon Trail Arizona

Superior, Arizona (Pinal County)
Last Updated: 05/20/2018
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Partially Open
Difficulty: 9-10
(DIFFICULT - EXTREME)
Length: 9.5 miles
Highest Elevation: 3593 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: North
Nearest Town: Superior
Nearest Town w/ Services: Superior
Official Road Name: FR1900 & FR237
Management Agency: Tonto National Forest
District:
Distance:
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Highlights

Highlight: Millsite Canyon Trail Arizona

After way-point 13 the shelf road is impassable for 4x4 vehicles. 12/30/2017 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.

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Route Information

Technical Rating: (9-10)
(DIFFICULT - EXTREME)

Severe conditions. Extreme caution recommended. Impassable by stock vehicles. Winching required. Trail building necessary. May be impassable. Impassable under anything but ideal conditions. Vehicle damage probable. Personal injury possible. Extreme caution necessary.

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Description

After way-point 13 the shelf road is impassable for 4x4 vehicles. 12/30/2017 The Forest Service has been notified but have not made it official. 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 with the ledges becoming very, very narrow. It is not recommended for full size vehicles. 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

Waypoints

1. TRAILHEAD FR1900

After crossing the cattle guard, turn left to travel north along FR 1900.

2. STAY LEFT FR1900 (0.1 mi)

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 (0.3 mi)

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 (0.7 mi)

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 (1.3 mi)

When you enter the rocky wash, stay left traveling north on FR1900. To the right is a dead end.

6. CONTINUE ON FR1900 (1.7 mi)

Continue traveling north on FR1900.To the left is a dead end.

7. STAY LEFT FR1900 (1.9 mi)

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 (2.8 mi)

Continue right, traveling north along FR1900. To the left is FR1935 which eventually leads to Hardt Tank Rd.

9. STAY LEFT ON FR1900 (3.3 mi)

Continue left on FR1900, toward the large canyon to the north. To the right is not a legal trail.

10. TURN RIGHT ON FR237 (3.6 mi)

Turn right, northeast on FR237 towards the canyon ahead. Continuing forward on FR1900 is a dead end.

11. ROCK LEDGE (4.1 mi)

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 (5.8 mi)

After way-point 13 the shelf road is impassable for 4x4 vehicles. 12/30/2017 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) (7.1 mi)

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 (7.7 mi)

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 mi)

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.

16. TRAIL END FR172 (9.5 mi)

Continue down the hill until you encounter a well defined forest road, FR172. Turning right will bring you to the Montana Mtn. Loop trail, Waypoint 4. Turning left uphill will bring you to the Woodbury hiking trailhead.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 33.308319, -111.246664

After way-point 13 the shelf road is impassable for 4x4 vehicles. 12/30/2017 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.

Camping

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.
Camping: Millsite Canyon Trail Arizona

Writer Information

Bobby Nelson

Mapping Crew - Arizona Crew Leader
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While growing up in southern Tennessee, my off-road adventures began early. I developed a passion for finding new trails leading to great locations and that passion continues to this day but in the beautiful southwestern US. I love getting into the back country to explore the lesser known trails but I also enjoy playing in the rocks. My goal is to provide the most accurate information I can, for all the trails I write-up. Please visit my website xploremor.net to follow or join me on my adventures.

Community

Questions & Answers (2)

Q: I plan to be at the TRAL monthly meeting coming up on the 21st. I'll make mention of it there. Thank you again for sharing your trail experience with all the users.
–Bobby Nelson (02/14/2018)
Q: Why or where is it closed? Maybe it's reopend. We did it January 20 2018. Great trail! So scenic! Not for rookie. We used 2 Tacomas, a 96 LT on 33s with no lockers and a 2017 trd pro.
–Jon (01/23/2018)
A: I could see how that area could be trouble, especially for wider vehicles. I'm sure your road work helped us pass through. Would T.r.a.l be worth contacting? I've seen them repairing a bad washout on Telegraph Canyon with a jack hammer and military trailer. I worry the Forest Service might destroy many obstacles getting to the problem area, hopefully I'm wrong.
–Jon (02/13/2018)
A: Thank you for the comment. In the last couple months, the narrow ledge road at Waypoint 13 has had 2 vehicles slide off, with one rolling over to the wash below. I understand people have different abilities but to be safe and draw attention to the issue, I posted it as closed and added notes. The last time we were out there we worked on widening it for about an hour. The Forest Service has been notified of the issue.
–Bobby Nelson (02/13/2018)

Trail Reviews (7)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on: 05/19/2018
Trail was run by 8 Jeeps. 7 were lifted with experienced drivers. One late model stock rubicon JK with an intermeditate driver following the experienced drivers. All navigated the obstacles without aids. The stock rubicon dragged and scraped in spots but was undamaged, and needed the lockers to overcome the more difficult obstacles. Extensive contact with brush resulted in "Arizona pin-striping" over most of the jeep. Photos by Bobby R.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on: 04/06/2018
No issues at all running this trail April 6 2018. Waypoint 13 was fine, no closure. We had a 2dr 2004 Rubicon on 33's and a 4dr 2017 Rubicon Recon running 37's. No trailbuilding, winching, not even lockers needed really.

Author:
Status: Not Reported
Offroaded on: 01/20/2018
Great trail with amazing scenery. It was wet when we did it so it added a little more challenge. If it was dry it would have been easier, don't get me wrong there are still a couple decently challenging trails. Also lots of pin striping to be had along the trail. Someone had recently cut some of the larger branches recently but there was still lots of brush. Great trail though and I will definitely do this one again.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Closed
Offroaded on: 12/30/2017
We went out as a small group to see how bad the trail was. Well it was worse than we expected, even after seeing Mathews pictures. We attempted to dig and create a shelf for some support to keep moving but we were under equipped and staffed. This issue will be reported to the Forest Service at the January meeting. We expect there will be a TRAL crew out to do repairs shortly. Please stay tuned for updates and thank you for the support of our great 4x4 community. http://www.tontorecreationalliance.org/

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on: 12/22/2017
The description of the trail is fairly accurate. I would say the difficulty of the trail is a moderate plus. Stock vehicles will not make it. Also that rating is for a small wheel base vehicle. If you are in a full size then this trail is not for you. it is almost completely overgrown with plant life. I'm not one to complain about a scratch, but there isn't 1 square inch on my bronco that didn't get scratched on this trail. Lastly I wouldn't recommend ANYONE run this trail until it can be repaired at #13. The trail is washed out and dangerous. My bronco was way to wide for it and slipped off the edge. I was forced to have my bronco spend the night here strapped to a tree so it wouldn't slip down further. I got help the next day and was able to winch it out. My vehicle: 1988 Ford Bronco, 35" tires, 6" lift, Dana 44 solid axle both front and back, Detroit locker in the rear and a limited slip in the front.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on: 10/07/2017
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.

Author:
Status: Open
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!