Big Maggie May Trail

Carefree, Arizona (Maricopa County)
Last Updated: 12/06/2017
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Difficulty: 1-4
Length: 5.13 miles
Highest Elevation: 4083 feet
Duration: About 3 hours
Shape of Trail: Other Shapes
Best Direction to Travel: West
Nearest Town: Carefree
Nearest Town w/ Services: Carefree
Official Road Name: FR 468
Management Agency: Tonto National Forest
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Highlight: Big Maggie May Trail

The Big Maggie May Off-Road Trail is a very easy, short 4wd route worth a couple of hours of exploration to see historic mines and frontier cabin remains. The offroad trail makes an excellent short side trip for anyone following the Cave Creek to Sheep Bridge 4x4 Trail or exploring the Table Mesa Area. The Y shaped trail first takes you to an old mine tunnel extending a short distance into the mountain before reaching a flooded section. Continuing back to the fork in the road and heading the other direction will take you to the remains of an old mining cabin. The cabin previously had walls incorporating living trees but recent Cave Creek Complex fire has destroyed most of this old cabin, although it still makes a very pleasant place to camp and explore.


Route Information

Technical Rating: (1-4)

Rutted and/or rocky road. No shelves but rocks to 9". Water crossings usually less than hub deep. Passable mud. Grades moderate, up to 15 degrees. Side hill moderate up to 15 degrees. 4WD under most conditions. No width problems, vehicle passing spots frequently available if less than two vehicles wide.

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This is a very easy short trail with few obstacles other than the possibility of flash flooding in the washes. The trail heads west until you come to the fork in the road, the right fork takes you to an abandoned mine. The route to the mine climbs to the highest point on the trail and follows a narrow shelf road which offers the only really difficult section of the trail. A portion of this trail is washed out on a tight curve making it difficult for anyone with a long wheel base. Careful driving and spotting should get you past this section but be sure to check it out before driving. Due to recent rain and erosion, the road conditions are expected to get worse. If you don't feel like driving this section don't worry it is a very short walk to the mine. After visiting the mine you can retrace your steps and take the left hand fork in the road and head to the old miner's cabin. The road to this cabin is easy but follow the GPS track closely. It appears that the old path followed the wash to the cabin however the wash is now impassible.


1. Big Maggie May Trailhead

Follow FR 24 north to the intersection with FR 468 and the beginning of the trail. FR 468 will branch off to the left and head north running parallel to FR 24 for a while.

2. Wash U-turn (0.85 mi)

Follow FR 468 generally west as it descends into a wash. Do not take the road heading south through the wash as it leads to a locked gate. Instead turn north continuing to follow FR 468 on the west side of the wash.

3. Fork in Trail (1.65 mi)

Continue following FR 468 as it climbs out of the wash and turns back to the west until you hit a fork in the road. The right fork is FR 940 and heads back to the abandoned mine. The left fork is the continuation of FR 468 and heads to the miner's cabin. Follow the right fork along a narrow shelf road being careful of the washed out section right before the mine shaft.

4. Old Mine Shaft (2.56 mi)

At the end of the shelf road at mile marker 2.56 you will see the abandoned mine in the cliffs to your left. The mine tunnel is along the bottom of the cliff and only goes back a brief way before it is filled with water. The road continues for a short distance, getting rougher, and eventually just disappears. After exploring the mine, return the way you came to the fork at Waypoint 3.

5. Hard Right (4.35 mi)

Follow the the trail back to the fork in the road and continue left this time on FR 468 until trip mile marker 4.35. At this point there are two options. The easiest option takes a hard right turn, crossing the wash and heads west on the north side of the wash. This road looks newer and more traveled although it doesn't appear on most forest service maps. The other option heads left up a steep hill and continues west on the south side of the wash. This trail appears to be less used and is more difficult. Both trails merge again a short distance down the wash.

6. Old Cabin (5.13 mi)

Continue on FR 468 until the trail terminates at the old miner's cabin. There are some short spider trails and other tracks through the washes leading up to the tops of the hillside for some additional exploring while you are there.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 33.982231, -111.872497
This trail is an offshoot trail of the Cave Creek to Sheep Bridge trail and the road to the trailhead follows the same path on FR 24 heading north from the town of Cave Creek. From the intersection of Cave Creek Road and Pima Road, follow Cave Creek Road north as it turns into FR 24 and continue on this road heading north for 17.3 miles. Just after the Seven Springs Wash you will find the beginning of the trail, FR 468, and a sign marking the road branching off to the left.


The area around the old miner's cabin provides and nice spot to camp with plenty of level land and nice views of the surrounding hills.
Camping: Big Maggie May Trail

Land Use Issues

There are no known access issues for the trail as described.

Writer Information

Bill Loux

Mapping Crew - Arizona
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After spending his early years in the Air Force traveling around Asia looking for adventure Bill has now settled down in Arizona and loves to spend time exploring the remote expanses of the West. He grew up as a Kansas country boy getting his Jeep stuck in as many places as possible. He is now, however, a recovering Jeep owner and currently in the process of building up a 2013 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition. Bill has a passion for adventure travel to remote and hard to get to locations that offer amazing scenery and interesting historical background, and has a knack for biting off more than I can chew. He is currently focused on building up a rig for hard core overlanding/camping and enjoys finding beautiful hidden campsites in the backcountry with lots of activities nearby (hiking, rock climbing, fishing, etc.) While having two small kids has slowed him down some, it allows him to share his love of adventure and the outdoors with his children and he hopes to focus on some longer aggressive overland loop routes with lots of family friendly things to see and do along the way.


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