Ghost Town Loop

Patagonia, Arizona (Santa Cruz County)

Last Updated: 05/19/2022
4.2 / 5 ( 9 reviews )
Zoom in to see trails...


Highlight: Ghost Town Loop
The Ghost town loop is one of the most iconic and scenic day trips in Southern Arizona. If you love history, and really want to get a feel for what the old west must have been like, this is the trail for you. The 45-mile loop road travels through five ghost towns in various states of preservation with marvelous riparian areas, flowing grasslands, and scenic mountain vistas. If you are looking for some free camping, this overland route does not disappoint. There are numerous roadside dispersed camping spots with plenty of shade. Some are creekside and others near historic spots. The area has been rich in history from the time of the Civil War when Lt. Mowry sold bullets to the Confederacy to the 1970s when hippies in Harshaw defied the US Forest service who wanted them out. For a short description of the history to be found out on this loop, print this and bring it with you: Ghost Town Loop History


Route Information

Technical Rating

( EASY )

Read more about our rating system


1. Trail Start at Harshaw Avenue - Turn Right (0 mi)
In the northeast corner of Patagonia, at the intersection of Taylor and McKeown roads begins the Harshaw Road. This is the official start point to set your odometer to 0.0 for the loop. These first seven miles are paved, likely by the mining company so active around Harshaw. The pavement, which stops at the Coronado Forest boundary, is included here for route finding which gets a little tricky at Waypoint #4.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Patagonia, Arizona

To get there from downtown Tucson, travel east on Interstate 10 23 miles to exit 181 and head south on AZ83 for 25 miles. Turn Right at AZ82 for 12.5 miles until you arrive in Patagonia. Taylor Avenue will be a left turn just as you enter the town. Start at Taylor Avenue and Harshaw Avenue and head southeast. The start point is basically in the northeast corner of Patagonia.



Trail Reviews (13)

Questions & Answers (1)

Q: I've been wanting to hit this trail for the past few years but it would have to be an overnight trip since the drive to the trail head is roughly 3-4 hours. I know this trail can be done in a short time but can anyone confirm if it would be frowned upon to make a small campsite along the route/area?
–Jon Sauber (03/06/2020)
–Jim Long (03/16/2020)
–Jim Long (03/16/2020)
–Karen (03/16/2020)

Writer Information

Jim Long

Mapping Crew - Arizona

I moved to Arizona in 1984 and bought my first offroad vehicle the next year. I had lots of adventures, seeking out the Old West on paper topo maps in my Toyota FJ40 and can say, fortunately, that I never had to walk home. In 2005 I saw the prototype for the FJ Cruiser, and in the middle of my FJ40 resto project, someone came into my garage with cash and bought it out from under me. (Some regrets) In 2008, I flew out to LA to pick up my FJ Cruiser, special ordered with the Offroad Package (Locker) and MT6. My area of operations has been Southern Arizona, from the New Mexico to California borders. Unfortunately, the FJ Cruiser burned in a fire in August 2020. Now I'm building up from the ashes, literally, salvaged parts from the FJ are going on my Lexus GX470. SO, that's what's coming out next. I have been an active member of where I'm the top post contributor, and have many trail reviews posted there that I plan on enhancing, revisiting and documenting for this authoritative source. I have a login to Ih8Mud and fjcruiserforums but don't lurk there very much. in my career, I've had the pleasure of traveling in Canada, the Caribbean, and Australia but never had the opportunity to wheel there. (bucket list). But, I hope my 30 years of Southern Arizona discovery, teaching and leading people into the backcountry will finally benefit a wider audience here on Trailsoffroad. There's nothing I enjoy more than finding a historic site, a little-used trail that had significance or the opportunity to take that one photo that defines what we do. (I stink but I'm willing to learn). Oh..Added benefit...I'm the GIS analyst for a fire dept and as such have some skills in ArcGIS.
For individual use only, not to be shared.