Excursion Mine is one of a small cluster of gold mines that sprung up southwest of Payson in the early 1900s. It is among the few of those mines that still reside on private land, most having been absorbed into the nearly 2.9 million acres of the Tonto National Forest. While you can't visit the mine, you can certainly drive the tidy little road it spawned. Excursion Mine Road provides great views of the rugged and nearly impenetrable Mazatzal Mountain Range to the west as it winds through the classic high country chaparral of the Tonto National Forest. Cattle graze alongside deer and elk. Juniper, pinion pines, agave, and yucca line the trail. The 2004 Willow Fire burned hotly along the western side of the southern portion of the trail. Before the fire, Excursion Mine Road ended on Rye Cypress, the same trail on which it begins. However, the fire resulted in erosion, and the trail was rerouted to end on FR 1548, a fact most maps have yet to capture. Today, the junipers lead the charge to restore the burned area, and the fire's scars are fading away, just as the roadway did.
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