Name: Tip Top Mine
Location: 34° 3’10.79″N, 112°14’44.11″W
Date visited: Nov 8th, 2015
Info Link: Bureau of Land Management
The trail to Tip Top Mine is a beautiful Arizona trail. It’s long and bumpy, but offers some pretty amazing views of the Arizona desert and mountains. It is probably passable with most stock 4WD vehicles, but the last small stretch up to the mine might require something with a little bit of ground clearance.
This trail was Allyson and my first time out in the Jeep. We picked this trail out of the “Arizona Backroads & 4-Wheel-Drive Trails” book written by Charles A. Wells and Matt Peterson. We picked this trail because of a nearby geocache we wanted to try. It was also a difficult enough trail that I could test the Jeep’s abilities (and my own as well), but not too difficult that I wouldn’t be able to complete most of it.
The trail starts at Table Mesa Road. This is a very popular road, and many areas around this road will be filled with Jeeps, ATVs, UTVs, and dirt bikes. It’s also a very popular area for shooters. There are a few designated areas for shooters to shoot their guns down a range. The parking/staging areas at the beginning of the trail require a State Trust permit, but the trail does not. After a short drive, you will meet the Agua Fria river. This is usually pretty shallow, and can be passed in most SUVs. I have heard that after heavy rainfall, a high clearance vehicle may be needed to pass.
After the river, you will see fewer people. It is still a busy area, but some of them seem to be turned off by the river. From the river it is another little bit and you will end up at the turn off for the Indian fort. Turn left to head to the Indian fort. About halfway down the hill, you will see a large mesa to your right. On top is the Indian fort. There should be a small pull off to park. Get out and walk the trail up to the Indian fort. You will have to climb the rocks a little, but you will get an amazing view of the area from on top.
After visiting the fort, head back to the road where you turned off to go to the fort. This time, stay right, and continue down the trail. The trail will become less and less maintained as you continue on. This makes for a bumpy ride, but it’s still a lot of fun. At one point you will hit a high spot on the road that flattens out. This is a great place to take pictures. You can see for miles.
From the high spot, most of the rest of the trail is downhill. It’s still pretty bumpy, but a good ride. You will hit an old wooden corral. Keep left on this trail. Watch for cows. They are everywhere around here. At the bottom of the hill, you will cross a wash. This wash is usually dry, but may have some water after a rain. After the wash is the hardest part, and the only part where a high clearance vehicle may be needed. There are a few steep rocky spots. After you get past them, its a pretty short distance to the mine. You will see a couple of crumbling stone buildings on your left. To your right, up the hill is the mine. There is a road that goes to the mine, but it can be pretty difficult to drive at times. Do not enter the mine. There is bad air in there.
Have fun exploring the area. We stopped and had lunch here. Go back the way you came in. The trail continues further down the road. Some people passing by in UTVs said there was a ranch house down the road a bit further, but we didn’t explore that.
This was a great adventure for our first off-roading trip. A great place for beginners to try out their skills.