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Thread: Johnson Canyon Tunnel

  1. #11
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    Great report!

    Back in 2003 or so, we were able to drive up the old grade to within a few feet of the western portal. It could be washed out these days, but might be worth considering.

    There are a couple of other very interesting artifacts still in use from that era--Steel Dam and Stone Dam. The Steel dam is the older of the two--built in 1887 I think. When we were there the lake was full. The dam is one of the largest steel dams built in the U.S. and is listed in a civil engineering "hall of fame" The Stone Dam was built later from quarried stone. Both lakes provided water for the steam locomotives.

    If you have a Delorme Atlas, look just east of Ashfork, the lakes are very prominent.

    I have several photos of the Steel Dam at:
    http://www.personal.riverusers.com/~parkse/steeldam.htm

    Ernie
    Last edited by Toysx2; 06-07-2008 at 12:49 PM.

  2. #12
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    campp is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    Hey Ernie,
    Nice website! I've been to many of those places.
    I tried to reach the steel dam a couple weeks ago, but ran into a couple of roads blocked off. I'm going to have to re-research the approach.

    EDIT: Here's the original photo from the very first post. I had to go back and edit the post, and there's some software hang-up LOL, so here it is again, FYI:
    Last edited by campp; 08-06-2008 at 04:42 AM.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by campp View Post
    Yeah, I shot a couple and only got black frames. Was still shooting film then (hence not many pictures) but have since upgraded to a decent digital.

    Re-reading this I really want to get back up there, but need to find a hiking buddy. It's too remote to go solo for the scrambling required. Especially after reading that post about the increasing potency of snakes...

    I've read that if you were at all involved in the Pacific parts of WWII, you most likely rode through the Johnson Canyon tunnel on your way there.

    Not a good summer hike, although inside the tunnel it must be 20 degrees cooler and a breeze.
    Campp,

    I came across your old post and I'm wondering if you've gone back yet. I live 1/2 hour from Johnson Canyon and have been meaning to go there the past few years. I'm a huge railroad fan, particularily of old mining and logging lines. I'm in the process of mapping the old logging lines in the Flagstaff/Williams area. I've only done ~100 miles and I know I can never map them all but it sure is a great way to spend time off. I'm putting together a website with a brief history and pictures, both old and new, of some of the lines. It'll be awhile before it is done though.

    Let me know if you'd still like to go back to Johnson Canyon and would like some company. I'd love to go.

  4. #14
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    Interesting even without the old photos. I went and did some searching. Found this description of how to get there and the hiking trail. dated 2006

    http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=931

    "It appears that the Santa Fe RR used the steeper Johnson Canyon route for east-west rail travel and the gentler “Coconino Cut” route to the north for west-east rail travel through to the early 1960’s. The line was finally abandoned in 1962 and the rails removed when the “Coconino Cut” route was double-tracked."

    Pinpoint map location, same author.

    http://hikearizona.com/location_g.php?ZTN=931&Z=8

    White rectangle in the center is the location.





  5. #15
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    You have my attention. Would there be a forestry map available of the area? It sounds relatively easy to locate.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hinckley View Post
    You have my attention. Would there be a forestry map available of the area? It sounds relatively easy to locate.
    The Kaibab National Forest map covers this area. The USGS 7.5 min quads for the area are McClellan Reservoir and Hearst Mtn. The location shown on Snapshot's post is shown on the topo as being extremely flat so it may not be the exact location of the tunnel. I BELIEVE it is further east based on things I've read but I've never been there so I can't be postitive. Regardless, this is the general area of the tunnel.

  7. #17
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    campp is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    That's the spot. Park there. Hike to the tunnel (east), maybe 3 miles. You can see the abandoned right-of-way crossing the dirt road where the square is. Off to the left you can see the modern day BNSF track, this is the top of the Peavine which connects Phoenix to the TransCon. The squiggle on the right is the creek from Johnson Canyon.

  8. #18
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    I used Google Earth to get the location of the tunnel. I started at the white spot shown on Snapshot's image and followed the old RR line east. The tunnel is pretty much in the center of the image. The UTM coordinates shown on the bottom of the image are for the tunnel. For those that use lat/long, you can find a number of online sites where you can do the conversion. The UTM zone is 12N and the datum is NAD83. I'd like to check out the tunnel soon but it is covered in a couple feet of snow right now from the recent storm.


  9. #19
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    I found these two photos yesterday. They are from 1885. The trestle in the foreground was later removed and replaced by fill. I'm not sure when that happened but I have seen pictures showing it. I was also recently reading acccounts of how, during WWII, guards were stationed in a small building at the tunnel entrance. This line was the main Santa Fe line and if it had become closed due to sabotage, the movement of military supplies would have been nearly impossible.


    These photos make me want to get out there even more.

  10. #20
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    campp is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    Nice archival shots there. It was filled pre WWII, don't know when.
    There was a whisper of a building reputed to be the guard shack when I was there, but it looked like one or two harsh winters would erase what was left if you didn't know where to look. It's a neat place, we should mount an expidition.

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