The day I returned home from a week camping in New Mexico with my daughter and about 10 of her schoolmates, I caught a nasty cold. I spent the next four days in bed, coughing, blowing my nose and chugging cherry flavored Nyquil.

“Wanna go camping again?” my wife joked.

“Sure,” I replied. I’d felt fine when I was camping. “Let’s go. I need to get out of the house.”

She shook her head and gave me another box of tissues. I had called her bluff. She really didn’t want to go camping, but I did want to get outside. I didn’t think I was healthy enough to go camping that weekend, but I could foresee an easy 4WD exploring trip happening.

We decided to do some exploring down near Patagonia along the Flux Canyon trail for a few reasons: 1) Easy 4wd, 2) About 10 degrees cooler than Tucson and 3) Haven’t been there since 2005, 4) I found some other spur trails to explore on Google Earth.

We set off early Sunday morning, arriving at the trailhead about 8 am. The first section of Flux Canyon goes through private property and you can see some really cool homes WAY up on the hills/mountains – what views!

After the last home, the trail became steep, rutted and rocky. This is the most difficult part of the trip. It was worse than it had been in 2005. I blew a sidewall here in my Tacoma back then. The tough section only lasted about 1/3 of a mile, then although still steep, the road was smooth and flat. We saw the fresh tracks of a FS dozer. Not only had they graded the road, but I think they widened it by at least 5 feet.

We found the dozer parked on the side of the road a little while later. It looked like he was about to finish grading the rough section that we had just come up. It turns out they had graded the rest of the road to Harshaw (also some of the other forest roads we would go on that day).

When they complete the grading, I would rate this trail a 1.5/5 (instead of 2/5 I rated it in 2005). If they do a good job with the rough section, you could probably make it in a 2WD truck before it starts getting washed out again.

The first spur road we wanted to take off Flux Canyon was blocked off with large boulders. This led to the Flux Mine. Since it was only about 600 feet away, we walked. Not much there except some foundations, tailings, and a big rock slide that had taken out a large portion of the trail (no wonder it was blocked off). There were also fresh dozer tracks here too, not sure if the FS was trying to help or covering something up? The mine also offered some nice views and we saw a trail in the valley below that looked promising.


Nice views!


Foundations at Flux Mine


Walking the plank

We walked back to the trucks, drove along Flux Canyon until we reached FR5785. Not bulldozed! It was less than a mile long and looked like it went back to a recent mining claim where someone put in a great deal of effort to construct and elaborate rock drainage system from the mountain the Flux Mine was on (which we had just come from). It appeared to be only there to keep the end of the road we were on from washing out. To me, seemed like a lot of effort for such a small return. But what do I know??

The next spur road was FR215. Another easy 4WD trail. The first thing we stumbled across was this strange looking device next to an old metal tank (half cylinder). It looked like the base for some kind of pump.


I wonder what this was?