This section begins at the Kelvin Bridge as it crosses the Gila River. The trail then follows the Gila River for many miles - sometimes rising several hundred feet above and sometimes near river level. It crosses numerous canyon drainages and occasionally catches a glimpse of The Spine, Walnut Canyon Narrows, Copper Butte, and The Rincon, all to the north.
The trailhead is located approximately 70 miles southeast of Phoenix, 45 miles southeast of Mesa, and about seven miles south of Superior in Pinal County.
From Phoenix, travel east on Highway 60 to the Florence Junction, continue east to Superior, then travel south on State Route 177 to Battle Axe Road.
From Tucson, travel north on Oracle Highway (Highway 89) to Oracle Junction, then northeast on State Route 77 to Winkelman, then north on State Route 177 toward Superior. From State Route 177 at about 1/2 mile south of mile post 159, turn west onto a dirt road (Battle Ax Road) toward Walnut Canyon and White Canyon.
Opportunities include, hiking, sightseeing, wildlife viewing, geology and nature study, primitive camping, hunting, photography
Desert bighorn sheep were introduced in the vicinity in 2003 by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The herd is reproducing and occupying suitable habitat, and may be sighted in the rugged uplands.
Permits, Fees, Limitations
No permits are required for private, non-commercial use.
A high-clearance or four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended to reach the trailhead. Roads in the area are frequently washed out by summer rains and flash floods, always proceed with caution.
The trail is unimproved and not accessible to persons with limited mobility or other impairments without assistance.
Camping and Lodging
Primitive camping is allowed on public lands. A small, primitive camping area is available near the trailhead. No facilities are available on-site. Lodging is available at hotels in nearby towns of Florence, Superior, and Kearny.
Food and Supplies
Basic food and services are available at nearby towns of Florence, Superior or Kearny.
The nearest emergency care is available in Globe at the Cobre Valley Community Hospital.
Battle Axe Road crosses private land; Arizona State Trust land is found adjacent to the Wilderness. Please respect private property rights by not stopping on private and state lands unless a permit is obtained from the Arizona State Land Department. A recreational permit from the Arizona State Land Department is required for recreational use of State Trust Lands and a license is required for hunting or fishing.