Rug Road got its name from the remnants of carpet that people have used to fill holes and ledges along the road to make it more passable. The road is one of the roughest roads in the Safford Field Office - it is not for the faint of heart. Travel on the Rug Road requires a good high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle and experience driving in these conditions. The road transverses Table Mountain between Turkey Creek on the east end and Mammoth on the west end. It is only about 20 miles long but will take a full day to traverse. You may want to plan for two days to be safe and to let your body recuperate from the rugged road!
Along the road, you will pass through a variety of vegetation types from riparian along Turkey Creek, to desert shrub and oak woodland on the tablelands, to Sonoran Desert on the west side of Table Mountain. You can see the old Table Mountain Mine and Copper Creek Mine and ruins of historic rock structures. Wildlife you may see include deer, javelina, a variety of birds, mountain lion, bear, and desert bighorn sheep. The scenery is spectacular with many different rock formations, canyons, and mountains. You can enjoy primitive camping and day hiking along the road, which serves as access to the tablelands of Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness.
Rug Road Location:
East End is 60 miles west of Safford. West end begins near Mammoth.
Near the east end of Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness, travel up Turkey Creek for two miles. The Rug Road leaves Turkey Creek just below the confluence of Oak Grove Canyon and Turkey Creek. The west end of the road begins across the San Pedro River from Mammoth.
Graded county road to the east Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness boundary. From the parking lot, the road condition deteriorates requiring a high-clearance, and sometimes four-wheel-drive, vehicle. Winter and summer flooding may make the road impassible to all vehicles.
Challenging back country driving, historic site viewing, hunting, wildlife viewing, camping (undeveloped sites), hiking, backpacking, sightseeing.
Seasons/Hours: Fall, when the leaves turn color (usually in early November), or spring, when leaves are turning green and wildflowers blooming, are especially nice. Summer temperatures are quite hot.
Caution: This is a serious four-wheel-drive road. For your safety, travel with another vehicle. Carry plenty of extra water and food, plus spare tires and tools that may be needed for vehicle repairs. The road crosses a variety of land ownership including federal, state, and private lands. Respect public and private property, and be careful with campfires. Part of Turkey Creek is an Area of Critical Environmental Concern because of the sensitive riparian and cultural resources. Stay on the road, and please use the existing campsites. Pack out all trash. Use dead and down wood for campfires.