Exploring Arizona

The Martinez Mine & Box Canyon Arizona

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Exploring Martinez Mine & Box Canyon Arizona

Box Canyon has a lot of historical landmarks within the recreation area. Box Canyon itself, Martinez Mine, the Old Stage Stop, and the Coke Ovens. Follow along with us as we are going to be talking to you about Box Canyon and the Martinez Mine trail

Today we will be exploring the canyon and heading out towards the Martinez Mine. This mine is one of the best-preserved old mines in Arizona. The last trip we took out there on May 2019 showed some signs of damage from last year’s monsoons. Some structures, like the bridge from the main building that crossed the wash to mine on the other side, had collapsed and washed away. But the main structure still remains today.

The Mines History

Martinez Mine was once a flourishing mining operation from 1880 until 1971. It was in operation for over 40 years. as part of the Martinez Canyon Mining District. The mine was used to extract lead, silver, copper, gold, and zinc.

Although it is known as Martinez Mine, there were two mining operations working on the property. The Martinez Mine and the Silverbell-Columbia Mine. The Silver Bell Mine has a depth of over 300Ft. This spot contained mostly silver and small amounts of lead. While the 200 ft deep Martinez Mine contained mostly lead and little silver.

Since 1880, there have been numerous owners of the mine (data from USGS Mineral Resources Data System, see link below):

  • 1922- George P. Mangus
  • 1934 – Sunbeam Gold Mining Co.
  • 1942 – Silver Bell Consolidated Mining Co.
  • 1944 – California Steel Products Co.
  • 1947- Martinez Mining Co
  • 1951 – United Arizona Mines
  • 1957 – G.F. Bont

We found this great website with lots of technical information about the mine the minerals and metals that were found there:

httphttps://mrdata.usgs.gov/mrds/show-mrds.php?dep_id=10048301

Martinez Mine Location
Million-dollar view. The mine is located in the far hills.

One other fascinating website you may want to check out is the azgz.az.gov archive. This site has pages and pages of old documents from the mining site including drawings and a map of the underground mines. (Scroll to the very bottom to view the map). So much history in this little canyon.

Driving Through Box Canyon
Driving Through Box Canyon
Trail to Martinez Mine
On the way to the Martinez Mine Trail

The Martinez Mine Trail

The Martinez Mine trail used to be open to ORV and other offroad vehicles. In 2010 it was gated off for foot traffic only. This area is a great part of history and should be preserved.

The hike to the mine is a fairly easy/moderate 1.9 miles. Most of the obstacles that make it tougher is hiking through dry river beds with large boulders. Parts of the original trail that followed the edge of the wash have been washed away, but you can still easily navigate your way to the mine. Just follow the wash North once you pass the old old cabins.

Martinez Mine Cabins
Martinez Mine Cabin
Martinez Mine Cabins
Another structure by the cabin

When you start to get close to the mine itself, look through the bushes on the right side of the canyon for the brothel. It is well hidden and is easily missed. We usually spot it on the hike back out.

This small hidden cave by the mine was an open air brothel. You can see the soot from many campfires on the ceiling. A doorway in the rocks leads to a small room.

Directions To The Trail

From HWY 79 just outside of Florence, Arizona, you will head east on E. Price Rd (i.e. E. Price Station Rd). You will be travel down the road for a few miles until you reach the entrance of Box Canyon. See Map below for detailed information.

You know you have arrived in the recreation area when you see BOX CANYON. An awesome geological formation from centuries of flood washer washing down the hillsides. The road gently winds through the canyon. We recommend that you only enter Box Canyon if you have a lifted vehicle or at least a vehicle with some clearance. The terrain changes after every monsoon rain, some rocks obstacles become larger or maybe completely buried and easy to navigate.

We provided a map below that shows all the major historical landmarks of the area including the mine. Make sure you print a copy before you head out.

CAUTION: DO NOT ENTER BOX CANYON IF THERE IS EVEN A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN. ONCE IN, THERE IS NO WAY OUT. IT IS A FLASH FLOOD LOCATION. THE CANYON WALLS GO STRAIGHT UP IN SOME PLACES.

So next time you visit Box Canyon, make sure to head over the Martinez Mine and discover the history that is hiding in this little Arizona canyon.

Martinez Mine
Martinez Mine
Old Generator at the Martinez Mine
Old Generator at the mine.
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