It seems that we are always up for an adventure. Since we moved here 5 years ago we have made it our mission to explore all the cool wonders of Arizona. We started out with a decent size list of things we wanted to see and we have been checking it off almost every weekend. That includes the abandoned Ajax Mine.
Most of our adventures seem to take us on remote backroads. Luckily we have a modestly lifted Jeep / daily driver that can take us pretty much anywhere we want to go, including the abandoned Ajax Mine.
Ajax Mine History
In its glory days, the Ajax mine was primarily a source for lead, copper, silver, and gold. It is located in the Mineral Mountain Mining District. Although the milling building looks impressive and seems to have years of operations under its belt, this mine was only in production from 1915-1916. The 30ft deep vertical shaft is said to still be visible, we did not look for it on this trip but will be heading back shortly for a more in-depth view of the area.
How to get to the Abandoned Ajax Mine
If you are looking for an adventure there are a couple of different routes to the mine. For a longer hard core trail, you can start east of junction US ROUTE 79 on HWY 60 then turn right (South) onto the Mineral Mountain Road. This route follows a wash bed with boulders and large obstacles. Lockers and high clearance vehicles are recommended.
Since we left late in the day, we decided to take the easy in and easy out trail. We were not looking to go on a full-day excursion. We started off on US ROUTE 79 just North of Florence Arizona. We turned east onto the E Cottonwood Canyon Rd. The mine is located about 11 miles from that junction. It took us about 45-60 minutes with a few site seeing stops along the way to reach the mine. See map below for full details.
What type of vehicle is needed for this trail?
Most of road into the mine is a wide dirt track. There are a few trickier sections as you get closer to the mine and the road narrows. It may be possible to access the mine in a stock or slightly lifted off-road vehicle, or at least get you fairly close to the mine to hike in. There is one section that was a little washed out with a large rock outcropping. If you pick the right line, you can go around it in a stock 4×4 and a good driver. Just remember, wet weather conditions constantly change the trails. An easy trail can become difficult after a heavy rain reveals rocks, ruts and washouts. Also please remember to stay off the trails during flash flood warnings.
Ajax Mine Video - The Trail & The Mine
The view from above the Ajax Mine Milling Station
Map to the Abandoned Ajax Mine from US Route 79
NOTE: Once you hit the second marker (The black outlined circles) below, you will need to head Southeast. if you continue North East around that loop you will run into a gated Cattle Ranch and will need to turn around. The map below details the correct route.