Black Hills Back Country Byway

08May12

Thursday May 3rd we pedaled away from Safford and turned north on Route 191. In a few miles we turned onto the Black Hills Back Country Byway, here’s a map. This unpaved 21 mile route took us over the Black Hills and down into the Gila River Valley.

Black Hills Back Country Byway

Spotted at beginning of byway, snake coil and track?

Only 2 cars passed us all day and it was about 90 degrees with dry desert like conditions. Thankfully with the heat there was absolutely no humidity. We climbed the rough washboard/gravel/dirt road for 6 miles. It took us about 3 hours, we drank lots of water and marveled at the scenery.

Tiny Bryan

Debi climbs in the heat

Prickly pear

Scrubby scenery

When we reached the top, there were a couple covered picnic areas. We quickly chose one, inhaled lunch and then promptly took a nap in the shade. We were beat!

Post nap the ride was mostly downhill, super fun and fast. Along the way we saw glimpses of the Morenci Mine which was in our future down the road the following day. In the distance we could also see rich green trees in the valley, our destination for the night. It’s called the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area.

Morenci Mine in the distance

Sure!

Gila Box

We hung out at the picnic area at Safford Bridge for the rest of the hot afternoon sun. Our campground was just a ½ mile away-Owl Creek Campground managed by BLM.

Bit more green down here-Gila River

On the old Safford Bridge

Shadowglyphs

The Gila River lies below our campsite

Making dinner, the campground to ourselves

We had a relaxing evening and watched the moon rise.

B+D

Up next: The Coronado Trail, Route 191 Clifton to Springerville

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5 Responses to “Black Hills Back Country Byway”

  1. 1 karen

    Say Hi to Debbie at the Old Simpson Hotel in Duncan!.

    • 2 thrubike

      Thanks for reading Karen! We aren’t going to Duncan, we actually took The Coronado Trail up 191 from Clifton to Springerville. We’ll post about that next.

  2. 3 Frank Zangara

    I hope your road never ends. I enjoy reading each and every post. Deb, your pictures are great. The Chiricahua National Monument park is now on my bucket list.

    Keep spinning

    Frank

    • 4 thrubike

      Thanks Frank! the Chiricahua mountains are amazing. In fact, most of SE Arizona has been incredible. A little off the beaten path for most folks which makes it nice too!

      B+D

  3. Hey guys! I just caught up on your blog and love all of the posts! I am so glad you guys are safe and making your way northwest. I look forward to keeping up with you in the coming months. Audrey and I are still chilling out down here in the Chiricahua’s, we certainly do miss you and think about you a lot! Have fun and be safe.


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