Harshaw Road #58, 49, 61 and HWY 82 Scenic Drive

Area Status: Open

A historic mining district that extends along the bottom of a sycamore-shaded canyon is the focal point of this short, easy drive. You’ll start in the quaint little town of Patagonia, with its rich mining and ranching heritage, and drive up the meandering course of Harshaw Creek. The canyons carved by that small stream and its tributaries were the center of extensive mining activity from the end of the last century well into the present one. Even today, mining activity continues in some areas. As you drive along the creek, the rock outcrops yielding the gold and silver that once attracted large numbers of prospectors and hard rock miners to this area are frequently accompanied by evidence of the enterprise of those hardy and persistent souls. In some cases, that evidence may be a shaft or tunnel gaping from the canyon side and made obvious by a telltale pile of mine tailings. In others, the only thing left to catch your eye may be the remains of an old adobe wall or a clump of ornamental trees planted here by the miners. Because the Ailanthus altissima, or tree of heaven, is fast growing and pollution tolerant, it was frequently planted around mining settlements to provide cool shade and a touch of green after native trees were cut for firewood or mine timbers. The fact that this tree’s brittle wood is virtually useless for lumber or firewood is probably another reason it was spared the axe long enough to fulfill its function. The Harshaw Road ends at its junction with FR 61, just west of the old ghost towns of Washington Camp and Duquesne. You might want to take a short detour in their direction before you continue up and over the pass into Nogales.

At a Glance

Closest Towns: Patagonia, AZ
Information Center: Sierra Vista Ranger District 520-378-0311

General Information

Directions: Drive south from Patagonia on the Harshaw Road, FR 58. At the junction with FR 49 turn right (south) to FR 61. You can turn around here and go back the way you came or turn right again (west) on FR 61 (a scenic drive too) and continue into Nogales. Mileage/Driving Time: 10 miles to the FR 61 junction. One hour driving time if you drive down and back, 90 minutes if you continue into Nogales.


Mountain Biking

Gravel road biking.

Scenic Driving

Historic mining district. Ghost towns. Scenic canyon. Watchable wildlife. Access to other scenic drives. Road Conditions: Dirt, two-wheel drive accessible.