Difficulty: Easy turning into moderate and difficult, with some very challanging parts of the trail.
Description: 20 mile loop through great mountains near Payson, AZ. Trail takes you to and past Sunflower Mine. The mine (also known as the National Mine) used to produce mercury. This trail is a combination of fairly easy trail to the mine, coupled with difficult trail past the mine.
Time & Distance: Allow all day for this 20 mile adventure, it might even be an 8-hour trip if you get stuck behind a struggling SUV or someone fixing a flat tire, and you can’t go around them!
Directions to the Trail: From Mesa, take Highway 87 north to just past mile marker 222. Turn left onto Sycamore Creek Road. Follow this paved road 1.2 miles to the bottom of the hill, then turn right at the cattle guard onto Forest Service Road 25. Go through the gate and find a spot to park on the side of the road. Start your ride here.
View Sunflower Mine Trail in a larger map for even more DETAILS!
Get yourself and your TOY ready for the trip: Make sure both you and your vehicle are ready for your next adventure.
Before you venture out on your offroading trip you need to make sure you are prepared for emergencies. Even if nothing happens to you or your vehicle, you might come across someone who needs help. Short of always having your full-on Bug-Out-Bag with you, you should at least have some basic emergency items. It might seem obvious to some, but you should get yourself a tool box with appropriate tools and leather gloves, good first aid kit, fire extinguisher, set of jumper cables, emergency blankets (stored in heavy plastic bag – both are useful), flashlight, tow strap and some extra water. I would also suggest a recovery strap, a folding shovel, heavy duty garbage bags, and a hand crank self powered weather radio. These items are not expensive, but they just might save your day.
Another thing you should definitely do before you leave is to save Joe’s number in your cellphone in case you find yourself in need of recovery in the middle of nowhere. Joe is the owner of Arizona 4×4 Off Road Recovery and has become a real hero to many in the Arizona offroad community. His number is (602) 697-8306.
If you’re ready for a next adventure and want to plan it right, check out some of these trail guides – Arizona has so many awesome destinations to explore!