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Gila River Loop

1 Review
Location Florence, AZ
Rating Moderate,
Length 26.5mi
Time 4hrs

Vehicle Types

Overview

Fun loop drops down to two places along the Gila River.

This is a fun loop that drops down to two points along the Gila River. When water is flowing, these points serve as sandy beaches. The trail follows mostly dry sandy washes, but an east-west section along the river climbs and descends along a challenging rocky road that circles around scenic South Butte. You’ll pass ruins of a stone cabin and visit a functioning railroad trestle. We took our RZR on this trip and had a ball. Great boulder-encircled camp spot and staging area at the beginning. Carry a State Trust Land permit (see page 16).

Rating

Moderate
Trail Ratings Defined

The washes are easy, but the stretch between Waypoints 04 and 07 is narrow in spots with very tight brush. One rocky descent has a big ledge to drop down, but a high clearance SUV with experienced driver should be able to handle it.

Stats

Length

26.5mi

Time

4hrs

High Point

2,665ft

Best Time To Go

Feb-May, Sept-Nov

Current Conditions

(520) 258-7200Bureau of Land Management, Gila District, Tucson Field Office

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Free GPS download

Trail Updates

01/20/2020
Submitted by John
We did the whole loop. We had some full-size rigs with us as well as a stock 2019 4Runner. The steep section mentioned in the description now has a bypass making this a fairly easy/moderate trail. Very cool sights to see and the desert fauna is abundant. It’s fairly quiet, we ran into a couple of other groups but for the most part, had the place to ourselves. Totally recommend it.

12/9/2017
Submitted by Gil Bensinger
One of my favorite local trails. Between waypoint, #4 and #5, say mile ~12.5, there is a new “social” trail that leads away from S. Butte, heading slightly to the south. It is a bit deceiving at first. Took me a bit too long to realize my mistake (my own fault), and double back to the correct trail. No harm no foul, except some new pinstripes :). However, this social trail does lead into deep sand (which could be a problem for others). I did not follow it to its end as the brush narrows considerably.

Reviews

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J Harris says

Super fun and very scenic. Plan to take the entire day to explore the area and take in the sights. Tight and brushy in spots but easily done in a full size rig. The trail can be tough to find at times so the GPX tracks come in handy.
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