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Gila River Loop

1 Review
Location Florence, AZ
Rating Moderate,
Length 26.2mi
Time 4hrs

Vehicle Types


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

This is a fun loop that drops down to two sandy spots along the Gila River. When water is flowing, these spots provide beach-style camping. 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 runs of a stone cabin and visit a functioning railroad trestle. We took our UTV on this trip and had a ball. Great boulder-encircled camp spot and staging area at the beginning. Carry a State Trust Land permit.


Trail Ratings Defined

The washes are usually easy, but the stretch between Waypoints 04 and 07 is rough and narrow in spots with tight brush in places. One spot after Wpt. 06 has a steep, rocky ledge to descend. We went down and up it in our stock Wrangler Sport.






High Point


Best Time To Go


Current Conditions

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

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Trail Updates

Submitted by Peter
Started the loop from going North on Cochran road and then East at the beginning of the loop to the river, made it to the first cove then went East on the next leg to the second cove. The trail that continues East was washed out with deep ruts and could not continue. Had to go South through the Donnely Wash in order to get back to Cochran Road.

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.

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.


Rate this trail on a scale of 1 to 5.


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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