easy dog-friendly HIKE – AZ Trail to High Jinks Ranch (ORACLE Ridge- TUCSON)

The trailhead is at a place called American Flag a few miles outside of Oracle. The trail from American Flag to Oracle Ridge is part of the Arizona Trail. The Arizona trail is a continuous 800-mile trail stretching across Arizona from Mexico to Utah.


At the trail head is the old American Flag Post Office. From The Historical Marker Database: “Isaac Lorraine, discoverer of the American Flag gold and silver mine, built this adobe house about 1877. It served as his residence and headquarters for nearby mining and ranching operations. On December 20, 1880, it became the first post office in the district. Within ten years population had shifted to the Oracle area and on July 19, 1890, mail service was discontinued from American Flag. This is one of the oldest surviving post office buildings in Arizona and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.”

Billion-year old diorite rock provides a soft, claylike surface on a trail scattered with rusty-colored boulders. The gray color of Oracle granite provides a contrast to the red ochre of the trail soil. This diorite dike encompasses all of American Flag Hill and continues through Oracle State Park to the site of the Kanally Ranch, built in the early 1900s.”

Two miles from the west side of the American Flag trail head, the Arizona Trail runs directly in front of the High Jinks Ranch. Hundred-mile vistas from the porch extend south to Dos Cabezas Mountains Wilderness in the Chiricahuas near Willcox and north to the Galiuro Wilderness and Mount Graham near Safford.

The High Jinks Ranch, located near the YMCA's Triangle Y Ranch, was the stage for the 1924 motion picture, "The Mine with the Iron Door," from Harold Bell Wright's novel of the same name. On site is a buckboard wagon used by Elizabeth Taylor and Tom Skerrit in “Poker Alice” which was filmed in Tucson.”

What really makes this ranch a gem in southern Arizona is the history that accompanies it. In 1912, the High Jinks Ranch and Gold Mine was purchased by Buffalo Bill as a retreat from the Wild West Show. Located just to the right of the entrance are the rusted remains of his car that he used to drive through Oracle in, playing Santa Clause during Christmas and participating in local parades.

The stone-mason two-story home was built by Buffalo Bill Cody's foster son Jimmy Baker and displayed Buffalo Bill's memorabilla until 1945. Buffalo Bill Cody mined for gold, silver and other ores from the property 100 years ago when the valley was populated with miners digging mainly for gold. The area was called Campo Bonito and most of the mines in the area were in the Old Hat District, just south of near Oracle, Arizona, near the Triangle Y Ranch surrounded by Oracle State Park.

The home, called La Casa del High Jinks, is on the National Register of Historic Places in Pinal County, AZ. (1966). Until his death in 2007, it had been the home to E. Dean Prichard who spent three decades preserving the property and helped open the Arizona Trail.

The historic property contains deposits of black diorite, once used for statues and jewelry by ancient Egyptians, King David and Queen Sheba, and in the Middle East over 3,000 years ago. The hardness and durability of the stone allows it to be carved into figurines and other figures.

The above information comes from these internet links regarding the hike and attractions:

http://www.experience-az.com/About/arizona/places/highjinks.html

http://www.experience-az.com/adventures/hike/arizonatrailoracleridge/aztrailoracleridgehike.html

http://emol.org/highjinks/highjinksranch.html

http://emol.org/highjinks/

Our hikes are generally at a pace conducive to social banter of interest to heathens, and allowing for time for photography of the local geology and wildlife. However, since this is an out-n-back trail route, hikers may choose their own pace and distance.  We will all turn around and return at a predetermined, agreed upon time or, using walkie talkies, at whatever time we otherwise unanimously agree upon while on the trail. Expect this hike to last about 3 hours.

HIKE SUMMARY:

Distance:  3.8 miles

Time:  about 3 hours

Difficulty:  easy

Trailhead  Elevation:  4400 ft.

Elevation  gain:  646 ft.

Parking:  dirt pull out

Tailhead GPS:  32° 34’ 50” N, 110° 43’ 13” W

Destination GPS:  32° 34’ 18” N, 110° 44’ 18” W

Entry fees:  none

Dogs:  OK on leash

REMINDERS:

Always carry and drink plenty of water! 

Sunscreen and insect repellent is advised.

Supportive footwear is also advisable.

SAFETY FIRST… we have no medical provisions.

Hike at your own risk.

TO GET THERE: (from Google maps)

From TUCSON at the I-10 & AZ-77 (I-10 exit 255) take Miracle Mile 1.4 miles to turn left on AZ-77/North Oracle Rd. After 30.6 miles turn right onto W. American Ave.  Go 2.4 miles and turn right onto Mt. Lemmon Highway and take it 3.9 miles to turn right onto American Flag Ranch Rd. At 0.3 miles, at American Flag, park in the small lots on either side of the street. Continue on dirt road to youth camp… trailhead is on the right at the corral. . .. . . .Google says the trail head is … 56 minutes from the I-10 & AZ17 (Tucson)… 39 miles

From PHOENIX at the I-10 & AZ-51 take I-10 39 miles to AZ-387 N (exit 185). Turn left cross over freeway and turn right onto AZ-387 N and go 7 miles to AZ-87 S.  Turn right and  take it 7 miles to AZ-287 E and continue straight ahead 9 miles to turn right at AZ-79 S (Florence). Follow AZ-79 S 50 miles to AZ-77 and turn left and follow AZ-77  8.7 miles  to  turn right onto W. American Ave.  Go 2.4 miles and turn right onto Mt. Lemmon Highway and take it 3.9 miles to turn right onto American Flag Ranch Rd. At 0.3 miles, at American Flag, park in the small lots on either side of the street. Continue on dirt road to youth camp… trailhead is on the right at the corral. . .. . . . .Google says the trail head is …  120 minutes from the I-10 & AZ5 (Phoenix)1… 118 miles

CAUTION…  re DRIVING DIRECTIONS.

GPS devices often give incorrect information regarding trail head locations and particular routes to them.  I recommend following the directions I post on this announcement page.  I research the directions thoroughly and try hard to be sure they are correct and understandable..

Also I have learned that in the email that you receive telling you that you are “confirmed for” the event, there is a link to “Directions” found underneath the event location… which often gives incorrect information.  I don’t know why nor how to fix or control it.  I do try hard to be sure that the (map) link on the announcement page is correct.

MESSAGE  FOR  CARPOOLERS:

Carpooling can save gas money but also enhance the social experience. If you’d like to carpool, you must contact others for arrangements.  You could email members or post comments on this announcement page.

Following the hike: We will reconvene for rehydration and food locally.

This is the last of what may be from 1-5 hikes over 1-4 days depending on each individual hiker’s preferences. Hikers participating in several hikes are encouraged to use overnight lodging in Tucson to avoid long tiring drives from Phoenix.

These hikes are all dog friendly… and we will be sleeping in dog-friendly locations. Some will be in motels and others in campgrounds.

Two hotels which accommodate doggies are

Best Western Royal Sun

http://bwroyalsun.com/property-info/pet-friendly-hotel-in-tucson/

and La Quinta (some including Tammy , Casey ,and Al  are staying here Fri, Sat & Sun nights)

http://www.lq.com/lq/properties/propertyProfile.do?ident=LQ945&propId=945

I encourage those of you interested to share what opportunities you uncover for camping together with the dogs.   

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  • Don L.

    Fairly easy hike (4.1 miles on feet friendly terrain) with a bonus tour of the Hi Jinx historical site in the middle.

    March 24

  • George R.

    The ancient Egyptians came all the way to Arizona for their stone?

    March 18

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