Friday, March 8, 2013

Boquillas Ranch Trails, San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, BLM, St. David, Arizona

usbackroads destination--Boquillas Ranch Trails, San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, BLM, St. David, Arizona.

In 2010, we visited this area, but explored the Fairbank Historic Townsite.  You can view the posting by click on this link:  Fairbank Historic Townsite.  This trip we focused on the trails that are in the area.  From Highway 82 there are trailheads on both sides of the road.

The northern trailhead is a single track trail going north past Fairbank Cemetery, and the Grand Central Mill site.   Where the trail reaches the San Pedro River it loops back to the Fairbank townsite.  The entire trail is about three or four miles in length.  We did it on our bicycles, before we got Snowpatch's panniers.

He does look a little skeptical about the entire backpack thing.

The first half of the trail (eastern half away from the river) has only a few sandy spots and is fairly easy to bicycle.  After the turnaround point the trail has some substantial sandy spots that are difficult to bicycle.  The score for the entire trip was SAND 4, SUSIE 0.  Since she was behind me I did not get to witness the dismounts.  Some were rather impressive according to her.

Snowpatch and I stayed upright.

This is a good walking trail.  I probably would not bicycle the riverside part of the trail due to sand, but it would be a wonderful loop walk.

The southern trailhead leads to the Boquillas Ranch which is now owned by BLM.  This is a gated road.  Some washboards, a couple of sandy washes, but a much better trail to bicycle.

The original ranch property is still pretty much intact.  There is a cool barn, a couple of houses, workshops, water tank, and all the other necessary ranch goodies.

For Bugaboo and Snowpatch the real attraction was the San Pedro River.  Bugaboo looks good wading the river, Snowpatch on the other hand appeared to be a drowned white laboratory rat.  A couple of hawks watched him with intense interest, but then decided to move on.

Snowpatch did enjoy his new mode of transportation.  We did the north half with Snowpatch in a backpack and the south half with his new shiny panniers.  He seemed comfortable with the panniers, since it was them or the kennel in the truck.

The ranch is a good spot for a picnic lunch.  You can follow a faint trail to the west to reach the river.  It is possible to bicycle from Charlestown all the way to the trailhead.  However, a bicyclist reported that the trail was "rather technical" in some spots and there were some sandy washes that also had to be crossed.  He was complaining, but his girlfriend that was running the entire route said little.  I suspect they were military from Sierra Vista and being in their twenties that fact convinced me to stop at the ranch and leave Charleston for another day.

I am not sure what BLM's plans are for the area.  I could not find a management plan on-line for the Conservation Area.  The ranch would make a dandy environmental learning center.  AND since a campground is NEEDED inside the Conservation Area, the ranch with its water supply and facilities would make a dandy spot.  The road can remain gated and closed except campers and others staying at the environmental learning center.

The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area is a special spot.  We are still exploring new areas on our second year in the area.  Great spot, close to Benson, Sierra Vista, St. David, Tombstone and other communities....which really should be linked to the Conservation area with bicycle trails.  Oh, I am starting to think like I am still working.  Have to leave that for the other folks!

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