View Full Version : Sunflower Mine (3.0)

10-02-2006, 04:56 PM
Sunflower Mine

Trail Rating: 3.0

Sunflower mine is a great straight forward trail with excellent opportunities to see some old mining equipment.

The trail starts not far off of Highway 87 north of the 4 Peaks area towards Payson. Winding up and down, the average elevation on the trail is higher than most of the other Phoenix area trails. This makes for generally cooler wheeling. :)

80% of the trail is a pretty easy dirt road. Maintained more or less constant throughout. Once past the main camping and staging areas you start to wind down and cross several creek beds.

The rest of the trail is made up of small boulder fields and a few short climbs that can be prone to wash outs.

You can make the trip in a stock TJ with a keen eye on those rocks, a small lift will make the trip an enjoyable breeze.

Operating until as late as 1955, the sunflower (also called National) mine produced Mercury. The mercury was formed by burning cinnabar from surrounding rocks into a gas then cooling to condense.

Several structures and shafts remain. BE CAREFUL when exploring these. Although they are some of the best preserved in the area, the potential for accident is high.

The largest section of boulders and rocks.

Typcial creek crossing.

Road from the mine.

Hardest (optional) rock crossing towards mine shafts.

Typical rocks along the way.

Main existing structure.

Washed out sections (nearly optional) near the end.

Papa Mo
09-14-2007, 09:29 PM
Sunflower was a cavalry water station in 1868 and was a side station to Camp Reno. Known as Camp O'Connell, there was one building by the roadside on a military road from Fort McDowell to Camp Reno and to Payson. The military left Camp Reno and Sunflower in April 1870. Apaches were surprised when they found Camp Reno empty, and they burned everything down to the ground. Submitted by: Bobby Krause Zlatevski

Sunflower: was a short-lived PO in Maricopa County (1943-1949); the area was known locally as Diamond Ranch (T6N R9E)

The Sunflower area is also home to the Sunflower Mine otherwise known as the National mine. "

The trail is FR25A, the road to the mercury mine. A high clearance vehicle is required.
The mine was abandoned when the Viper Militia destroyed a bridge over a deep chasm while experimenting with explosives. The Forest Service has now rebuilt the bridge. It is a short walk to one of the mine tunnels and on beyond to view the large amount of equipment. This is a scenic drive through wilderness and a short walk.

The Sunflower Mine produced mercury. The mercury was extracted from an ore called cinnabar. This ore was broken down into fine particles which were then burned in vertical furnaces to produce mercury gas. After passing through multiple U shaped pipes, the mercury gas cooled and liquefied producing pure mercury. The mineworks building still stands and all the processing machinery can still be seen. :D

Information obtained from http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/az/sunflower.html

09-14-2007, 09:47 PM
Diamond Ranch (sunflower) was owned at one time by Bill Colcord who was involved in the Pleasant Valley war and the
hanging of the three cowboys up by Black Canyon Lake on the Rim. He also shot and killed a Texas cowboy in Payson around
1918 or 1920 when he was an old man. It was deemed self defense.

Papa Mo
09-17-2007, 07:49 AM
Full pics and video here...http://rides.webshots.com/album/560734378zLGopu

http://inlinethumb03.webshots.com/19394/2243360880027943909S600x600Q85.jpg (http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2243360880027943909riBAVG)

http://inlinethumb59.webshots.com/17274/2101143920027943909S600x600Q85.jpg (http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2101143920027943909tZHmch)

http://inlinethumb34.webshots.com/16417/2654702770027943909S600x600Q85.jpg (http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2654702770027943909kbYlZB)

http://inlinethumb29.webshots.com/16540/2464590130027943909S600x600Q85.jpg (http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2464590130027943909zFWBgb)

http://inlinethumb15.webshots.com/18062/2247495320027943909S600x600Q85.jpg (http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2247495320027943909adgBpU)

http://inlinethumb53.webshots.com/18356/2949601440027943909S600x600Q85.jpg (http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2949601440027943909tMITIX)

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http://inlinethumb53.webshots.com/16948/2316148960027943909S600x600Q85.jpg (http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2316148960027943909LKDHvM)