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El Camino Del Diablo
Thursday December 31st, 2015
Sunday January 3rd, 2016
Welton, Arizona
Trail Runs (Official)
Trail Leader:
Dirk Van Dyke

Event Description

I'm hoping to run the El Camino del Diable over New Year's this year. Anybody interested in joining Laurie and me on a trip? I'll be departing San Diego, so looking to take the trail from west to east.

Here's the tentative schedule:
Dec. 31 (Thur.) Meet at west end of trail (Yuma side) early afternoon. Camp at Fortuna Mine area.
Jan 1. (Fri.) Trail drive. Camp at Tinajas?
Jan 2. (Sat.) Trail drive. Camp on trail?
Jan 3. (Sun.) Come out at Ajo. End trail and return home.

Each individual must have a permit. With Border Patrol checking, I wouldn't risk the fine and escort to out of the restricted area. The permit is free, and a single permit covers the Barry Goldwater range and Cabeza Prieta Wilderness area, and you get some good maps. But you have to watch a safety video (approx 10 min) and then sign a hold-harmless agreement. I asked if I could get a clutch of the agreements for our group, but no, every person must watch and sign in person.

Permit locations locations:
  • BLM Phoenix Field Office
    21605 N. 7th Ave,
    Phoenix 85027 (near Deer Valley Airport)
  • There is also an office on Central Ave in downtown Phx. I don't know the address, but you can call at 602 417-9200.
  • There is also a location in Yuma, at or near the Marine Corps Air Station visitor center.
    I read that the address is
    Range Permits
    3980 Ave 3 East
    Yuma, AZ 85365.
    928 269 7150
I'd suggest getting the permits in town. That seems like a possible black-hole time sink if you have to pick it up the day we hit the trail. I don't even know if it's open on New Years Eve day.

I'll be arriving in Yuma the day before we officially start, on Wed. the 30th. I can probably get discount motel rooms at Choice Hotels, so if anyone wants to start early, let me know. I plan to pre-run some of the Thur. route (hopefully get camp gps coordinates Rick), maybe check out the mining museum and Proving Grounds museum north of town, stuff like that.

For the official trip, I'm thinking that we'll meet at noon on the 31st off of I-8 Foothills Blvd exit (exit 14), top off gas and hit the trail. Enter Barry Goldwater Range and spend an hr or 2 exploring Fortuna Mine, then proceed south and take Cipriano Pass to the east side of the range. Camp around there or Vopoki Ridge or thereabouts.

Fri, head down the east side of the mountains to the Tinjas Altas tanks, and have lunch and explore there. Then proceed east along the border to Tule Well. Explore. Head up Christmas Pass, and set up camp there.

Sat. I'm still working out plans. It seems the best camp option is Papago Well, but it's not very far. It seems that there's some interesting sights heading north on Christmas Pass, so maybe do a little out and back that way. There are more interesting stops on El Camino Del Diable (O'Neil Hills and gravesite). Camp at Papago Well.

Sun. Head back to civilization, but explore Bates Well and other sites along the way. Maybe get into Ajo for a late lunch (there's supposed to be a good burger/beer joint).

That's enough planning for now; it's getting late. As mentioned at the mtg, suggestions appreciated.

Discuss more in the forum thread here.

Event Registration


El Camino Del Diablo
El Camino Del Diablo
United States
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  • 1.5
  • 2.0
  • 2.5
  • 3.0
  • 3.5
  • 4.0
  • 4.5

Venue Description

El Camino Del Diablo (Spanish for The Devil's Highway) is an historic 250-mile (400 km) road which currently extends through some of the most remote and arid terrain of the Sonoran Desert in Pima County and Yuma County, Arizona. In use for at least 1,000 years, El Camino Del Diablo is believed to have started as a series of footpaths used by desert-dwelling Native Americans. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, the road was used extensively by conquistadores, explorers, missionaries, settlers, miners, and cartographers. Use of the trail declined sharply after the railroad reached Yuma in 1870. In recognition of its historic significance, El Camino Del Diablo was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Nearby repeaters
Location: Yuma
Frequency: 146.620
PL-Tone: 103.5

Location: Ajo
Frequency: 145.310
PL-Tone: 100.0

Permit information
Stay on trails! No rough riding. Located in the southwestern part of Arizona, the Barry Goldwater Range requires a free access permit for entry.
The permits are issued at:
  • Range Management Department – Yuma (928) 269-2458
  • Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field/Security Operations – Gila Bend (928) 683-6200 or (928) 683-6220
  • 56th Range Management/Public Affairs – Luke Air Force Base (623) 856-8516
  • Bureau of Land Management – Phoenix Field Office (623) 580-5500
  • Information Center of the State Office (BLM) – Phoenix (602) 417-9300
  • Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge – Ajo (520) 387-6483
While not a difficult trail, it is rated as difficult due to the remote location and lack of water.
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