• Gardner Canyon Road to Oak Tree Canyon


  • 13.8 miles

Southern Access Point: Apache Springs Trailhead


From Sonoita, follow AZ 83 north 4 miles and turn left (west) onto Gardner Canyon Road (FR 92). Avoid side roads. You’ll reach the Apache Springs Trailhead 5.5 miles from the highway on the right side of the road. There is a large parking area here.

Northern Access Point: Oak Tree Canyon Trailhead

  • GPS Coordinates: 31.81072° N, 110.72330° W
  • NOTE: The AZT is approximately 0.7 miles west of Oak Tree Canyon Trailhead (31.81010° N, -110.71101° W) along a two-track road.


From the intersection of I-10 and AZ 83, drive south on AZ 83 for 15 miles to milepost 43.2. Oak Tree Canyon Trailhead is located just west of the highway and is large enough to accommodate 40 passenger cars and up to 8 trucks and horse trailers.

Trail Route Description

Passage 5 traverses the northeastern foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains. Located in southeastern Arizona, the Santa Rita Mountains are rich in biodiversity and home to black bears, bobcats, and even jaguars.

This section features expansive mountain views, craggy peaks, and a visit to a historical site. It consists of singletrack, doubletrack and dirt roads that rise and fall across an alternating terrain of grasslands and dense forests of juniper, oak and manzanita. The trail crosses canyons and traverses scenic ridgelines with views of Mount Wrightson’s granite peak in the distance.  

This section passes through Kentucky Camp, which consists of a collection of buildings that were established as a base of operations for the Santa Rita Water and Mining Company in 1904. It has since become a historic site that is maintained by the Forest Service and volunteers. Facilities at the camp include potable water, electrical outlets, and a toilet. The AZT passes right through the camp, and it is a perfect place to take a break.


  • Moderate



Water is usually available at Kentucky Camp and Bowman Spring. Water may sometimes be found in stock ponds along the route.  Check the online Arizona Trail Water Report for current information at https://aztrail.org/explore/water-sources/.


All water along this passage should be purified prior to use.
Kentucky Camp is a collection of old buildings that were used for mining operations. A tour through this area is an interesting side trip on this passage.


  • Map of Passage 5
  • USGS Topographic Maps: Mount Wrightson, Sonoita, Helvetia and Empire Ranch.
  • Coronado National Forest map.
  • BLM Information Center maps.

For more information

Current Passage Info

Oak Tree Canyon Trailhead Now Open!

Oak Tree Canyon Trailhead Now Open!

On Friday, December 16 the Arizona Trail Association celebrated the grand opening of the Oak Tree Canyon Trailhead on the Coronado National Forest near the town of Sonoita. After having been closed for nearly 20 years due to natural and cultural resource impacts from off-highway vehicles, we were delighted to have been granted permission to construct a trailhead at this scenic location. In addition to earthwork and steel fence construction, the trailhead also includes two steel gates and an interpretive kiosk that celebrates the Santa Rita Mountains as a cultural landscape that was developed in collaboration with the Tohono O'odham Nation. Oak Tree Canyon is located just west of Hwy 83 between mile posts 44 and 43, north of Gardner Canyon and the town of Sonoita. The trailhead provides ideal access to the oak woodlands of the Santa Rita Mountains -- just follow FR 4072 for one mile to the AZT. The trailhead is large enough to accommodate up to 40 passenger cars plus 8 trucks and horse trailers. The Grand Opening Celebration was attended by nearly 75 people, including Arizona Trail staff and trail stewards; Coronado National Forest employees; representatives from the Tohono O'odham Nation; youth and teachers from...
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Rosemont Expands Scope

Patagonia Regional Times (October 6, 2022) by Stu Williams and John Murphy Trouble continues to brew in the Santa Rita Mountains. Rosemont Copper, operating there since 2014, has shifted its plan of operation from the east side of the mountains to the west to dodge federal court rulings, hoping to take advantage of rubber-stamping state agencies and local apathy. Rosemont Copper continues aggressively moving dirt on its private land on the west side of the range. The Arizona subsidiary of Canada-based Hudbay Minerals continues to build “Copper World” for its planned pits, tailings, and leaching facilities. Rosemont also continues to seek additional land on the north side of Copper World, in Corona de Tucson. It tells residents it wants to buy these lands as a buffer from the inevitable noise, light, and dust that the mine project will create. An unsightly power line running straight to the northern ridgeline would be built along Santa Rita Road. In July, Rosemont broadly expanded the scope of Copper World, touting a “Made in USA” copper cathode production plan that claims to be greener than its previous plan. That process is expected to generate 140,000 annual tons of sulfuric acid. Looking at the production data in...
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