This time of year (January, lows are in the 20s-30s) does not see a lot of camping. I think we spotted 3 trailers/campers on the way to Slavin Gulch Trail.
Using the GPX file from Sky Island Traverse, we tried to find a connection of Slavin Gulch Trail. This trail would have allowed us to not use Slavin as an out-n-back. Needless to say, it did not work so we turned around and continued on the singletrack that splits of Slavin Gulch at the beginning.
This section of the trail is beautiful. This is where you might see another cyclist in the fall/spring time. During January though, we only saw 6 hikers during the entire trip and no mountain bikers.
After some exploring, we found a trail that veers from paralleling FR 687 and heads directly toward Council Rocks. You go through the green gate and around some fun, technical trails to arrive at the petroglphys and metates.
We explored some of the singletrack in this area and realized that you can ride directly from the Council Rocks to FR 688 on singletrack. I will have both options in the GPS file when I post it.
The dirt road FR 688 (shown below) will take you to the Trail #279, but the other option would be to do an out-n-back to the Butterfield Stage Station (mentioned earlier). Due to time constraints, we headed directly to Trail #279 and toward Cochise Stronghold.
Not a bad dirt road given the views
We pushed up some of the switch back sections. I would have liked to blame it on the pack, but I am also a little out of shape.
Later on, we opted for a scouting trip to Middlemarch Trail #277. What started out great became a HAB, probably about 40-45 minutes of pushing up a steep, eroded section of singletrack. We eventually popped out at Canal Spring (shown above) and FR 4388.
Given time constraints, we had to NOT ride up toward Cochise Peak and down Slavin Gulch Trail #332 (that is the same one we did an out-n-back on). Given this write-up that I had read before, it seemed that the trail might be even more HAB.
Back to Tombstone for some beer and food.
We did find and alternate route instead of taking the highway. But honestly, I would start in the city of Dragoon next time like I mentioned. Tombstone is overwhelming and too far of a drive from Tucson.
5600 feet of climbing
7.18 hours of moving time
Click here to see the GPX file from this loop. It is NOT cleaned up yet. I would recommend that you DO NOT do Middlemarch Trail and just continue on toward Cochise Stronghold #279.
How to get to the Dragoons:
How to get to Tombstone: