Mohave and Milltown Railroad Trail

Arizona

Mohave and Milltown Railroad Trail Facts

States: Arizona
Counties: Mohave
Length: 7 miles
Trail end points: Harpers Wash Rd. (Mojave Valley) and Boundary Cone Rd./Oatman Rd./Co 153
Trail surfaces: Ballast
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015200
Trail activities: ATV, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Walking

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Mohave and Milltown Railroad Trail Description

For a challenging desert adventure, travel the Mohave and Milltown Railroad Trail in northwest Arizona. The trail occupies the corridor of the historic Mohave and Milltown Railroad, a private narrow gauge railroad built in 1903 that connected a gold mine near Oatman, Ariz., with the Colorado River. Due to washouts in the desert, the railroad was in operation for only 1 year, and the corridor became inactive in 1904.

The trail follows the railroad bed through a remote region of Mohave County, surrounded by desert mountains and plateaus. This rail-trail is suitable only for advanced mountain bikers and hikers because the surface is rough ballast. An adjacent path for off-road vehicles and equestrians parallels, and frequently crosses, the railroad bed. The best time to travel the trail is September through May. The Bureau of Land Management, which maintains the trail, recommends using caution when visiting the Mohave and Milltown Railroad Trail in the summer because the average temperature exceeds 100ºF.

Pick up the trail at the eastern trailhead, off of Boundary Cone Road, where you'll find a small parking area and a trail sign. Near the sign is a narrow single-track path leading away from the parking lot. Follow this for about 0.25 mile to the old railroad grade. From here the trail takes you west, following a slight decline for its entire length. Detours are sometimes necessary where the grade has washed away from flooding. Signs, directional indicators and rock cairns along the way keep you on course.

Down in the Colorado River Valley below, brilliant green pastures provide a sense of life in this stunningly desolate landscape. If there is a lot of winter rain, you'll also find abundant wildflowers from February through April. The trail ends at a Bureau of Land Management road, although this trailhead is not as defined as the one at Boundary Cone Road. You will, however, recognize the road because there is nothing else around but desert sage. If you have extra time, be sure to make a trip to Oatman, which is only about 5 miles from the Boundary Cone Road trailhead on historic Route 66. This gem of the Old West will take you back in time about a century and has a wide selection of restaurants, shops and tourist attractions.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the Boundary Cone Road trailhead, from I-40 in Needles, Calif., take the J Street exit going east. After 0.2 mile take a left on Front Street. Go one block to K Street and take a right. K Street becomes SR 95 here. Follow SR 95 for 8.9 miles, then take a right onto Boundary Cone Road. The trailhead and parking are 9.2 miles ahead on the right side of the road.

Mohave and Milltown Railroad Trail Reviews

Definite senior citizens here! Definite newbie mountain bikers since the majority of our cycling experience is of the 'roadie' variety. So, the 'easy' rating for this course doesn't get it for these two. Given those paramenters, we can advise the following. Very well marked trail. Folllow the posts/carins. Lots of rock/ soft washes to traverse (we walked/pushed) before finally getting to the narrow gauge railbed. Can't really focus on the scenery heading west due to focusing on the trail obstacles, which consist of shale, rock and sand washes. Easiet part is the return trip when you are going uphill and can see the awesome mountain scenery in front of you with Boundry Cone being one of the most scenic. Glad we did it in spite of our limitations. The last several entries on the trail log near the parking area were of hikers. Very few transverse this via mountain bike. Maybe we didn't do so bad after all?

Drove to the lower Mohave-Milltown Rail Trail in a Toyota Sienna, to see if it was possible to ride this Trail on my Tri-Cruiser, .
Taking Willow Drive off Hwy 95, continue 1.7 miles after it turns to dirt, the turn off is easy to miss at N34.90958 W114.54285 then two more miles of rough Harpers Wash Road to the
signed TH at N34.92857W114.51589 elev 867’ . Parking off Rd.
The Railroad was constructed in 1903. The gold mining operation was shut down in 1904 Reported that it cost $250,000 to build and made $40,000. The Railroad abandoned in 1913.
Now only a Hiking or Mountain Bike Trail. It provides views of the Mohave Valley and the mountains by Oatman.
The Bike/Hiker TH on Boundary Cone Rd N34.99389 W114.43963 elev 1807’, has parking.
Mountain Bikers may enjoy this trail and then visit the Mining /Tourist town of Oatman, AZ just 4.2 miles above the Boundary Cone Rd TH on Historical Route 66. By Twirlymaker, Noel Keller July 13.

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