November 13, 2010
Slavin Gulch Trail follows an old road in the Dragoon Mountains to the Abril Mine, also known as the Dos Hermanos or Two Brothers Mine.
Named for the Abril brothers of Tombstone, the mine operated from 1914 to 1952 and produced zinc, copper, lead, silver and gold.
The ore was transported down slope from the adits to the haul road by a series of wooden chutes and a cable car system where it was loaded onto trucks. Remnants of the chutes and cable system can still be seen.
Some historians believe Slavin Gulch was the location of the 1872 peace conference between Cochise and General Howard, since the description of their meeting area seems to fit Slavin Gulch better than the nearby Council Rocks.
I don't think I can improve on this description by Preston Sands on the Hike Arizona website:
Conical buttes of bare Stronghold Granite rise all around, while oaks, mesquites, and catclaw thickets dot the canyon bottom .... Numerous house sized boulders create seasonal waterfalls in the creek bed, as the trail treads a narrow shelf on the south side of the drainage. Emerging from the box, the Slavin Gulch Trail enters a hidden valley of boulders and hoodoos, surrounded by rocky knobs and peaks.
We found the perfect campsite in a high valley near the end of the road and hope to return their early next year for an overnight that would include further explorations of the Abril Mine.
This simple day hike was greatly enhanced by an abundance of butterflies as well as plenty of tarantulas, mountain spiny lizards and an exotic broadwing katydid.