Kentucky Camp Trail is a 7.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sonoita, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.
This is a fabulous trail! Take Hwy,. 83 south from the I-1o Freeway toward Sonoita. About 22 miles south and 3 miles north of Sonoita (past the Border Patrol Check Point) you will see a prominent sign saying Gardner Canyon. Take this dirt road about 5 miles straight west. Follow the signage--do not turn right to Kentucky Camp--you will ride there on a quicker route. At the Apache Springs Ranch, you will continue on Gardner Canyon Road (this is Forest Service Road #92) and not too far past Apache Springs Ranch (about 1 mile) there is a large and obvious parking lot. Park there and consult the signs. The Arizona Trail crosses here, but DO NOT follow it to the right. This direction goes up a steep and rocky trail and is the way you will come back to the parking lot. At the parking lot, follow the evident single track next to the info sign heading west. It joins the FS 92 Road again shortly. You follow this until the junction with FS 4084--about 0.7 miles. Turn right on this road and leave the Arizona Trail. Follow this down to Cave Creek and look for Oynx Cave. Head back up above the drainage and follow this two-track until the junction with FS 4085. Take that route (to your right) and continue on. At FS 4086, there is a short diversion to see Cave of Bells. At the end there is a barrier, and you can walk or ride your bike to the cave entrance. It is blocked off and you need a rope to get down to the barrier--probably not worth it. Head back down 4086 to rejoin 4085 and continue on the two track to the low saddles through the hills to your east. Really fun riding here. Once at the top, look for FS 4110 and follow it out along the top of the hill through open grasslands with great vistas to the east of the Whetstone Mountains and Mule Mountains. You continue on this for some time (2 miles or so) until you see the Arizona Trail sign heading north. Take this and you are about 1.5 miles from Kentucky Camp. There is some technical downhill and switchbacks here but overall it is great. You ride down an oak-valley, go through a gate, ride some more, cross FS 4085, come to another gate, ride through a valley with pit mines from the 1870's (look for the sign), go through one more gate and then you will see the caretaker's trailer at Kentucky Camp. Be sure to tour the large hotel building and read some of the fascinating history. A small cabin is for rent through the FS. Head back the way you came, but on top of the grassy hills, look for the obvious Arizona Trail marker to your left and follow it to get back to the parking lot. It follows the water ditch/aqueduct for most of the way. Who built this 8.5 ditch just to use water to mine gold? At the end, you come to a hill overlooking the parking lot. We chose to walk down the steep, rocky trail much of way. Don't want no header at this point.