Tag Archives: san pedro river

Fairbank to Contention, San Pedro River, June 2013

1306 Fairbank Historic Townsite

Starting the day at the Fairbank Historic Townsite.

Memories of the heat on my last San Pedro adventure – and climbing temperatures across Southern Arizona – motivated me to get an early start, after a few errands and a bit of driving I arrived at the Fairbank Historic Townsite. I wandered around the site for a few minutes inspecting buildings and reading signs – but I was quickly on the San Pedro Trail.

1306 Looking towards the San Pedro from the Fairbank Cemetery

A fallen cross in the Fairbank Cemetery – overlooking the San Pedro River.

The Fairbank Cemetery was a short (well signed) side trip from the main trail – I didn’t know what to expect but the hill-top location overlooking the river and feeling of the place surprised me a little, a bit lonely and distant. I lingered a few minutes and moved on.

1306 Path along the River after Willow Wash

Beautiful single track along the river – temporarily lost in the grass…

After Willow Wash the wide trail became single track – sometimes overgrown – and I followed what I think were Mountain Lion tracks along the trail to the Contention area. After a nice break in the shade I decided to take the river bed back – it was dry near Contention and stayed dry for sometime, but eventually there was a bit of flowing water.

1306 Shade

Green grass beginning to appear – almost to flowing water!

I took the river back to Highway 82 and then followed a small path along a fence line until emerging at the old rail platform under the highway near Fairbank – just a short walk from the car – finished before the worst heat of the day!

GPS Information

1306 Fairbank To Contention


Undammed and flowing north from Mexico into the United States the San Pedro River is amazing – I recently started doing some reading to understand a bit more about the area – some links that I thought were interesting/useful:

A Section of the San Pedro River – May 2013

1305 First glimpse of the green near the San Pedro RiverDirt road from Highway 80 to the San Pedro.

In the past two months while working on sections of the Sky Island Traverse I have been south of St. David more times than in the previous decade – and I love it! These sections have been a great reason to get to new areas – it seems like every time I get outside and explore I find something amazing – this section of the San Pedro was certainly no exception.

From Highway 80 at the Curtis Windmill a dirt road cuts west across Arizona State Trust Land into the The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, passes an old windmill and ends just short of the River. From the end of the road a small path wanders down to the river and then fragments – I work my way down to the River and smile at the shallow flowing ribbon of water!

1305 Water in the San Pedro RiverFlowing!

The River alternates between flowing and dry (and sandy!) – cattle have obviously been here, but I don’t see any – I do see Vermilion Flycatchers, Great Blue Herons, small fish and a troop of Coati! The River is amazing but it is getting hot (very very hot…) so after a few minutes in the Contention Ruins Area (some information about the area) and a nice break I make my way back to the car.

2013 May San Pedro Summary