You may also spot a few old buildings perched on the steep slopes of the mine. Though no longer in use, they may once have been home to the miners who lived semi-permanently on this site. If you’re here at night, it’s easy to envy their incredible views of sunsets, saguaros, and thousands of stars.
From a distance, the desert plane often appears as a long, flat expanse of scrubland interspersed with towering mountains. Exploring that land, however, tells a different story. Up and down you’ll scramble on this drive, dropping steeply in and out of washes. Keep an eye on the color of the rocks, and you’ll observe the fascinating geology of this region. In one wash, the boulders will gleam in Sedona red, while in another, the more familiar grays and browns will reflect the bright Sonoran sun.
Keep an eye on the road as you continue to curve around the massive mine. At one point, you’ll pass a sign inviting you to the Ironwood Forest National Monument—this is about the halfway point of this horseshoe-shaped dirt road.
Now you’re heading north, and soon, the memorable profile of Ragged Top Peak will come into view. Its summit is one of the highest points in the Silver Bell Mountains at just under 4000 feet. If you’re looking to hike this bad boy, do your research before you hit the trail. This is not a hike for beginners.