Punkin Center up into the Sierra Ancha’s Mountains – May 2, 2021 – Keith Menasco

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Date(s) - 05/02/2021
All Day

Tonto Basin

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This will be a loop ride, approximately 55 miles long, starting east of Punkin Center, in Tonto Basin, riding through the desert starting on FS 71, on the north side of Roosevelt Lake, gaining elevation using FS 609 with the ride going up into the Sierra Ancha Mountains and then back down through the desert. In the Sierra Ancha’s, we will visit the abandoned J Slash X Ranch, Dupont cabin, and visit a cave that is large enough that you will need a flash light to venture in. We will also inspect a wildlife rain catchment. On our return trip we will travel a different route using FS 236 down the mountain back to FS 71. If I remember the journey down does have some steep loose rock areas but should not be an issue.   A map of the ride can be found at:  PunkinC_SierraAncha2 

Staging will be east of Punkin Center (33 53.092 N, 111 15.458 W).  To reach Punkin Center, located in Tonto Basin, drive north from Phoenix on the Beeline Highway (SR 87). At the SR87/SR 188 junction, turn right onto SR 188 and drive south toward Roosevelt Lake for about 15 miles, and you will come to Punkin Center. (You can also drive north from Roosevelt Lake on SR188 to reach Punkin Center.)  Distance from Loop 101 and Shea Blvd. is approximately 75 miles. From my home in Peoria it will take approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes. At Punkin Center, turn off the main road (SR 188) on the east side of the highway and drive through the business area of Punkin Center.  Just south of the restaurant, turn left on a paved road that will lead east toward Tonto Creek, passing several homes and RV spots. This road turns to dirt crossing Tonto Creek at a ford.  This road continues across the creek bed through a residential area and becomes FR 71, also known as Greenback Valley Road. We will meet at 9:30 am, have a safety meeting, and leave no later than 9:45 am.

Plan to bring a lunch, snack and something to drink along the way. Fuel should not be a problem for most vehicles, however plan to be prepared.  Vehicle should be license with an ATV sticker.

I would be glad to send you a gps track for this ride.

Keith Menasco;  623-853-5031


This event is fully booked.


  1. Keith, please send me the gps track for this ride. TIA

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    1. Author

      Patrick, I sent the tracks to your email.


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    1. Author

      Steve, sent tracks to your email.

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  2. Hey keith,

    I am going to have to cancel my spot. I have something that i have to take care of tomorrow now so I will not be able to make it.

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