Mammoth is a quiet town sprinkled with adobe buildings and a rich mining history, located in the broad San Pedro River Valley, with the Galiuro Mountains to the west and the Santa Catalina Mountains to the south, along State Highway 77.
The town sits at an elevation of 2,353 feet and is known for its million dollar views. The warm desert climate has a winter low temperature of 40 degrees and a summer high temperature of 99 degrees. The community is surrounded by giant cactus, cholla and pastel painted mountains. The population was just over 1,400 at the 2010 census. Mammoth is a part of a tri-community area, covering a 12-mile radius with the towns of Oracle and San Manuel. Tucson is 40 miles southwest and Phoenix is 140 miles northwest.
In 1872, Frank Schultz located the first mine in the area. The name Mammoth was given to the mine because it was believed that the gold ore deposits were of mammoth proportions. The mines soon realized that is was impossible to work the ore at the mine site. A stamp mill had to be built to solve the problem and the best place for the mill was along the San Pedro River. The location of the stamp mill became known as Mammoth, named after the mine. In the beginning, the ore was hauled down to the mill by mule teams and wagons. Then in 1903, aerial trams were constructed. Bucket loads of ore were sent down from the mine to the mill. Minerals from the old Mammoth-St. Anthony Mine are found in all major mineral collections. Tiger, Arizona was the townsite at the Tiger mine, but nothing remains of this ghost town. Throughout the 1880’s, the town was one of the busiest mining camps in the country. The Mammoth post office was established in 1887. The Mammoth Mine changed owners and work was shut down in 1895. During this time, the mine developed a new system of milling. When molybdenum was found in the tailings during 1936, the mine had a short-lived resurgence. The town was incorporated in 1958.
Eulalia “Sister” Bourne, pioneer Arizona schoolteacher and author (Woman in Levis’s, etc.), lived much of her life in the vicinity, at her homestead in Peppersauce Canyon near San Manuel and Oracle, and later at her ranch on Copper Creek near Mammoth, where she died in 1984.
Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness is a 19,410 acres of wilderness area located in the U.S. State of Arizona. It forms the northwest border of the Galiuro Mountain range. The wilderness is administered by the BLM and is located northeast of Mammoth. The wilderness includes the 11-mile long Aravaipa Canyon, the surrounding tablelands and nine side canyons.The Nature Conservancy’s Aravaipa Canyon Preserve protects 7,000 acres of private land and is contiguous with the BLM wilderness area. Pedestrian access to the preserve is allowed only with prior authorization from Preserve staff.
The nearby ghost town of Copper Creek is a popular local attraction. Copper Creek is situated in the Galiuro Mountains, in an out-of-the-way part of Arizona. One approach is from the south, along a dusty, unpaved road that starts from Benson on I-10 and follows the San Pedro River Valley. The first visible relic is the Copper Creek town sign, on the left side of the road close to the stream.