Under Starlit Skies: A Weekend of Wilderness and Wonder at Sawmill Flats

Hello, adventurers! Welcome back to our channel. Today, we’re taking you along on a thrilling journey with the ASU Outdoor Club to the serene and secluded Sawmill Flats, nestled 15 miles south of Young, Arizona. Prepare for a weekend filled with breathtaking landscapes, starlit skies, and a bit of off-road fun. From the historic Queen Creek Tunnel to the stunning views of Roosevelt Lake at sunset, this trip was packed with unforgettable moments. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button if you love outdoor adventures, and let’s dive into the wild beauty of Arizona’s less-traveled paths. Join us as we explore, laugh, and maybe even struggle a bit with an ax. Ready? Let’s go!

In November 2023, ASU Outdoor Club took a camping trip to Sawmill Flats located 15 miles south of Young, Arizona.

While traveling to Sawmill Flats, we passed by beautiful mountains, Queen Creek Tunnel, which was built in 1952, a small town called Miami, a few mines and Globe, Arizona.

After stopping at Walmart to get some food, and a camping store for our leader Jack to get an ax, we continued our journey to Sawmill Flats campground.

A bit of driving later, we pass over the mountain at sunset where we see Roosevelt Lake. The views from the mountain hitting the lake are spectacular. Our driver, Albany, was in awe of how pretty the sunset was and wanted to stop to take pictures, but we knew we had little daylight left and needed to get to our campground as soon as possible.

However, we did cross a one way bridge over the Salt River that would bring us into the mountains and the rest of our trek to the campground. We stopped here and took some pictures of the sunset and of the bridge.

Continuing up the mountains, we had a little bit left of the sunset, but the high climb with no guardrails was a little nerve wracking. Once it got fully dark, our driver had to be on high alert for any signs of cars or animals. There were many sharp turns and windy roads leading up to the campground.

After about 20-30 minutes of driving up the windy roads, we finally reached our campground. There, we set up quickly and got a fire started. We each made dinner and sat around the campfire talking. One of our friends on this trip, Rob, brought his Suzuki Samurai, so it was the car we used to get more firewood once our fire was running low.

Because this was also a stargazing trip, five of us hopped in Rob’s Suzuki Samurai and went to one of the highest places on the mountain trail and gazed up at the stars. There is no light pollution this far in the forest, so we were able to see thousands of stars for many miles. While this stargazing was happening, we took the opportunity to get more firewood and used chains to get stumps out of the ground.

After these silly adventures, we go back to our campsite to eat some smores and see if we can burn a pretzel. Fun Fact: you can not burn a pretzel. With the ax that Jack bought, we went and found an already dead tree and proceeded to try (key word: try) to cut the tree down. After some hefty swings from Jack, everyone in our group gave it a go. Jack made it look easy because everyone, including myself, was struggling to bring this tree down.

When some minutes went by, we decided to let it go which is when Jack took the initiative to break the tree down with his foot. Rob took the tree to a nearby stump and broke it in half. We used this wood for our fire for the rest of the night.

In the morning, some of us woke up pretty early to make some hot chocolate. It was a very cold night and many of us did not sleep very well. After our hot chocolate break, we decided it would be fun to drive the Suzuki Samurai to Young to have breakfast.

Driving for 5 miles until we saw the green sign that says how many miles away Young is from our campground, we stopped. Rob had not realized how far away Young was from our campground, and the trip would not be worth it for how long it would take to get there in our car. Coming up with a better idea, we turned around, grabbed some bacon, eggs, and sausage, and drove up to the tallest mountain peak in our area for breakfast.

This Suzuki Samurai is good for offroading since we couldn’t have made it up the hilltop without it. However we ran into an issue when none of us brought a lighter to light the small grill Rob had. Instead (don’t try this at home), Rob used jumper cables attached to his car to start our grill…and it worked!! We made breakfast on the mountain and then returned back to our campsite to pack up.

On our way back down the mountain, we were able to see Roosevelt Lake. We decided to take the longer way back to Tempe, by going around Roosevelt Lake and eating at a diner called The Butcher hook. We passed over this amazing bridge before stopping for brunch. It was the perfect spot to eat and had a variety of options, along with tons of pictures of the history of the lake.

We invite you to watch our journey on our YouTube channel and hope it inspires you to embark on your own adventure. Whether it’s Sawmill Flats or your local hiking trail, adventure is out there, waiting for you!

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