It was historian, Tom Kollenborn, who first told me about this set of wagon tracks, many years ago.  Wagon tracks have always fascinated me. They transport me back to the days of our pioneers and of heavy loaded wagons, with straining teams of mules or oxen, as both man and beast labored to build this nation out of a raw wilderness.  To me, the very sight of these old wagon tracks brings “old Arizona” back to life.  As I sat there alone between the deeply cut ruts, eating my lunch of tortillas and cheese among the creosote bush, and fantasizing about the tracks, I could almost hear the gravelly voice of a burly teamster cursing at his mules, and the crack of his driving whip splitting the air.  It seemed as if I could actually hear the rumbling sound of iron rimmed wagon wheels, rolling over this stretch of rocky desert, again…and again…and again…and again. So, guess what?…I wrote a song about it!😊


These ruts were cut by heavy wagons loaded with silver ore from the nearby “Silver King Mine”, which was found in 1875.  In the beginning, the ore was hauled to Yuma and then loaded onto ships in the “The Sea of Cortez” (The Gulf of California) and shipped around the Baja Peninsula, up to San Francisco for processing.  However, the tremendous cost of transportation was huge and profits were small.  So, in the late 1870’s the old “Pinal Mill” was built along Queen Creek, just west of present-day Superior, where the Silver King Mine hauled its ore in wagons, to be processed at a more reasonable cost and with a greater profit.  The wagons had to travel across this stretch of ground (pictured), which consists of a deposit of “Welded Volcanic Tuff” (solidified volcanic ash).  As a result, these deep ruts were cut from many years of heavy loaded wagons grinding their wheels into the soft rock.


As a side note, I could not help but notice that these wagon tracks are just sitting out there unprotected, without any official signage stating their antiquity, or even a plaque explaining what they are, or any sort of evidence that they are protected by Arizona law, and therefore punishable by law if defaced or vandalized.  It causes me to fear for their safety.

The Balladeer       Come visit the General Store!

NEW: Dolan now offers digital downloads for both albums and single songs in his “General Store”. Listen first and then buy.  Click here to go to General Store.


Dolan’s Newest!!



$30 + S/H

Two hours of Dolan Ellis and his 12 string guitar, performing his songs and stories of Arizona live, accompanied by three huge screens of his projected Arizona Photography. The beautiful hard cover book also includes a never before available photo gallery of the history of Dolan’s career. A charming coffee table treasure trove for those who love Arizona and it’s uniqueness.


Audio DVD

About the author:

Dolan Ellis has been a singer/songwriter and “Arizona’s Official State Balladeer”, for over fifty years. He has written several hundred ballads and songs about interesting people, little known places, and special moments of Arizona. He is also an avid photographer and combines his talents into his live multimedia musical performances. They are a “must see” for Arizona visitors and residents alike.

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