Monday, January 6, 2014
Over the Christmas Holiday I hiked up to the Pomona Mine in the Huachuca Mountains. Historic mines are numerous in southern Arizona. Oftentimes they offer historic structures and equipment making them great hiking destinations. The Pomona Mine was active intermittently from 1918 until 1963. While open the mine produced around 570 tons of tungsten ore. (Information from www.mindat.org)
The Hike: The hike to the Pomona Mine starts at the Brown Canyon Trailhead on Ramsey Canyon Road. It is over 8 miles round trip (mileage approximate depending on how much you explore) with approximately 2000 feet of elevation gain. The first 1.1 miles the trail is non-existent. Hikers follow ATV roads until the outlet of Brown Canyon where the Brown Canyon Trail 115 begins. The next two 2.5 miles are along the bottom of the canyon. Be careful of mountain bikers coming downhill because they do not watch for hikers. Major vegetation is grass, oak and manzanita which gives visitors shade from the Arizona sun. The Pomona Mine Trail branches off after 2.5 miles. This trail is steep in places and gains elevation quickly. The first 1.5 is on an old road that goes to the base of an old tram used to transport ore from above. The next two miles to the top of the tram is along trail that is narrow, extremely steep and rocky. Watch your footing. Views of the valley and surrounding mountains are extraordinary. The trail becomes faint and hard to follow so route finding is necessary if you want to hike to the top of the ridge. Once on top of the ridge I found a nice place to eat lunch on a cliff with views of Miller Peak and the valley below. The weather was definitely colder as I was about 8000 feet in elevation with pines and two inches of snow in the shade. On my map an unofficial trail is shown to Ramsey Peak and the Crest however, I saw no evidence of this trail and I do not know whether it exists.