Friday, February 20, 2015

Miller Canyon Huachuca, Mountains February 14, 2015

                             Cascade on Miller Creek

Miller Canyon is located south of Sierra Vista, Arizona, along State Route 92 near the Hereford Road Junction. Other popular canyons you will see on the way include Ramsey Canyon and Carr Canyon. Miller Canyon Road to the trail head is mostly dirt. It is passable to sedans in dry weather if visitors look out for potholes and wash boarding.. The parking lot accommodates 10 plus vehicles.

The Hike: Miller Canyon is one of the popular routes for hikers to climb Miller Peak. It is four miles to the Huachuca Crest Trail and another two miles to the summit. This trail is steep and gains elevation quickly. The first part of the hike the trail detours around private property before descending to Miller Creek. Here the trail is forested but the it can be hard to follow because it is washed out in places from a disastrously flood a couple of years ago. If hikers are observant a path can be followed by visitors. On the hike also look for a pipe descending along the creek. This brings water to Tombstone, Arizona, from the Miller Peak Wilderness. Last summer Tombstone officials won a prolonged fight over fixing this pipe and using mechanized equipment to accomplish the task. Last summer 2.5 miles in I almost stepped on a Mohave rattlesnake. When I reached this section of the trail I hiked through with trepidation even though the snake had long departed. Around the Huachuca Crest Trail I noticed patches of snow. It is always surprising to me how the mountain ranges get wetter and colder as you go south. I hiked a half mile to a mile toward the summit of Miller Peak on the Crest Trail before turning around because of threatening clouds. I didn't have my rain coat and knew rain would almost certainly lead to hypothermia. My wife and I left quickly from Tucson and the coat didn't make it into my pack.  I descended back into the canyon and decided to explore waterfalls along Miller Creek when the sun came out. While exploring I saw at least eight small waterfalls. I have included some of the pictures in this post. Total mileage was about nine miles with 2000 feet of vertical change.

                      Abandoned mine

                              View east from Huachuca Crest Trail

                  Patches of snow and pine trees. This part of Miller Peak burned so shade can be hard to find.

                             Cascade along Miller Creek


                               Scenery along the canyon walls