Huachuca Peak

Huachuca Peak is more of a freestanding peak than those that dot the southern part of the range crest.  There are a jumble of ridges and canyons that form its flanks, and there are a variety of trails that head up and intersect nearby.  This part of the Huachucas is noticeably drier than the southern parts but there are still some sheltered moist pockets and many slopes are covered in dense oak/pine forest.

May 29, 2011
Mike and I parked at the Lower Huachuca Canyon Trailhead then walked a short way up the road to Upper Huachuca Canyon Trail to make the loop hike up to Huachuca Peak.  The road was a little rough on the last bit to the trailhead but my Subaru made it well enough with some careful placement, next time it will be the truck.


Looking up one of several small side canyons or drainages that line both sides of the trail.  The Upper Huachuca Canyon Trail takes an interesting route as it weaves its way up pieces of various ridges and canyons.  Most of the trail stays in mixed oak-pine forest like this, typical Madrean for southern Arizona.


Peterson Peak to the southwest across Lyle Canyon from the Crest Trail.  The trail intersection is a bit odd here but it splits left or east just before the fence and gate for the military reservation.


Looking at the limestone cliffs along the southwest face of Huachuca Peak which are similar to those of Ramsey Peak.  It's very rocky and dry along this ridge top leading to the summit, supporting mostly oak, juniper, and mountain mahogany.


The almost pure forest of short windswept Southwestern White Pine on the south summit slope was a welcome surprise.  Its a nice walk through the trees from here to the top.


Looking north through the thick brush to the rest of the broad summit ridge and beyond to the Mustang Hills, Whetstone Mountains, and Rincon Mountains.


Pan from southeast to southwest from the summit cliffs and across Garden Canyon.  Carr Peak is the farthest left high point with Miller Peak poking up behind the ridge just to the right.  Ramsey Peak is the fuzzy green slope below the skyline and Pat Scott Peak is the last high point on the right before the entire range drops into Garden Canyon.  Scheelite Canyon is the prominent canyon with white slopes at left.  At right behind Peterson Peak a grass fire was still smoldering in San Rafael Valley adding more smoke to that of other fires that were burning in the region.

 
A patch of iris blooming at the bottom of the summit bowl which forms the head of Rock Spring Canyon.


The steep slopes and northeast orientation keeps this canyon quite a bit wetter than the others that were encountered on the way up the west side of the peak.  Southwestern White Pine and Gambel Oak continue down the canyon from the summit.  The trail is in pretty bad shape here and it's obvious from the amount of trash that this canyon is frequented by people coming across the border, which seems odd to me considering the difficult route to get here and the fact that the only way out is through the military reservation.  


Near the junction with the fire break road is this area thick with growth from a spring.


Looking back up to the thickly forested slopes of Rock Spring Canyon from the fire break road.  From here the road climbs a little until it reaches a helicopter clearing at the brink of Huachuca Canyon, where the Lower Huachuca Canyon Trail descends from the west side of the clearing.


The trail descends steeply down the south wall of Huachuca Canyon back to the trailhead.  This is one of the steep shallow drainages that come down from the summit ridge at top left.


Upper Huachuca Canyon Trail is on the right and the lower is on the left with the route down Rock Spring Canyon hidden behind the ridge.  Here's the GPS file, huachucapk.gpx.