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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Crest Trail #270 - Wilderness to Monte Vista, AZ

36 19 1
Guide 19 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Douglas
4.5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Distance One Way 6.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,431 feet
Elevation Gain 1,100 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 9.97
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
8  2019-08-21
Chiricahua & Monte Vista Peak Loop
34  2016-06-04
Morse Canyon - Mormon Canyon Loop
30  2015-09-19
Chiricahua Figure 8 Loop
35  2011-05-13 GrottoGirl
9  2010-12-19
Chiricahua & Monte Vista Peak Loop
18  2010-10-02
Anita Park - Chiricahuas
7  2010-09-19
Crest Trail #270 - Jct Saddle to Sentinel Peak
1  2010-06-05 sumnergeo
Page 1,  2
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Sep, Jun → Early
Seasons   Late Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:00am - 6:25pm
3 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Culture Nearby
Glory of the Crest
by HAZ_Hikebot

Likely In-Season!
The Crest Trail is actually a system of trails, spurs and side loops that sits like an inverted letter "Y" on the central ridge of the Chiricahuas. To make the job of describing this trail network a bit more manageable, we have broken it up into three parts. This page describes the trail from the northern boundary of the Chiricahua Wilderness to the foot of the upside down Y's southwestern leg on Monte Vista Peak. About 2.5 miles from the Wilderness boundary, the trail reaches Junction Saddle. The southeast fork of the Crest Trail #270 goes to Sentinel Peak.

Between the Wilderness boundary and Monte Vista Peak, the Crest Trail offers access to a land of diverse forests, wildflower clad meadows, soaring overlooks and some of the highest summits in the mountain range. Particular features accessible along this section of the Crest include Flys Peak, Anita Park, Chiricahua Peak and the unmatched views of Monte Vista Peak. Centella Point, Winn Falls, Anita Spring and Booger Spring are accessible via spurs or connecting trails.

Another aspect of this trail is its pleasant character. Much of it wanders along a wide and easy to follow trail, cushioned with pine needles and shaded by tall trees. The gradient is moderate, and grassy parks and distant vistas appear with pleasing frequency. Even the wildlife seems cooperative. It's a good place to see Coues white-tailed deer, a variety of songbirds and the retreating shadow of a shy black bear. Numerous side trails provide plenty of opportunity for added adventure.

Check out the Triplogs.

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2008-06-11 HAZ_Hikebot

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Crest Trail #270 - Wilderness to Monte Vista
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Morse Canyon - Mormon Canyon Loop
    Old but memorable trip so figured I would share. A few weeks prior I had hike around Chiricahua NM and wanted to camp at Turkey Creek and hike around to at least see Monte Vista Peak or Chiricahua Peak. My birthday was over the weekend and got a few like minded individuals together for a nice weekend of camping, hiking, and relaxing as far away from Phoenix as possible.

    Started the day much later than anticipated, planned for start of the Morse Canyon TH about 530 but turned into 7ish. Didn't seem a big deal at first but nearing the end we would miss those 2 extra hours. Morse Canyon was an enjoyable easy to follow trail blanketed with pine needles that just seemed like a never ending ramp. Our group consisted of differing ability levels so very slow speed, plenty of breaks, and many words of encouragement. Great views and fallen logs to pass as annoying as they were it was fun to clear the log obstacles. We all felt like the worst was over once we reached Morse Saddle. This is where my troubles began, had to do some impromptu foot care as I was getting nasty hotspots on the last .5 mile of the trail.

    Quick rest and continued on to Monte Vista Peak. Hike was much less of a climb but still noticed the incline especially when nearing the junction for Monte Vista Peak. The trail up Monte Vista seemed to have the most challenging terrain with a few fallen trees that were quite large. We all looked like we were playing in a charcoal grill all soot covered by the time we made it to Monte Vista Peak. Holy cow, the views up here were simply amazing and gave crystal clear views to the surrounding ranges and sky islands.

    Originally planned to hit Chiricahua Peak after Monte Vista Peak but our rate of travel and current time had us skip it. We continued along crest trail #270B towards Raspberry Ridge surrounded by encroaching new forest growth, fallen trees, and signs of past forest fire everywhere. In some cases the trail was soft patches of ash. At Raspberry Ridge we got one of the best experiences as two A-10s were doing mock attack runs down the ridge. They circled back and approached us a few hundred feet above. We waved, screamed, and the lead plane rewarded us with a wing tip and thumb's up from the cockpit. Pilot so close felt like you could reach up and high-5 him. His partner was a little more conservative and passed us higher up and only then was I smart enough to grab my camera.

    Crest Trail to Mormon Trail Saddle was beautiful especially at Painted Rock but this was where we all started to feel the heat and sun. Trail was mostly exposed here and just felt like it was kicking our ass even though it was mostly level.

    We all cheered when we reached Mormon Saddle and started down Mormon Canyon or as we would later call it god-damned Mormon Canyon or never ending Mormon Canyon due to the very rough terrain and poor trail conditions. Got our second surprise of the day when we startled a slumbering black bear and her cub about .5 mile in. They were on the opposite side of the creek and fled full speed away clearing the ridge within 30 seconds. Never expected bear to move that fast. Clearing Mormon Canyon was the greatest feeling ever as it signaled celebration with cold water, cold beer, and junk food.

    Things I learned from this trip:
      Chiricahuas in June is hot (duh).
      Never try new hiking socks for first time on a trip like this.
      Have plenty of moleskin and blister care with me.
      Chiricahuas are full of wildlife, plan accordingly.
      Black bears are not tiny, black bears are not slow.
      Never, ever, ever open the door to the outhouse on top of Monte Vista Peak. Ever.

    Crest Trail #270 - Wilderness to Monte Vista
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Little overnight loop: up the Morse Canyon, Crest Trail to Chiricahua Saddle, then over to HQ spring where I spent the night. Hiked out the next morning down the Mormon Canyon trail. The latter was much easier to follow than some of the triplogs suggest. A little steep in spots, but not bad.

    Columbine in full bloom near Mormon Spring. Rocky Mountain Iris in bloom in several places.
    Crest Trail #270 - Wilderness to Monte Vista
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    First trip to Turkey Creek TH. Looking for a longer loop, so hiked up Saulsbury to Crest, and spent the night at Anita Park. Next day took the Crest to Morse and down the latter to the campsites near the TH along the creek and spent a blissful night listening to the waterfalls.

    Wildlife: Black-tailed rattler on Saulsberry, awoke to two black bears crashing through the trees at Anita, lots of wild turkeys and deer along Turkey Creek.

    Saulsberry looks like it is mostly used by horses. The trail gets quite faint, but is reasonably well cairned. Had to backtrack a few feet, but no real issues. Crest had lots of deadfall and overgrowth after Raspberry Peak. Morse was in great shape, love that trail.

    Water: trickling at Anita Spring. Tried to find Aqua Fria and HQ springs. The trail to the latter was so covered in deadfall it made passage nearly impossible and I gave up. Agua Fria was not as impassable, but the trail became too faint to follow and with great chagrin I discovered I did not have the GPS coordinates of the springs loaded :-( I'll make a more earnest effort next time.

    This was a very pleasant 20 mile loop, easily done in 24 hours (noon to noon). Next time I'll try my luck with one of the Mormon trails, as I liked the look of the camping area right after Mormon hits the Crest (I'm a hammock guy, need trees!!)

    The only humans I saw were in a camper along Turkey Creek. Gotta like that!

    Nice Lupine bloom along the Crest

    Permit $$

    Coronado Forest
    MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
    Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To Rustler Park CG Trailhead
    From Tucson, take I-10 east to Willcox. From Willcox, head south on AZ Highway 186 for 33 miles. Turn left (east) on AZ Highway 181 toward Chiricahua National Monument and drive 3 miles, then turn right (south) on FR 42 (Pinery Canyon Road). Continue up Pinery Canyon on FR 42 for 12 miles to the junction with FR 42D (Rustler Park Road), at Onion Saddle. Turn right and drive about 2.8 miles on FR 42D to the signed parking area for Rustler Park Trailhead on the left.

    Forest Roads 42 and 42D are gravel roads suitable for passenger vehicles. Open from April through November, they are not plowed and are usually closed following early or late season snowstorms. These roads are rough and dusty and may be muddy and slick after a rain.

    2009-08-11 Preston Sands writes: There is a sign at Rustler Park TH indicating that trailhead parking is $5.00, as of 8-9-09. It was not there last October.

    2009-09-22 Vashti writes: Campground fees are currently $10/night, and the trail head parking is listed as $5/night on the sign.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 243 mi - about 4 hours 28 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 134 mi - about 2 hours 53 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 387 mi - about 6 hours 34 mins
    page created by joebartels on Jun 11 2008 9:14 pm
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