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Carr Peak - Comfort Springs Loop, AZ

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Guide 21 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Sierra Vista
3.9 of 5 by 9
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 9.25 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,382 feet
Elevation Gain 1,791 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,695 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 22.73
Interest Seasonal Creek & Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
5  2019-07-04 LJW
5  2018-09-23 Merianne
18  2018-04-05
Comfort Spring Carr Peak Loop
11  2017-08-19 LindaAnn
11  2017-08-19 The_N
9  2016-08-20 DallinW
14  2016-08-20 friendofThunderg
8  2016-08-20 Tough_Boots
Page 1,  2,  3
Author writelots
author avatar Guides 19
Routes 39
Photos 5,577
Trips 337 map ( 3,894 miles )
Age 46 Female Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Aug, Jul, Sep, Jun
Seasons   Spring to Late Summer
Sun  6:06am - 6:25pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
See both sides of the Thunder Mountains...
by writelots

Likely In-Season!
Overview: The Coronado National Forest webpage describes the Carr Peak trail as a "relatively moderate hike to some of the best views in the Huachucas". But what if you get up in the high country of this spectacular sky island and just can't quit at 'relatively moderate' anything? What if you want more - more than the sweeping views, wildflower meadows and stunning cliffs? What if you want a taste of what the Huachuca Mountains were like before the string of fires that have laid Carr Peak bare? Then add a couple-three miles to your trip and loop around the "back" of the range for a whole different side of the mountain.

History: The Carr Peak trail owes much of its character to disaster. A massive wildfire in 1977 combined with unusually heavy rains to burn and wash away much of the vegetation and soil from the rocky slopes of Carr Peak. Where once there were stands of pine and fir rich enough to support a number of profitable sawmill operations, there are now large open meadows, aspen stands and exposed, open mountainside. A second major fire in 1991 removed even more forest cover - and subsequent fires including the Monument Fire in 2011 have continued to ravage the slopes. The upside of this intensive fire regime, however, is the opening of the landscape to incredible views and impressive summer wildflower displays unique among the sky island ranges.

Hike: We believe this hike is best done clockwise, starting the day with the climb up to the Carr Peak summit. This way, you hit the peak still fresh and energized. There are a number of access points for the Carr Peak Trail, the lowest being via the Old Sawmill Spring trail out of the Reef Townsite campground. There are also two higher access points from the upper Ramsey Vista campground - one just below the campground itself and one inside the campground. This description leaves from this upper most trailhead, as this is also its finish point at the end of the Comfort Springs Trail.

From the campground, the trail begins a gradual ascent up the north and eastern slopes of Carr Peak. At about 1/4 mile the trail passes the Old Sawmill Spring Trail spur leading to the Reef Townsite Campground. The slopes here are patchy with burned stands of pine and fir and large open meadows where wildflowers have begin to stabilize the thin soil. Stands of fresh-smelling aspen provide occasional patches of shade on the climb, but seldom interrupt the incredible views.

The trail continues to climb gradually as it wraps around to the south flank of the mountain and then up to a high saddle at approximately 9,000'. From here, you can see the ridgeline continuing more or less south toward the high point of the range - Miller Peak. The fires have exposed some amazing quartz veins on the mountainside here, and in many places the Crest Trail is visible as it heads toward Miller. This portion of the Crest is on the AZT, as well. At approx. 2.6 miles from the trailhead, the trail reaches the junction with the Carr Peak Spur which continues the final 1/3 mile to the peak at 9,200ft (according to the sign).

The peak is bald and rocky, with seemingly eternal views to the north, south and east - into Mexico and across Sierra Vista and Fort Huachuca. The extent of the fires can be seen most clearly from this vantage point, and it is difficult to imagine what this landscape might have looked like before that big burn in '77. It is almost exactly 3 miles from the trailhead to the top of the peak.

Returning to the spur junction, it is a quick and easy 1 1/3 miles downhill to the Crest Saddle and the end of the Carr Peak trail. This area has also been heavily effected by fires, and from the profusion of agave blooms we encountered in 2012, it is clear that these succulents have benefited from the clearing of the pine overstory. As mentioned earlier, the Crest/Arizona Trail continues south to Miller Peak and the Mexican border, and north to the rest of the range. This loop turns right (north) and continues toward Bear Saddle and the Oversite/Ida Canyon trails.

Here you begin to see the other 'side' of the Huachuca mountains. This area has been largely unaffected by the past wildfires, and retains its rich, thick cover of pines and fir trees. It feels as though you have entered a whole different part of the state. The route passes the junction with the Oversite Canyon trail, which descends down a steep south draining canyon ending near the Coronado National Memorial. About 2.3 miles from the peak, the trail reaches Bear Saddle, where the loop leaves the Crest/Arizona Trail and heads down the Hamburg Trail toward the Hamburg Mine. Signs indicate that you are heading to the Ramsey Canyon Preserve, as well.

The Hamburg Trail begins to descend Wisconsin Canyon amid lush stands of pine, juniper and maple (making this an ideal goal for a fall color trek). The 1,100' descent to the old mines and townsite at Hamburg might feel excessive - and Hamburg is almost 500 feet lower than the trailhead back at Ramsey Vista. There's even a quick drop further from the junction with the Pat Scott Canyon trail to the Comfort Springs Trail junction where the route heads back up toward the campground.

From the Hamburg Junction, the Comfort Springs trail climbs gradually up the western face of Ramsey Canyon. Although the fires have not heavily affected this area, the natural cover is light - with only occasional short junipers and pinons to provide dotted shade. On our trip, nearly everyone ran out of water on this stretch, so caution is advised. The route climbs up to a low saddle, then drops slightly back down into a basin to meet up with Comfort Spring (which was bone dry on our visit, and looks to be dry most of the year). The short climb back up to the trailhead is scenic, with the characteristic exposed slopes and rocky cliffs providing plenty of interest to help get up that last bit of trail.

Water Sources:
- Old Sawmill Spring
- Bear Spring
- Comfort Spring
In wet seasons, water may be available below the junction with the Pat Scott Canyon Trail in Ramsey Canyon.

Camping: Excellent backcountry camping opportunities exist at several points along the Crest Trail and at the Hamburg Townsite. However, illegal human and drug traffic has been common in this area, and most management agencies recommend camping in groups and exercising caution.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2012-07-09 writelots
    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
    Carr Peak - Comfort Springs Loop
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    A group of us headed out to the Huachucas for a nice weekend of car camping and hiking. We started with Carr Peak. The trail makes a solid climb that takes some effort. It was a hot and sunny day with a chance of rain later in the day. The trail eventually levels off and you make the final push to the summit. Once up top our group took a break and enjoyed the views overlooking Sierra Vista. After we had our fill we headed for Miller Peak. Along the way rain & hail started falling. Claire didn’t have a rain coat so I stayed back with her. We decided to turn around and head back but opted for a loop hike returning down Wisconsin Canyon and the Comfort Spring Trail. At some point it stopped raining and the rest of the hike was very enjoyable. The Huachucas are fantastic! The trails are in good condition and the views are wonderful!
    Carr Peak - Comfort Springs Loop
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    Carr Miller Comfort
    There was to be some gathering of Tucson hikers in the majestic Huachuca Mountains, and I felt that some representation from the northerly neighbors was in order, so I invited myself along! :y:

    We arrived Friday night in order to acclimate for the big day ahead! Saturday morning we split into multiple hiking groups so as to limit impact in the Miller Peak Wilderness, but we all headed up to Carr Peak to start the day. From there different groups went different directions.

    Karl and Dallin and I took the crest trail over to Miller Peak. Along the way it started to rain and hail, but there was no thunder or lightning so we happily pressed on. Bknorby, justmike, MrBadBern, My Joseph, Floridasunshine, gloope, and a few non-hazzers followed and arrived just as we were starting our trip back to the north, and Karl decided to hike with them for a bit.

    The rain let up so Dallin and I decided to continue on the Crest trail around to Hamburg. This was a new trail for me. It's steep but takes you quickly down in a nicely shaded canyon to where there's running water.

    The climb up Comfort Springs trail is a grind at the end of a big day like this, and I made some kind of mistake reading the map and thought it was only a 200 foot climb. It's 3x more than that, so I was a bit irritated! We caught up to 9L and Clairebear before reaching Comfort Springs, and Karl wasn't far behind us. Once back at camp, we met up with the others who had returned via the Carr trail.

    An evening of laughter, good food, and better company followed! Thanks to bknorby for planning and letting me crash your party! :app:

    Not as nice as last year, but tough not to say it's still substantial.
    Carr Peak - Comfort Springs Loop
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    This was my first time to this nice little wilderness area and mountain range and I really enjoyed it. I came down on an invite to join several HAZers from Tucson and Phoenix for some hiking, camping and good times. I was not sure what to expect in terms of hiking, but I had heard good things about Carr, Miller and the wildflowers. The Comfort Springs Loop seemed to be the large group's consent pick, so I also decided to make it my destination for Saturday.

    The hike up Carr is not to bad and the trail is in great shape for the most part. There is a little over-growth along the edges, but I imagine that thins out when the hiking season arrives. The views of Sierra Vista and the surrounding countryside were great, but the trail is a little bland at first, however, it gets nicer with a little stretch through some Aspen and then again as you near the peak and get out of the manzanita and scrub Once you near the peak you get some nice views of Miller, sections of the Crest Trail and some pines and wildflowers start to appear in more abundance. The spur up to the peak is a little steep at first, but it calms down quickly enough and then takes you up to the peak along a pretty scenic little ridgeline. We spent a long time on the peak and then planned the rest of our day. I opted for a return without Miller via the Crest Trail and Hamburg, while everyone else but Kyle headed for Miller.

    The Crest Trail offered perhaps some of the best views of the day and the hike down Hamburg was very nice. There was ample water along this section of the hike and overall the canyon was pretty scenic. The final two miles involved a few short climbs and the entering and exiting of a couple of drainages, but nothing too overwhelming. The trough at Comfort Springs was pumping out nice clear cold water, which the dogs appreciated and being in no rush we took an extended break there, shortly after we were connecting our loop back at the trailhead and camp.

    Another great Tucson area hike. The ranges in and around Tuscon have yet to disappoint me and this one was no exception. I am usually not a fan of crowds and campgrounds, but this was a fun weekend with some cool like minded outdoor enthusiasts and I am excited to come back to this area for some backpacking when the warm temperatures break.
    Carr Peak - Comfort Springs Loop
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    Carr - Miller Peak - Hamburg Loop
    Preston the great introduced me to the Huachuca Mountains six years ago. I've enjoyed every hike in this range thus far. Today we followed Doc Fraley's recent loop from a month ago. The wildflowers here are among the most consistent large annual display I can think of over the years. The yellow blanket show is a simple daisy you would overlook if it wasn't for the astounding abundance. The Pinaleno's have more exotics in my experiences. Unfortunately they are hit and miss year to year. This display is jaw dropping with the nice crisp vertical wrinkles on the range.

    As much as I enjoy the wildflowers, this hike is great regardless. A mile of raspberry and blackberry is borderline torture. A controllable... wise men wear pants. Someday I'll wise up. The uncontrollable for this "Southern California Style Coastal Experience" as jj calls it is the humidity. Yet aside from the first quarter mile outta the starting gate the elevation is nothing fierce.

    My first time down Wisconsin Canyon & over on Comfort Springs 109. Wow, gotta check out Ramsey more! Love Miller Peak but still need to hit Pat Scott, Miller Canyon, Ida, Oversite, Bear, etc...
    Carr Peak - Comfort Springs Loop
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    for quite a while i've wanted to hit both Carr and Miller Peaks. Not sure why i waited so long. isn't it great when a hike is even more awesome than you hoped it would be.

    if timed right (monsoon season flowers) this hike can knock your socks off with mountain flowers. today wasn't the most i've seen up there but it certainly was the most i've seen in quite a while anywhere. very green. nice creeks flowing, especially in Hamburg.

    saw 6 deer (including the smallest baby i have ever seen :) ), 3 hawks and 2 people.

    the weather was out of this world. early on i was worried about storms but i beat them. getting ugly up high as i was driving down. it was actually cold on Carr peak at 8am...little breeze and i was soaked with sweat. that was awesome

    if you've got the time and the gumption, this is a WONDERFUL summer peak bagging loop
    Carr Peak - Comfort Springs Loop
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    Too tired to join Bob in the Huachucas at dawn on Sunday :( , I slept in until 11am and left my house later that day, at the reasonable hour of 11pm. I stopped on the switchbacks on the side of The Reef to let a dozen or so search and rescue vehicles (???) pass me around 1:30 am, and was asleep at the Carr Canyon trailhead a while later.

    The strong morning sun quickly drew sweat as I ascended the Carr Peak Trail, but a strong breeze came to the rescue. An unexpected "chance of thunderstorms" in the forecast kept my eyes glued to the sky, as little clouds began to billow up and then blow away. Not having been there before, I made a beeline for Miller Peak. Passing Carr Peak, I was in new territory, where I thoroughly enjoyed the ferns, firs, aspens, and sweeping views from the crest of the Huachuca Mountains. I sat down on top of Miller Peak to take a break and enjoy the amazing view, but an approaching dark cloud convinced me to descend instead. On to Carr Peak!

    Bathtub spring was indeed that, and stinging nettle stung my shin as I stuck my hand in the cool water. Vengeance was brought upon the nettle, and it soon lay uprooted and stomped upon in the trees. Having never been to Ramsey Canyon, I decided to visit Carr Peak another day, and continue west on the Crest.

    Leaving the amazing scenery of the Crest Trail, Wisconsin Canyon did not disappoint either, with its beautiful, sheltered, shady forest. The unlikely combo of white firs and Schott's Yucca growing side by side was interesting. Entering the long awaited Ramsey Canyon, I poked around the Hamburg Mine area for a bit before turning onto the Comfort Spring Trail.

    I cruised the mountainside above Ramsey Canyon, stopping frequently for photos and to check out the cliff bands of mighty Ramsey Peak above. I was reminded of the unburned Mazatzals of my youth, adding to the already great feeling I was getting from this area. I reluctantly left Ramsey Canyon behind.

    The sun was getting lower as I crossed a divide into Carr Canyon, where I laughed at the uncomfortably dry "Comfort Spring" and admired the rock formations of the lower canyon. Back at the deserted trailhead, I cleaned up a bit and then drove off into the sunset to catch a movie in Sierra Vista. I could not have had a more enjoyable day. :D
    Carr Peak - Comfort Springs Loop
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    Carr-Ramsey Short Loop
    i have been coming out to the huachucas for the weekend after my birthday for three years now, and this year did not disappoint - randy even got his lightening show! friday night was nice, we did the hike on saturday, and then saturday night there was color, wind, and of course, the lightening. oh, and rain. yes, southpawaz and i are getting quite used to camping in the rain during this monsoon season.

    oh yes, this is a site about the hiking. we were originally going to do a quick out and back up to carr, but then randy got this loopy idea (as he often does), and we were all for it. we had done it the other way around three years ago with jrnorb and notjulia. the trails were good; the weather stayed good for us as well. good times.
    Carr Peak - Comfort Springs Loop
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    Did this loop with Angela as part of an Arizona Backpacking Club car camp/day hike to test out my toe (which I broke about 6 weeks ago). Toe held up better than my poor pooch did - she was limping so badly the next day we decided to skip the second hike in Ida/Oversite Canyons :( .

    Nice day for a hike, though, as the cloud cover gave us some relief on the way up to the peak and on and off through the day without actually pelting us with rain. The last climb back up to the campsite was a beeotch, and sunny! Even the Irish folk tunes weren't keeping spirits up on that one!

    It was fantastic to finally hike with Belinda and Joel. They did a slightly longer loop, but we all stayed as a group to the peak. They were entertaining at camp, what with trying to assemble the special Pack-It Gourmet pizza kit...I couldn't have planned better performers if I'd tried!

    And as always, great being on the trail with the Tibber-nator. Can't wait to see her photos!
    Carr Peak - Comfort Springs Loop
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    After a visit to the Reid Park Zoo, a warm up for my hiking weekend, I stayed at Wendy's on Friday nite. Sat morning Lil from Phx joined us at the last minute and we headed to Benson where we met up with 3 more of the crew before heading up the mountain to Ramsey Vista Campground where the last of the group joined us. Once we sorted out the camp spots, we geared up and hit the trail.

    You start a gradual climb. My goal was to TRY and keep up so my camera was tucked snugly in my case. Needless to say I was :o and :) delighted when I saw the group stop relatively soon. Some were observing the view while Belinda had her camera out and was taking pics. I guess what was even more shocking is this would happen a few times along the way :DANCE: . Though I still always lagged the group, I was able to get a few pics from time to time as well. What fun!

    There were two of the group that was quite speedy but once again, I was surprised that they waited for the rest of us a couple times on the trail. I thot I would mostly be hiking solo today and that turned out not to be the case. Wendy led the group most of the way until after the first saddle. Then the other hikers took off at a pretty good clip once we got around the corner headed to the junction with the Peak climb.

    Along the way we would encounter some wonderful patches of flora and of course the views keep hitting you in the face :D . I have to say the Peaks up here are sure pretty. I like how close you seem to them including Miller. I actually looked forward to that last little climb to the top of Carr; it seemed like time flew by.

    We had lunch on the top, threw our "wendy" and then headed down except not back to the campground as Wendy's toe was feeling well enough to do a loop. She had consulted Joel's map and found a route for us. Little did we know that Wendy's toe may have not been a big issue but poor Lilo's paws were.

    The next part of the burned part of the trail (Crest) was actually kind of nice as the views were just great! Here is also where the call of the Huachuca Agave :DANCE: began in earnest. We worked our way around this big bend to the Saddle where you had a couple hiking choices: Miller Peak or to continue on the Crest to Bear Saddle. We paused a moment here to walk to a clearing and take in the expansive views to the SE.

    We then took the trail that headed toward the Ida Canyon Junction. Once you crossed over the saddle, you started walking into the wooded side of the mountain. It was so green and lush while at the same time, down the side of the mountain you would see big groupings of the Huachuca Agave. It was impressive. We also encountered a few nearer the trail so we got to get up close and personal with them. They really are pretty. :)

    We passed the junction with the Oversite Trail which we would be taking the next day (but ended up not due to heat) and in a little way, we reached Bear Saddle which is also the junction with the Ida Canyon and Granite and Hamburg Trails. We rested here a moment and gave Lilo a big drink of water.

    We headed down and down and down the Hamburg Trail. It seemed pretty steep and by the time we were about 1/3 mile into it I was glad we weren't coming up that :yuck: . And if you think I was whining then, about 3/4 mile later I was yelling forward to Wendy "I think we're going all the way to the bottom 8-[ !" which means, we gotta come all the way back up again :sweat: . Oh, this is not lookin' good at all. It is especially not a good thing when I, of all hikers, am thinking, "I wish this trail would go UP :o " for about a mile of that part of the hike. :lol:

    Of course, going into the canyon it is really pretty and we got to hear all sorts of birds. Less than 1/4 mile from the next junction, Wendy took a look at Scout and said we didn't have too far to reach the junction and quoted an elevation of 6840 (oh joy). Fortunately we only got as low as 6950ish; heh 100 feet is 100 feet! Now remember, we were at 9200 feet less than 2 1/2 hours and 3 3/4 miles ago.

    The sign said 2.25 miles to go (2.5 to the campsite). What was bothering me is I couldn't remember the elevation of the campsite so would we have to go up 1000 or only 500 feet :-k ? I know 500 feet doesn't sound like a lot but it was a bit toasty out here and the trail was pretty exposed for most of the way up. We talked about the TH elevation and decided it was probably only a little more than 500 feet so off we went.

    I'm sure Wendy could have barreled up that mountainside a lot faster but she would pause and wait for me from time to time. It was a long hot slog, one of those "one foot in front of the other" with an occasional glance and photo of the surrounding scenery. It wouldn't have seemed hard except for that heat and no breeze plus we were low on water as we had only planned on an up and back of Carr Peak. 1hr and 45 minutes later, we arrived at the campsite feeling pretty good about our day.

    Now it was time for Gatorade and then some huckleberry ice-tea while we waited for the others to join us (they did the longer loop). Once the rest of the group arrived, it was time to break out the Huckletinis while we all chatted, rested our laurels, set up our tents and then began dinner preparation. The temp at camp was delightful both at nite and while sleeping and for the morning.

    It was a great first visit to the Huachucas; those are some beautiful mountains. I can't wait to see more of these and the other Sky Islands. I was glad to not only meet the Norbys but to hike and camp with them :D ; it was so much fun. And of course, it's always a good weekend when I get to go camping and hiking with Wendy and Lilo. No video of the hike but I do have movies of some of the animals at the Tucson zoo (not that there's any coorelation between the zoo animals and hikers):

    PS. This is only the first day of our Huachuca adventure as the next day we would do a drive around the mountains with a couple stops.
    PS2. Wendy is doing a hike description of this Loop and I will be moving the log and photos when it's ready to go. I HIGHly recommend this most wonderful loop hike in the Huachucas.

    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 / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To Carr Trailhead
    Drive south of Sierra Vista 7 miles on Arizona Highway 92 to the Carr Canyon Road (FR 368). Follow FR 368 about 6.5 miles to the Old Sawmill Spring trailhead across from the entrance to Reef Townsite Campground. The Carr Peak Trailhead is located at a parking lot just outside the entrance to Ramsey Vista Campground at the end of FR 368. Carr Peak Spur is accessible via the Carr Peak Trail.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 199 mi - about 3 hours 19 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 89.7 mi - about 1 hour 44 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 343 mi - about 5 hours 25 mins
    page created by writelots on Jul 09 2012 11:23 am
    3 pack - loud whistle
    safety first
    help comment issue

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