look straight down on Clifton
Mares Bluff is on the south end of the little town of Clifton, in far eastern Arizona. From the bluff, one can view Clifton some 300 feet below (straight down, really), and admire the numerous peaks and canyons of the surrounding area. The trail to Mares Bluff was created as a memorial to veterans of the area, and features a few plaques dedicated to them along the route.
From the little trailhead on Ward Canyon Road (the southern edge of Clifton), the trail to Mares Bluff climbs steep switchbacks up the canyon side, wasting no time in gaining elevation. Hiking poles are helpful on this section on the hike down, due to the loose rock. Ocotillo, prickly pear, and creosote bushes cover the mountainside, which affords a nice view up Ward Canyon of the brilliant red granite rock that forms Red Canyon and the mountains above.
The trail gains some 300 vertical feet in less than a quarter of a mile, and deposits you atop a relatively flat ridge. The trail heads across it for a short distance, then descends a bit to a small point on the edge of a conglomerate cliff. This is Mares Bluff, and it is decorated with flag poles, between which are strung a large number of dog tags donated by local veterans. Enjoy the view, and stay away from the cliff edge, or you'll fall into someone's backyard.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.