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Middlemarch Canyon Trail #277, AZ

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Guide 8 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Douglas
3.3 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,922 feet
Elevation Gain 377 feet
Accumulated Gain 378 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.29
Interest Historic & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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22  2017-03-18
Cochise Stronghold to Divide
23  2012-09-07 MAVM
45  2012-01-14
Cochise Stronghold Trail #279
15  2009-01-21 PrestonSands
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 149
Photos 5,534
Trips 1,317 map ( 6,690 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Feb → Early
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:07am - 6:18pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
March to the Stronghold!
by PrestonSands

Overview: The Middlemarch Canyon Trail 277 runs south from Cochise Stronghold, where it connects with the Cochise Trail 279, in southern Arizona's Dragoon Mountains. The Middlemarch Canyon Trail offers solitude among mountainous woodlands, views of Cochise Stronghold, and the chance to visit a historic mining area and ghost town site.

The easiest place to begin this hike is at Cochise Stronghold Campground, which serves as the north trailhead. Accessing the south trailhead for the Middlemarch Canyon Trail requires at least a high clearance vehicle, although one could park on the maintained Forest Road 345 (Middlemarch Road), and hike north on Forest Road 4388/Forest Road 277 to the south trailhead.

Numerous cow paths cris-cross and confuse the Middlemarch Canyon Trail, however, the most heavily traveled track is usually the trail.

History: Middlemarch Canyon received its name from 19th century U.S. Army soldiers, as it was the approximate midway point on a trail connecting Fort Huachuca to Fort Bowie.

The Middlemarch Mine was discovered in Middlemarch Canyon in 1895, giving birth to a small mining camp known as Middlemarch. A post office was established on May 10, 1898 to serve the approximately 100 residents of Middlemarch. A mill was erected at the mine site by the Middlemarch Copper Company, and copper, zinc, and lead were the predominant metals produced. Further up canyon, the Cobra Loma Mine was discovered. With the mining boom waning, the camp's post office was discontinued at the end of 1919, although some mining continued until the early 1950's. The only remains at Middlemarch today are the foundations of the mill, the mine itself, and a few scattered artifacts.

5.8mi RT Hike: From the north trailhead at Cochise Stronghold Campground (mile 0.0 for this route), follow the Cochise Trail south into Stronghold Canyon. At 0.84 miles, the Cochise Trail arrives at a well signed junction with the Middlemarch Canyon Trail. Turn left and continue south along the Middlemarch Canyon Trail, which follows the sandy bottom of Stronghold Canyon.

At 1.4 miles, the trail passes through a fence and breaks into a small basin shaded by larger oaks and pinyons. A couple of hundred feet to the east, up a small side canyon, lies a large stock tank.

The Middlemarch Canyon Trail leaves the basin and the creek bottom behind, heading south towards a high saddle. Views of the Stronghold's majestic rocks improve as the trail climbs, culminating in a nice rocky viewpoint at the 2 mile mark.

At 2.25 miles, the trail reaches its highpoint at a saddle, where a gate in a barbed wire fence shows the way into Middlemarch Canyon. The green, wooded valley of Middlemarch Canyon is an attractive setting, with several lofty peaks and ridges hiding it from the Sulphur Springs Valley to the east.

The route continues south from the saddle, and descends quickly to the sandy wash of Middlemarch Canyon, by way of a short, eroded, and somewhat treacherous stretch of trail.

The trail weaves through oak woodland, always staying close to the wash, and arrives at the signed south trailhead at 2.9 miles (31.8878 N, 109.95521 W). The Middlemarch Canyon Trail ends here, becoming Forest Road 277.

One can continue south along Forest Road 277 for another 0.8 miles to the Middlemarch Mine, and former site of the Middlemarch mining camp, for a 7.4 mile round trip hike. It is also possible to continue all the way to Forest Road 345 (Middlemarch Road), which is 4.9 miles (one way) from Cochise Stronghold Campground.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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

2009-01-25 PrestonSands
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Coronado FS Details
Branching off the Middlemarch Road near the top of its climb up and over the Dragoon Mountains, this trail provides access into the remote backcountry of this history-rich mountain range. Middlemarch Pass was the half-way point on the route used by the military from the Sulphur Springs Valley to Tombstone. The trail passes through habitats that range from the upper Sonoran Desert, with its yucca and juniper, to higher elevation stands of oak and pinyon. Views are best early on along the trail where high elevation vistas encompass a portion of the sweeping Sulphur Springs Valley and the neighboring Chiricahua Mountains. Middlemarch Road and the trail of the same name were blazed into the Dragoon Mountains to provide access for mining and ranching purposes. Long before European society had brought its commercial interests to this mountain range, however, indigenous peoples such as the Chiricahua Apaches were no doubt using this route as a travelway to Cobra Loma Spring and on into the rugged canyon that came to be called Cochise Stronghold. Between the spring and the Stronghold, the trail is not well defined and can become confused with a number of cow paths that crisscross the area.
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
Middlemarch Canyon Trail #277
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I traveled to the eastern slope of the Dragoon Mountains with Severe Weather Warnings all around - via Smart Phone alerts, and even more telling - slow moving (clearly visible) fronts converging on three sides of the area as I approached the range from Middlemarch Rd. - I moved ahead with caution and began to alter my MTB plans for the afternoon. Middlemarch Road washes had been running with a torrent since I was last through the route just 19 days prior. On my way toward Middlemarch Pass from Tenneco Well the road became almost completely washed-out, with just enough width for one vehicle to squeeze through - another deluge and through access would be gone as large gnarled roots were apparent in the chasm unearthed, making the remaining passageway tenuous at best - this would be my return route after dark as well.

I arrived at the old Stamping Mill in Middlemarch Canyon above FR 345 in the early afternoon and decide to eat lunch and watch how the atmospheric play would develop, as no rain was falling in my location - yet the sky remained bruised all around. I enjoy this kind of environment very much (too much at times), and actually find it quite invigorating! But, with the ground already clearly saturated in the entire region and remarkable erosion omnipresent - I decide to first do some routing research (locate Tunnel Spring & potential future camping sites, etc.) poking about the lower regions while the main storm gathered direction, moving off the Chiricahua Mountains across Sulfur Spring Valley rumbling just out of view. My intention now was to make the hike over to Cochise Campground and back without being caught on the north-side of the Middlemarch Saddle passageway with a flash-flood downpour hampering the return on a somewhat steep already highly eroded route going south late in the day.

I set-out mid-afternoon with the sky offering no guarantee that the round-trip would be feasible just the same. The erosion nearly cut the trail as I approached Middlemarch pass from the south, and a two - three foot deep crevasse now replaced the trail with no alternate on the steeper section available. The downhill toward 'Trail 277 Spring Tank' (my reference) was worse than I had imagined as light rain was now becoming more steady. I decided to make the Tank my turnaround point as it was impossible to understand the scope of the storm behind the eastern most ridge. In steady rain I moved back up toward the saddle - fortunately none of the storm potentials about the range ever manifested in my area to amount to anything and a deep shroud of mist closed in behind my route as I returned to the ruins of the Stamping Mill where I was parked. A most excellent afternoon all-in-all! :D

TrainingPeaks: TSS@200.3 IF@.77 Avg. Heart Rate @141 bpm
Middlemarch Canyon Trail #277
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I found this trail to be just a good exercise hike with some good views from the top of the saddle, the rest of the trail was a little boring for me. After Middlemarch, I jumped on to the much more scenic Cochise trail and took it up to the first big hoo-doos and then back down to the campgrounds. Very clear sky today with some chilly breezes for most of the afternoon.
Middlemarch Canyon Trail #277
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Started out hiking the Cochise Trail, then decided to hike the Middlemarch instead. The trail was initially rather faint, but never disappeared, so I kept on. I got to the south trailhead, then decided to follow the #277 road south for aways into the Dragoons. I came to an abandoned mine, and the ruins of what appeared to have been a stamp mill. I poked around a bit, then headed north again, stopping to check out a stock tank that I had seen from the saddle. It was more of a lake rather than just a little tank. Lots of cows around there, too. It took a bit of research on the web and inquiring of the locals to find the story of Middlemarch. The Dragoons are a very cool area with an interesting history.

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Information is listed below

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 hike
NORTH TRAILHEAD: From Tucson, take I-10 east to US 191. Turn right (south) and drive approximately 17.5 miles south to Ironwood Road. Turn right on Ironwood Road and drive 9 miles to Cochise Stronghold Campground. SOUTH TRAILHEAD: From Tucson, take I-10 east to US 191. Turn right (south) and drive approximately 21 miles south to Pearce Road (signed) on the east side of the Dragoon Mountains. Turn right on Pearce Road, go straight ahead (west) through Pearce (becomes Middlemarch Road #345 at this point), and drive approximately 9.2 miles to FR 4388/FR 277 (4-wheel drive), turn right onto FR 4388/FR 277 and continue approximately 2 miles to the trailhead at:(31.8878 N, 109.95521 W).

SOUTH TRAILHEAD: From Tucson, take I-10 east to US 191. Turn right (south) and drive approximately 20 miles south to Middlemarch Road (FR 345) on the east side of the Dragoon Mountains (just north of Pearce). Turn right and drive approximately 9.4 miles to FR 4388/FR 277 (4-wheel drive), turn onto FR 4388/FR 277 and continue approximately 2 miles to the trailhead at:(31.8878 N, 109.95521 W).
page created by PrestonSands on Jan 25 2009 1:13 am
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