A beginning an end but no middle
This trail is a seldom used trail that heads up Lyle Canyon to the crest and then on to Huachuca Peak. There is no direct access to this trail. The Trailhead is midway along the Lyle Canyon Trail which can be accessed from the north at the end of Brushy Canyon Road, or from the south in Scotia Canyon or Lyle Canyon on Lyle Canyon Road using the Lyle Creek Route. This trail follows Lyle Creek to just below the crest then climbs steeply up to the crest. The exact trail for the last half mile to the crest is still a mystery. The trail from the crest to Huachuca Peak is well defined and in good shape.
Lyle canyon is quite impressive; sites include a trough at Lower Lyle Spring, a 30 foot waterfall, and a 20 to 30 year old crash site of a drone. There are no views obviously from the canyon section of this trail with the exception of a few upward views but on the Huachuca Peak Trail above the Crest Trail #103 that changes, with views to the south of Miller Peak and to the west toward Sierra Vista. If you are looking for a peak hike with great views that isn’t on the well beaten path this is it. The Peak itself is on the Fort Huachuca Base but no special passes are needed when entering from the west. It appears they are only needed if driving on base. I checked this with the Huachuca Mountain Forest Service site. As a note though I do not know how this applies to trails that are entirely on the Huachuca Base.
This trail starts at the signed intersection with the Lyle Canyon Trail. Wasn’t sure if this trail still existed and it starts out kind of faint so my hopes weren’t that high. Once in a bit I found the trail was there even though a bit faint in parts. In the places where it kind of vanishes just think “if I were a Trail where would I go.” And soon you’ll be back on track. This is a really nice riparian canyon with large oak and juniper, fairly wide for the first 0.5 miles. The trail stays close to the center of the canyon. Lyle Spring and Trough are 0.5 miles in and shortly after that the canyon narrows a bit. A rock cairn marks the spot where the trail leaves the canyon and climbs the south slope a bit to avoid an obstruction, what I am calling Lyle Canyon Falls, a 30 foot water fall. Not running when I was there. Just past the falls the trail reenters the creek bed and at this point it had a slight flow, maybe more of a boggy area. The trail continues along the creek bed in a canyon that is narrower than before but not constricting. At 1.5 miles look for a rock cairn that indicates once again the trail exits south and does a couple of switch backs to gain a little elevation above a more narrow canyon. Watch for the turns in the switchbacks they can be easy to miss. At 2 mile the trail reenters the creek bed in a now wider canyon. Follow the creek up, at 2.2 miles a canyon enters from the northeast with a trail that goes up that canyon, ignore it, this trail peters out a little ways up. It looks like at this creek junction at one time there was a lot of illegal activity here, the trash in Spanish looks like it was probably a couple years old. Follow the faint trail to the canyon to the right. At 2.3 miles is the wreck of a drone, probably 20 to 30 years old. I knew this was our junk because it wasn’t in Spanish.
From here to the crest trail, I lose the trail. I posted my route. The route I took was from a topo map that showed the trail heading south along an old 2 track that heads up to the saddle between Peterson and Lyle Peaks, where the Peterson Trail ends. I never found any indication of a trail or the old 2 track so I eventually just headed uphill to the crest trail. I did find the remains of an old log cabin while scrambling around on the side of the hill. If there was an old road here there were no signs of it. As an after note; on my return trip down the crest and Peterson Trail I did see at the saddle between Lyle and Peterson Peak more illegal trash (again old) and a path heading down what appears to be an old road. Interesting but I did not investigate it further.
Now onto the more probable route. Other maps indicate that the Huachuca Peak trail heads up to the crest trail and joins it where the Huachuca Trail heads to the peak. This is the more likely route. This would mean the trail leaves the canyon somewhere above the drone wreck and heads up the north slope of Lyle Creek. On my return down the crest trail I saw what appears to be a trail or route doing just that. Anyone doing this trail I would recommend trying that. The advantage of heading up this route is that it is 120 feet lower than the saddle between Lyle and Peterson.
Back on the known part of the Huachuca Peak Trail, Crest Trail to the Peak. From here the trail is easy to follow and well behaved. At this point you pass through a gate that marks the boundary of Fort Huachuca. Still have a 1000 feet to climb and 1.6 miles to do it in. At 0.4 miles in is Pine Park, a very pleasant area with pine trees. There is a little bit of climbing, 100 feet then a little bit of flat walking in Pine Park, a good place to take a lunch break. Just past Pine Park is a helicopter pad and the junction with the McClure Canyon Trail that comes up from the south within Fort Huachuca. From Here the trail does a continuous climb to the Huachuca Peak ridge where the trail crosses over and approaches the peak from the east. At the ridge below the peak the Rock Creek Trail enters. This is another trail that comes up from the east from within Fort Huachuca base.
On the peak there are great views in all direction, the most spectacular is the view south of Miller Peak. The base of an old lookout tower still stands on the summit. When I was up there the crows gave me a spectacular air show and from what I read in the log book I wasn’t special they do this for a lot of the visitors. If it is windy at all take your lunch down in Pine Park it is more protected from the wind.
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.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
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