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Miller Peak from Crest Trail, AZ

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Guide 47 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Sierra Vista
4.1 of 5 by 20
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 9.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,575 feet
Elevation Gain 2,885 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,956 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 7 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 24.38
Interest Peak
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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15  2018-07-14 DarthStiller
8  2018-05-27
Carr Miller Pat Scott Peak Loop
10  2018-05-27
Carr Miller Pat Scott Peak Loop
81  2016-12-14
Miller Carr and Calyx
44  2016-10-02 mike85741
15  2016-07-16 Tortoise_Hiker
19  2016-03-11 The_Dude
21  2015-09-05
Crest - Miller - Bathtub
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Author brianb
author avatar Guides 9
Routes 0
Photos 164
Trips 3 map ( 0 miles )
Age 51 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → 8 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:10am - 6:17pm
Official Route
4 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
One mile from Mexico!
by brianb

Likely In-Season!
Miller Peak, at 9466 feet, is the highest point in the Huachuca mountains - just a few miles from the Mexican border. Although the scenery along the way is not as spectacular as some other hikes in southern Arizona, the view from the summit is as far as the eye can see in all directions. And being so far south, the flora takes on a slightly more Mexican flavor.

This hike isn't at the very top of my list, but it's worth doing if you've 'been there and done that' everywhere else and want something new. There are a few other trails and peaks in the Huachucas, but if you're going to make the trip down there, I'd take this one, being the highest.

Perhaps the most unique feature of this hike is its wonderful collection of huge agave and yucca plants. Many already upwards of 15-20 feet tall in their adolescence (in early June), they should be spectacular in full bloom (July or August). The lower part of the trail was buzzing with the sound of cicadas. There are also some of the most impressive stands of Aspen trees that I've yet seen in southern Arizona. And the view from the summit is impressive indeed. You can see as far in all directions as environmental conditions will allow.

From the parking lot at the end of the long, winding gravel road, head straight across the road from the entrance to the lot and pick up the trail at the trail sign. The Crest Trail begins from a rather scenic saddle on the south side of the range and proceeds through dry, grassy slopes punctuated with the biggest yucca and agave plants I've ever seen. Then you emerge on the other side of the mountain, almost in the blink of an eye, under a canopy of pine trees. The reddish gravel trail (which is well defined and easy to follow) proceeds steadily up along the upper sides of the valleys towards Miller Peak, offering many nice views along the way. You'll wind your way amongst cacti, oak, pine and aspens around the north side of the mountain and up towards the summit. There is only one real intersection to watch for - 1/2 mile from Miller peak the trail splits off to your left (marked with plenty of signs) - follow the trail to the right up the last 1/2 mile to the summit. Enjoy the view and look around for the large clusters of ladybugs that frequent the summit.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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

2001-06-06 brianb
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Coronado National Memorial NPS Details
The trailhead is across the road at the northeast end of the Montezuma Pass parking area. The trail climbs for 2 miles to the northwestern boundary of the Memorial. There it enters Coronado National Forest and continues along the crest of the Huachuca Mountains to the turnoff for Miller Peak, the highest peak in the Huachucas.
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 of 14 deeper Triplog Reviews
Miller Peak from Crest Trail
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Carr Miller Pat Scott Peak Loop
the huachucas have been calling my name and i wanted to get down there before any potential forest closures. i figured there was a good chance of luring the Good Count Tacula down south too!

picture perfect day in every way. we banged out a big high country ramble. the carr/miller combo is always amongst my favorite sky island experiences. we solved the pat scott peak issue by just doing them both :lol: . the trip down pat scott canyon was an unexpected wonderland of shade, big trees and even some water and flowers.

perfect day up there. thanks for coming down JJ :y:
Miller Peak from Crest Trail
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Sky Islands Summit Challenge
This was a hiking event organized by the City of Sierra Vista. Participants in this event had 3 options: hike to Carr Peak only; hike to Miller Peak and Carr Peak; or hike to Pat Scott Peak, Carr Peak, and Miller Peak. Miller Peak(9,466'), Carr Peak(9,220'), and Pat Scott Peak(8,700') are the 1st, 2nd, and 4th highest peaks, respectively, in the Huachuca Mountains. I naturally opted to hike to all 3 peaks.

This was a neat event, and at 19.6 miles and an AEG of 5,800', the hike was a buttkicker, at least for me. The hike started at the Ramsey Canyon Conservancy; went up the Hamburg Trail; then to the Pat Scott Canyon Trail; then off-trail to the summit of Pat Scott Peak; then on the Crest Trail to the Carr Peak trail to the Carr Peak spur trail which went to the summit of Carr Peak; then back to the Crest Trail to Bathtub Spring, and the route continued on the Crest Trail to the Miller Peak spur trail which went to the summit of Miller Peak; then back to Bathtub Spring, from which we went down the Miller Canyon Trail to the Miller Canyon TH, which completed the hike.

There were nice 360 degree views from the top of each of the 3 peaks.
Miller Peak from Crest Trail
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We spent the night in a hotel is Sierra Vista and took our time in the morning. I thought we had a relatively easy hike to Miller Peak. We made the drive to Montezuma Pass and started hiking around 9:40am. It was a lot hotter than I anticipated. The heat was going to make for a tough hike.

The Crest Trail is in great condition but makes a hardy ascent over the first two miles. We made a steady pace as the sun beat down on us. After an hour we reached the Miller Peak Wilderness and started the traverse through the burn section. This area has no shade whatsoever. The good thing is the grade lets off a bit and our pace quickened. After another mile or so we entered a shaded forest and this was a welcome sight. It was much cooler and the shade went a long way. It seemed like Miller Peak was miles away but the last mile flew by and we topped out around 12:15pm.

Once up top we took a long break on Miller Peak. The views are epic and you can see for at least 50 miles in all directions. I’ve heard some reports say you can see up to 100 miles on a clear day. I would believe it. We took our lunch and took a variety of pics. We had the summit to ourselves which was a treat. Once we had our fill we started our descent. Going down was much easier. On the way we saw two people that hiked up the Lutz Canyon Trail. They were taking a break drinking a beer. From there we headed down and hit cruise control. Claire ran out of water with two plus miles to go. I still had plenty so I shared with her. We continued on and caught up to a family of four near the trailhead. We saw a total of six people on this hike. We arrived back to the jeep around 2:30pm and had to hydrate. I wish I carried another liter on this hike. Luckily it wasn’t a big deal.

This is just an okay hike. Most of the hike is kind of boring. The top mile through forest is the best part & the views from Miller make it all worthwhile. I recommend starting early to beat the heat and carry more water than you think you’ll need.
Miller Peak from Crest Trail
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I believe the peak here was the highest elevation I've ever hiked to, but certainly not the highest in terms of elevation GAIN. This is one of the highest peaks in Southern Arizona, actually slightly higher than Mt Wrightson, but it's quite a bit easier. At a distance of roughly 10 miles, and 3,000 feet of elevation gain, it's almost exactly the same distance as Mt Wrightson but 1,000 feet less in elevation gain. It was possible to see the border fence (just over 1 mile away from the trailhead) from a good portion of this hike. We walked through fields filled with MILLIONS of yellow flowers and saw areas with a lot of burned trees, possibly due to a lightning strike. The trail was pretty clear the entire way to the peak. There were dark clouds above us at the peak and it started pouring rain right as we were 10 feet from the parking lot !! Luckily we were able to get shelter at the parking area while we waited for our driver (AKA "abandoned" hiker) to return 20 minutes later!
Miller Peak from Crest Trail
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I had to speak at a Horticulture conference on Thursday in Sierra Vista, so after I finished up some work remotely on Friday it was time for a hike. I made my way down to the Montezuma Pass TH and chatted with a few BP agents before starting off. I got started a bit after 10 a.m., weather was fantastic. Warm with a slight breeze, but not too windy as I had feared. This trail really kicked my :pk: . I am not sure if it was the elevation or me getting over the tail end of a sinus cold, but one way or the other I needed a few breaks on the way up. The trail is in great shape the whole way, and I did not see any trailside trash for the whole hike, so that was great. This was almost a tale of two hikes, the first two miles or so take you through some Oak and Sotol grasslands, but once you turn to the west you come into the former pine forest. There is extensive fire damage through this section on up to the peak. There are many Scrub Oaks helping in the recovery effort, but the pines are going to take a really long time to come back. I started coming across a few patches of snow on the north facing trails, certainly nothing crazy but just enough to make it fun. There was even some fresh snow on the peak spur that I got to put some virgin footprints into, very cool. I took a nice break up top for a sandwich and some Gatorade, then on back down the trail. I signed in at the summit log, even left a pen and what paper I had since it was pretty lightly stocked. I was keeping a good pace on the way back, knowing I had almost 4 hours of driving to get me home. I ran into 1 thru hiker, and 3 other day hikers on the trail so i got a good dose of solitude as well. Great views from the top! I got a different perspective on a number of mountains I am used to seeing from the north, and there is a good view into Mexico as well of course. Well worth doing again the next time I am down this way.
Miller Peak from Crest Trail
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Crest - Miller - Bathtub
JJ and I had plans that overlapped, so we met up at Montezuma Pass at about 7 for a Huachuca Saturday. I was just going to do the 10 mile Miller Peak out-n-back while JJ had some kind of crazy plan in mind for himself.

So much for my pleasant hike! JJ had me going at an uphill pace that is a little out of my comfort range. Somewhere along the line he asked me what my plans were for the rest of the day. That was a reasonable question since it was now obvious I would be done around noon. :o

We parted ways at the Miller Peak turnoff. I quickly headed up to the summit and after some consideration decided to continue on the crest rather than heading back down right away. I proceeded past Bathtub spring and up to the Carr trail junction before turning back. On the return, I headed down Miller Peak trail a short distance to investigate some running water I had heard. Sure enough, a beautiful running creek with cascades and small pools presented itself just a couple hundred yards below the Crest Trail junction.

I returned the way I came, enjoying all the flowers, and spectacular clouds all over the mountain. There was a sign for Miller Spring, but I didn't feel like looking for it, despite not being on the map. I turned the old sign at Trail 112 and Bond Spring since it was pointing uphill rather than the correct west/downhill direction. Hopefully that hasn't previously caused problems for anybody!

Though the descent is easier than climbing, the mileage got to me a bit and I was pretty tired when I got to the TH. I left a note for JJ and headed for Mexico. Sure enough he was only about 15 minutes behind me when I got to the border despite his extra mileage!

Thanks for the company and for making me run up the hill at breakneck speed. ;)

Great color all over the mountain!
Miller Peak from Crest Trail
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Carr-Miller Combo
you all know that i love to hike, right? and you guys know that i love flowers, right? well, this hike took the cake. i have to say that this day ranks right up there with the best day EVER on the trails.

we were staying at ramsey vista campground in the huachuca mountains for our mutual friend's (teambarstool's) birthday camp out, so we were able to get an early start at our 12-mile journey.

originally i suggested just doing carr peak, then southpawaz (bobby) suggested just doing miller, then i suggested both when i figured out just how close i was to having my personal best month EVER in both mileage and AEG (i just needed 8.2 miles to beat my sept. 2010 record and 2843 AEG to beat my august 2010 record). bobby agreed and we had a plan.

little did i know just how wonderful this hike would be. i knew there would be ups and downs both ways, but i knew the crest trail is fairly even - but i knew there would be a little pull up to carr and the pull up to miller. i do need to mention, at this point, that the majority of the trail we were at least waist high in pretty yellow flowers. :budrose:

other things to note on this hike: on the way up, between carr and miller on the crest trail, we ran into a border patrol agent hauling out a few marijuana plants, or at least that's what i think they were since i've never actually seen one. :A1: we texted our friends down at the campground who said there was law enforcement :gun: waiting for the guy at the trailhead. also on the way back from miller peak, when we were just about at bathtub springs, i noticed a bear, who immediately skedaddled without so much as one pose for the camera. [-X this was my first time running into either border patrol or a bear on the trail - so very exciting!

i had a great time on my journey, with a grin ear-to-ear for most of it as we hiked through the flowers. :GB: it was a great day, with great company. many thanks to bobby for coming along!

i have a 360 video from miller peak here:
Miller Peak from Crest Trail
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The other guys pretty much said it all. So cool hiking down to the Mexico border and seeing the vast green valley out there. The elevation climb on this one is definitely a workout, with a 3,000 ft climb in 6 miles without a letup. In places in the wilderness the aspens...the wildflowers too...were just spectacular. Storms threatened all day, but I was very thankful that they held off during our entire trip, until we were on our way home. As for wildlife, saw a whitetail briefly but that was about it.
Miller Peak from Crest Trail
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Long, Long, Long day... Up at 12:15 am home at 10:30 pm...but way worth it!

After dropping off Denny's car at the North TH, we made our way on the road to the South TH at Montezuma's Pass and the Mexican Border.
Wondering while driving Nick's 4x4 truck if Denny's fwd Focus would be able to make the 5 or so creek crossings. With a little luck, no rain, and 4 people to pick it up if it got stuck.... we waited until later on this portion of the trip.... Heck, that was 10 plus hours in the future and we had some hiking to do.

Border Patrol was prevalent on the road and especially at Montezuma's Pass.

We suited up and made our way down to the border for some border crossing shots (Camera). We were barely able to slip through the 3' gaping hole in the fence, but we did.
quickly taking pictures on the Mexican side, we scurried back up the hill beginning our AZT #1 Hike.

I'm really loving these sky Islands. Starting in lowers desert flora and making your way all the way to Aspens and water a-plenty. I enjoyed all the green, rivers, waterfalls, and fields of flowers. The river we had to cross 40 or so times became a little tiring after awhile.

GREAT hike with a great group of misfits!
(Remember the Christmas cartoon special "The Island of Misfit Toys"? Joe reminds me of that little dentist wanna-be dude)

Denny - Great AmphiFocus memories, I wish we had video of that!
Nick - forgive me for the fingernail marks in the Grab Strap and Dashboard
Dave - Say something special to the man for us (Especially Joe)
Joe - Can we go one trip without you diving in front of the Camera?

6 Passages, 118+ miles down.
Miller Peak from Crest Trail
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Met up with Bruce, Denny, Dave and Joe to take on the first segment of the Arizona Trail. After setting up the shuttle, we took off to the border and back, then "suited" up for the hike into the mountains. This beginning part of the Miller Crest Trail is much nicer than I remember, must be the time of year. Everything was as green as could be today and not long after hitting the crest the clouds rolled in and kept us cool the rest of the day. The Crest trail was the cleanest I've ever seen it. The flowers were spectacular, and true to Huachuca form, nearly overwhelming at times. Great trees and water EVERYWHERE only added to the awesomeness. The stretch of trail between miller peak and sunnyside canyon is as sweet as anything in southern arizona.

I knew this hike would rock, having done a little more than half of it already, but WOW. seriously.

Thanks guys, as always it was a blast.

and for the record, bob, i want you to know joe takes his job of being mean when you're not around very seriously. :oplz:

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 Montezuma Pass Trailhead
Take I-10 east to highway 90 near Benson, AZ. Take 90 south to Sierra Vista (watch your speed on 90 and 92 - lots of speed traps...) Then take highway 92 south to Montezuma Canyon Rd. (just after you descend from the mountains to the west) at the sign for Coronado Nat'l Monument (watch carefully for the sign - the road is easy to miss). Take a right on Montezuma Canyon Rd. and follow it into the park. Keep driving past the end of the pavement and follow the winding, gravel road all the way to the top. Park in the paved lot at the top of the saddle - the trailhead is just across the road from the entrance to the parking lot.

2008-04-05 Update from cleoschyck: From highway 92, the road you will need to take is Coronado Memorial Drive-- take a right just about opposite Valley View Elementary School. A mile or so down Coronado Memorial Drive, the road hooks sharply right. This is the intersection with Montezuma Canyon Road, which you will follow to the paved parking lot at Montezuma Pass. A ramada and composting toilets are available at the parking lot.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 209 mi, 3 hours 39 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 100.0 mi, 1 hour 59 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 353 mi, 5 hours 58 mins
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