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Miller Peak via Lutz Canyon Trail, AZ
mini location map2014-09-05
7 by photographer avatarBenTelly
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Miller Peak via Lutz Canyon Trail, AZ 
Miller Peak via Lutz Canyon Trail, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 05 2014
Hiking4.40 Miles 3,600 AEG
Hiking4.40 Miles
3,600 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I can only imagine what Lutz Canyon looked like before the Monument Fire of 2011. But I do not pine for the past (not this time at least) and I enjoyed trekking through this recovering oak forest. However, the highlights of the hike were to happen once Lutz connected with the Crest Trail, where late summer flowers were in FULL bloom under monsoon clouds.

I'm relatively new to the area and have thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Huachucas, especially on trails that start low and climb and climb and climb. I decided to take the Ash Canyon/Lutz Canyon approach to Miller Peak as I am soon taking on sections 1 - 4 of the AZT and wanted to save the Crest Trail for that occasion. While I enjoyed the Lutz Canyon ascent one who had a deep interest in mining history might enjoy it even more. It's not really my thing but the large iron engine and compressor about 1.5 miles from the trailhead were interesting, if nothing more then a reminder of the scale of these mining operations and how fleeting the "boom" was in this area.

Black Bear Mine, near the top of the switchbacks, has an unwelcoming air about it that I can't quite explain. I quickly scuttled past the opening, pausing only to acknowledge the graffiti (Caracoles DF Joker) and the tremendous amount of discarded water bottles, clothing, plastic bags, and other detritus. No doubt a popular stop over for migrants. The section of the trail just past Black Bear Mine is a bit washed out. The tailings are eroding quickly and the trail just about disappears in the gully but is visible once you're on the other side.

The view from the Crest Trail looking east back down Lutz and Ash is fantastic, with Sierra San Jose framed on the horizon. I spent some time at the junction and then headed north on the Crest Trail, languidly making my way through the pines. At the junction of the Miller Peak trail, and along the trail to the summit, the hillsides were covered in yellow flowers (Western sneezeweed - perhaps). I enjoyed the contrast between the burn area and the yellow flowers.

Views from the summit were incredible, as one would expect, punctuated by growing thunderstorms in the distance. As others have mentioned, late August and early September are the best times to explore these higher elevations of the Huachucas. Magical.

Mining Equipment
Named place
Named place
Lutz Canyon Miller Peak
HAZ Member
11 Photosets

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