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Sierra La Mariquita, SO
mini location map2017-03-18
20 by photographer avatarJuanJaimeiii
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Sierra La Mariquita, SO 
Sierra La Mariquita, SO
 
Hiking avatar Mar 18 2017
JuanJaimeiii
Hiking9.50 Miles 2,379 AEG
Hiking9.50 Miles   3 Hrs   50 Mns   2.57 mph
2,379 ft AEG      8 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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johnlp
If you stand at the US/Mexico Border on the Arizona Trail section 1 and look straight south you will see a small town in the distance and a large Mountain with an observatory on it. This town is Cananea (a Copper Mining Town) and the Mountain range is the Sierra La Mariquitas. Sitting up top is the Guillermo Haro Observatory which can easily be seen from the Huachucas, Mt. Wrightson and Mt. Hopkins as well as from AZT 1.

A few years back this caught my eye and I considered doing an extended AZT hike by going thru the fence and walking to Cananea. The plan was to spend the night there and then return the next day. A couple people talked me out of that for safety reasons however I still believe it could be done without incident. Anyway I switched gears and started thinking of making a road trip down there and then hiking the road up to the observatory. I could see on Route Manager that there weren't hiking trails so the road would have to suffice.

Finally the day came for this journey and JohnLP armed with his new Passport joined me for the excursion. He took a half day at work on Friday and we left town a little after 2pm. We went through Bisbee and then crossed the border at Naco. We stopped there and got our Tourist Visas which are good for 180 days. From there it was an easy drive down to Cananea. Once in town we started hunting for a restaurant I had read great reviews about. It's called LaTerraza and it was a bit of effort to find. Not for any other reason than they just moved a month ago and our directions weren't current. Eventually with the help of some locals we found it. I must say it was worth the extra effort of hunting it down. Awesome place with great food and we had exceptional service. Afterwards it was time to hit the hay at The City Express Hotel.

Today we drove down Highway 2 and found the start spot for the hike without issue. This mountain range was voluntarily closed in 2015 to many things including hunting to protect and preserve the ecosystem. They still do things at the observatory but I believe it is very limited. We had to jump a gate to continue up the stone road and I am not 100% sure public access is okay? We made the journey up without issue and were even passed three times by Observatory employees in cars going up. Nobody ever said a word to us. The road is made of stone and cement and made for a nice walk with a steady grade. In all it is just over 2000 of gain to the top. Up top the views were fantastic! The mine down below, other mountain ranges in Mexico and of course the Huachuca's and the Santa Ritas.

It was cool to look out and see the Aerostat Balloon that floats above Sierra Vista and to see the observatory on Mt. Hopkins off in the distance.

Afterwards we just hiked back down and then headed for Nogales and eventually home. I think I want to go back and hike the mountain straight south of this one next time. Cananea was a great little town and this was a cool way to do a hike and have a short little get-away at the same time.
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