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The Best Hikes in Miller Peak Wilderness

775 Triplog Reviews in the Miller Peak Wilderness
Most recent of 184 deeper Triplog Reviews
3.1 mi • 657 ft aeg
Decided to hit up an area I had not hiked in before so I got up before the sun and made the drive down to the Miller Wilderness in the Huachuca Mountains. Headed up Carr Canyon, parked at the Ramsey Vista Campground and started off. The hike starts off at 7,300 feet and is initially a bit rocky and has more manzanita then pine trees (due to a fire years ago), but the scene changes to a pine forest as you descend. Came to the first creek crossing which had a nice cold flow and started up the small ridge. As I started up, the trail runs next to a small wash and the entire area was covered in grass including a good portion of the trail. About half way up I heard a really fast and pissed off rattle. I stopped, looked down and saw the rattlesnake not more then a foot away from me just off trail in the grass and my fist instinct was to run uphill. Fortunately it was feeling sympathetic as it did not strike me even with me only being a foot away. I continued about a half mile up to the top of the ridge, still thinking about my close encounter and decided at that point that I was done and started back. With all of the grass and the warm, humid weather I did not want to chance getting close to a rattler and I was too paranoid to continue. I felt blessed to not get bit the first time and did not want to take any more chances. Did not get enough time in this wilderness, definitely want to spend more time there once the snakes go bye bye.
5.7 mi • 2,185 ft aeg
I checked out HAZ before heading on this trail and was surprised at a lack of recent trail reports - so here's mine!

It was 4th of July weekend and though the monsoons had been teasing us for weeks, we were still high and dry in downtown Tucson, so we decided to go chasing some storms in the place of thunder. We weren't disappointed! We encountered thunder and rain each afternoon, and every creek in the area was happily flowing.

To get a break from sitting in camp and dissing the city life (truly one of my favorite pastimes), I took a walk up to check out access to the AZT via Bear Canyon. I saw only one other group hiking - a father and son who seemed to think my goal of reaching the top was a bit ambitious. I encountered several piles of debris left by immigrants - it all looked as though it was less than a week old and probably from the same group. I carried out what I could - but only downhill. I spend enough time lugging heavy tools up trails, I was going to make this easy on myself!

There wasn't any big story or highlight to the trip. I walked over the carpet of oak leaves, almost always in the shade. I enjoyed the solitude, the birds and the deafening call of the cicadas. When I reached Bear Saddle, my plan was to head northbound on the AZT for a few miles and make a bigger trip out of it - but the namesake rumble of thunder warned me off. Once I could ignore, twice even - but when it rumbles consistently through your whole lunch break, it's time to head back down hill.

Road was in very good shape - totally passable to most passenger cars. There was one tricky bit near the turnoff from Montezuma Canyon Rd, but if you're careful you can do it. Trail was clear of deadfall (almost) and pretty easy to follow. In a few spots infrequent use and a heavy carpet of leaves made it a little slippery - but patience and a good eye will win out. The steam was not flowing at the base near the trailhead, but was turned on up higher for long stretches. The deep pools near Charlene Well were particularly tempting had it not been chasing me down with threats of rain.

I was back to camp by 2pm, just ahead of a much larger storm. We were set up one-canyon-over, so we only got the edges of it, but I'm sure that my footprints were washed away at the base of the Huachuca Mountains that afternoon!
6.4 mi • 2,024 ft aeg
we always like to head south for holiday weekends so we don't have traffic woes going or coming back. we even got my lucky spot #13 in a campground that was about half full. on our way there, i was checking out various websites and noticed that the sierra vista sky island summit challenge was on saturday, but i also saw the route they were taking would only intersect mine on the spur up to the peak, so i decided saturday would be my day for the hike.

on the way up, i started noticing those tent caterpillars, then i noticed the larva sacks in the aspens. that stretch through the aspens is usually my favorite, but those tents made it creepy. i thought they were killing the aspens until i got back to camp and googled it. apparently the cycle is a year - the aspen leaves will be back next year. this year though... ew.

the disgust continued after the aspens when i came upon some migrant trash. i have seen that on miller before, but this was a first for me on carr. there were at least eight backpacks, dirty clothing, empty water bottles, and empty green chile cans. this was a dump spot for sure.

onward and upward, when i started up the carr peak spur, i said hello to many of the summit challenge people, and most didn't even make eye contact, let alone say hello. that was a hard hike though, and they still had miles to go. it was kind of cool to get the cowbell treatment at the peak, and the volunteers cheered me on, even though i didn't have a number to log for their challenge. i ran into one person i recognized from instagram and folks at the top were more talkative to be sure.

on the way down, there was a volunteer that was suffering from dehydration. her husband was on the phone with the EMTs and they were figuring out what to do. she had plenty of water, but apparently wasn't able to keep it down. they assured me that they were getting the help they needed, and i made my way down the rest of the way.

oh! apple watch stats: time: 3:02:13, distance: 6.03 miles, active calories: 855, total calories: 1,133, elevation gain: 1,961, avg. heart rate: 130 bpm, average pace: 30'12"/mile, weather: 73 degrees, humidity 6 percent (and super windy).

Wildflowers
does new mexican locust count? lots of that blooming in the lower section.
11.7 mi • 4,105 ft aeg
Signed up for the single Peak Challenge again this year, same as last year. Hiked up to the saddle with minimal rest stops. Made pretty good time, but my legs were feeling it. Took an early lunch break at the saddle before continuing the rest of the way, and that helped. It was quite windy at the saddle, and it got windier and windier the close we got to Carr Peak. I had to tighten up the chin strap on my hat to keep from losing it. But sorrow on the peak it wasn't windy at all. Just a pleasant light breeze. But wind was cranking as soon as we started down off the peak.

That 4 mile descent down Miller Canyon is a real bitch. Steep, rocky, and it seems to go on forever. I felt much better than last year when I had to stop many times on the way down just to make it. It also helped that I knew the trail which better prepared me mentally. But my knees were feeling it by the time I got to the bottom.

All in all a great day in the Huachuca Mountains. A very well organized event by the city of Sierra Vista. I will do it again next year for sure!
16.2 mi • 6,750 ft aeg
Miller Canyon --> Crest --> Pat Scott --> Hamburg --> Crest --> Miller Canyon

Was the first car in the parking lot at 5:50, started hiking at 6am. At the Crest Trail by 8, where I startled ~8 deer not too far from Bathtub Spring. The last time I had hiked this stretch of the Crest Trail was a decade ago when I did the AZT, so I remembered the descent on the west side, but after that my memory was a blank. The stretch from the descent to Bear Saddle was a very pleasant surprise.

From Bear Saddle to Pat Scott was another pleasant surprise. Lovely tree cover and many great views to the west. I had some kind of game bird explode into flight nearly under my feet at one point. Too big to be a quail, but I don't think there are grouse in the Huachucas, so I don't know what it was.

Just before Pat Scott I passed 3 deer within 20 feet of the trail who couldn't have cared less about my presence. Even when I stopped to take a picture, they just continued eating while occasionally looking at me.

Pat Scott sees way less use than the Crest based on the trail condition. I knew the approximate distance of the loop I was doing, but I hadn't looked too closely at the elevation changes. Once I realized how much Pat Scott was dropping, I could tell Hamburg was going to be a fun climb. Sure enough, that's a steep one.

I had lunch at Bear Saddle. Windy with strong gusts, but just the right temperature in the sun. Some ravens showed up to play in the wind gusts doing barrel rolls and flips. I appreciate them giving me a show during my lunch.

Back up at the Crest, I stopped for a water break and noticed that someone had left an Evernew 2.0L bottle at the campsite where Carr & Crest split. It was very new, so I left it there in case they noticed later that day and came back, but that was probably quite the bummer for an AZT thru-hiker.

I thought about doing Carr Peak, but my legs had decided they had had enough AEG for the day. Next time.

As I started down Miller Canyon, I saw 4 people coming down the Crest trail from Miller. Those were the only people I saw all day. I have no idea how so few people were out hiking in the Huachucas on a Saturday with such perfect weather, but it worked out great for me.
11.83 mi • 4,630 ft aeg
My first time going up Miller Canyon trail. Quite the steep one. The gentle gain on the Crest Trail was a relief in comparison. Sunny and warm, but still a decent amount of ice/mud in the Crest Trail in places (which I'm sure was doubled by the storm a few days later).

I met a trio of women who were hiking the AZT (or at least a big chunk). One went up Miller Peak while the other two kept going. I know some people hike that way, but I've always found it odd to separate by big distances during the day. And the two who didn't head up to the peak missed out.
16.65 mi • 5,640 ft aeg
Starting at Montezuma Pass TH, going along the Crest Trail to Miller Peak, then along the Crest again to Carr Peak, and then all the way back to Montezuma Pass.

My first hike as a resident of the county. At the first overlook (not even .5 mi from the TH), a startled coati bolted through the tall grass into the nearby rocks. An auspicious start to living/hiking here.

Didn't see anyone else until I was on Miller Peak--two guys were on the far end of the southwest ridge that stretches away from the peak. Looked like hunters doing spotting prep work.

I hadn't been along the Crest from Miller to Bathtub Spring since I did the AZT a decade ago. Absolutely wonderful. The pine forests on the top of the sky islands really are God's country.

While I enjoy the "more open + tall grass + occasional pines" scenery that dominates after Bathtub Spring, it makes for much hotter hiking. The climb to Carr Peak was toasty.

On the way out, as I descended from the big juniper that's 2 miles from the TH, I kept hearing voices, so I assumed I would catch some hikers in front of me. I never caught them, but I kept hearing them. When I started looking hard, I realized there were 4 people doing a bushwhack straight down from the big juniper (where the Crest trail curves to the west of the canyon). They were maybe .5 mile down, and had quite a way to go through steep, rough country to reach the road at the bottom of the canyon. I hope they made it.
10.37 mi • 3,066 ft aeg
Mike and I got a late start but still managed to get this hike done while hanging out in Bisbee. Wonderful views and the trail is in great condition and effortless to follow. Certainly a good amount of gain and so many "drop-offy" areas to pay attention to. Mike is in recovery mode from a freak bike crash the day while we were biking in Rincon Valley before that left him impaled on a barrel cactus and pinned in an ocitillo but you would not have known by watching him climb this mountain! The needles in his leg will eventually pop out! Great hike but freezing at the top! Glad we did it!
16.08 mi • 4,897 ft aeg
Lutz Miller Carr
Met up with Chumley, JJ & Carrie for a fun hike in the Huachucas. Chumley, JJ & myself met in Chandler and made the drive down and picked up Carrie in Tucson. From there we made the drive to the Lutz Canyon TH and started hiking around mid-morning.

The Lutz Canyon Trail makes a steady and solid climb as it heads for the crest trail. It was a relatively cool day for mid June after some rain fell the previous day. Along the climb up we stopped to explore a mine shaft that was littered with garbage left by migrants. From there we grinded up the final mile to the Crest Trail where we took a short break. After that we continued on and topped out on Miller Peak. We took a short lunch break here and enjoyed the views.

After Miller we continued north along the Crest Trail and took another short break by Bathtub Spring. We debated our options and decided to head for Carr Peak and I'm glad we did. The short detour took about an hour and this is another quality peak with excellent views! After Carr, we returned to Bathtub Spring and headed down Miller Canyon. The top part of this trail had some downed trees but it didn't last for long. Overall, this trail is in good condition. We eventually connected onto the Hunter Trail and were soon back on road. Once we hit the road, Chumley called an Uber. It took a few minutes to arrive but was well worth the wait. Chumley retrieved JJ's jeep and then played roundup. After that it was back to Tucson for dinner and then back to Phoenix.

This was a really great hike with a fun group! I really enjoy the Huachucas and hope to make an annual return. It's a hearty drive from Phoenix but well worth the time. Thanks JJ for driving and thanks Chumley for organizing!

16.08 mi • 4,897 ft aeg
Lutz Miller Carr
My first time in the Huahucas and this range exceeded my expectations! JJ, John, and Chumley picked me up in Tucson at 7:20 and we were on the trail at 9:02. The first ~4 miles up to the crest were a solid workout, especially with JJ setting the pace. Chloe, for one, was happy to reach the Crest Trail and be rewarded with lots of shade and a cool breeze. I was really impressed by the views from Miller Peak (I think I might actually prefer this peak to Wrightson! :o ). The next few miles between Miller and Carr were my favorite of the day: aspen grove, Bathtub Spring, big views of Miller and Carr along the crest, and even some early wildflowers. We didn't hang out on the top of Carr for long, as we still had ~9-10 miles to go. The hike down Miller Canyon and Hunter Canyon was pleasant and quick, except for the last mile or so when Chloe started feeling the heat and needed to take a few shade breaks.

Big thanks to @JuanJaimeiii for driving and @chumley for planning the route and saving us a couple miles of hot road walking! And thanks to y'all for introducing me to an awesome new spot so close to Tucson. I'll definitely be planning a return trip to see those wildflowers!
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