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Cochise Peak - 3 members in 5 triplogs have rated this an average 3 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Feb 22 2018

 Guides 100
 Routes 63
 Photos 2,548
 Triplogs 184

73 male
 Joined Nov 21 2015
 Grand Junction,
Cochise PeakTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 22 2018
Steph_and_BlakeTriplogs 184
Hiking2.00 Miles
Hiking2.00 Miles   1 Hour      2.00 mph
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After a 40-minute drive along Forest Road 345A, we got out of the FJ at the Sorin Camp with a semi-commitment to hike up to Cochise Peak. From the well, we followed a jeep road south up to a ridge line. We heard another vehicle coming up behind us and we paused to let it pass. The gentleman stopped to chat and said that he was going to explore a mine and “see what he could see”. He drove on and we looked up and north at Coshise Peak. We searched around for a trail (for all of about two minutes) and, with sore quads from the previous day’s hike, easily decided we’d rather see a mine and “whatever there was to see”. We continued on the jeep road along the ridge line, headed south, with Cochise Peak glaring at our traitorous backs. Not much further along, the jeep road vanished and we found a trail of sorts to follow along a fence line. Shortly later the gentleman came back headed our way. He wished us well and said he’d return when he had his son to accompany him. The trail, which by now we figured to be a cow path, followed the ridge line due south. After consulting our map we realized that there wasn’t a mine in the easily accessible area, just a prospect. With the winds picking up and the temperature dropping, we called it a day and made a u-turn. Oh, I forgot to mention that the views of the Chiracahuas and other mountain ranges were stellar.
Stephanie and Blake Barnard
Apr 30 2017

 Guides 28
 Routes 199
 Photos 7,422
 Triplogs 186

41 female
 Joined Nov 07 2015
China Peak & Cochise Peak, AZ 
China Peak & Cochise Peak, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 30 2017
AZHiker456Triplogs 186
Hiking11.33 Miles 2,645 AEG
Hiking11.33 Miles   5 Hrs   32 Mns   2.14 mph
2,645 ft AEG      14 Mns Break
no photosets
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
To say my debut hike in the Dragoons did not disappoint would be an understatement… it’s very possible that if I were to go through my peak list and separate them by range, the Dragoons would come out among my top 3 favorites in AZ; enough said! Friends have been telling since I moved to Southern AZ just over 4 years ago that I need to check out this range, and today was the day I finally got around to doing so. With a drive of just 59 minutes from door to parking spot, I feel like I’ve been living under a cave for the past 6 months for not have hit up these sensational mountains sooner… (or maybe AZ is just that awesome :cool:)… or perhaps a little bit of both.

At any rate, I kicked things off from a small pullout area located right at the start of FR 697, right off the incredibly accessible Middlemarch Road, [which is perhaps one of the nicest dirt roads leading in to a mountain range that I’ve ever driven]. A low clearance vehicle could make it easily to within about 1.5 miles of where I parked, at which point the road becomes slighter “rougher”, involving a handful of spots that would be on the tougher side for low clearance [but still ridiculously easy for any HCV]. FR 697, on the other hand, has several spots that will likely flip [and/or destroy the underside of] any jeep / truck that is not further equipped with some serious enhancements for off-trailing / extremely rugged road conditions… and I do mean serious enhancements… the feces sections start very near the beginning; and the finale, [about 1/2 mile before the terminus atop China Peak], is so steep that it almost flipped me. :o

The sensational views begin before even reaching the parking spot, as the area of Sheepshead and the gazillion other awesome rock/”dome” formations are approached; and they continue for pretty much the entire adventure. The two peaks I did [China Peak & Cochise Peak] had some of the nicest views, but equally awesome were the views along the stretch of FR 697 from just past mile 1 [where the many craggy / dome rock formations suddenly pop into view, to just past mile 2 [around where the road goes up to some massive rocks and the takes you though an area where the massive rocks had been blasted to make room for the road. Shortly after this area, [and just before FR 2002 takes off on the right], there is an area to the left that has the remains of what appear to be at least three separate foundations.

Next, FR 697 starts to ascend an area with lots of mines. I did my best to stay on the this road, [and did a fairly good job of it], but there were so many minor roads/paths leading up to the many mines in this area that I ended up getting slightly off track in a few places and simply bushwhacked toward my destination [China Peak] in these areas. The road terminates on the summit of China Peak, and I’m curious as to why this portion of the road it is shown only on the older, CalTopo and not on FS Topo, given that the end of the road it is not at all overgrown; and, [although exceptionally shitty], is still an extremely well-defined jeep road. Oddly enough, the many mines I spotted [that are located above the 6,600’ contour, en route to China Peak], are not shown either; so my best guesses as to why FS Topo does not show the last little bit of this road are]: a) honest map error; b) “political pull” from whoever owns the mines to leave off the last little part of the road; c) for safety reasons (to deter all the dumbasses who might otherwise attempt to drive to the top of the peak in their jeeps/trucks with stock tires… :o ).

I had a short but extremely enjoyable visit atop China Peak. The bees had been buzzing / flying around quite a bit toward the beginning; but thankfully there were none on the peak; and the ones I encountered during my adventure were fortunately quite docile, completely ignoring me at best and giving me a quick, mildly unhappy buzz at worst, [but never anything where I felt the need to hike with bee spray in hand, let alone use it]. I was unable to find a register on China Peak but spotted on nice survey marker just a few feet away from the highpoint.

My descent off China Peak was very easy thanks to some well-blazed routes, [and in many places there were many good routes to choose from]. While there were a few brushy spots, it was almost all upper-body type of brush; the ground visibility was luckily good to fair. After around 1/2 mile, I connected with another jeep road [FR 345A], which I took for just under a mile before beginning my ascent to Cochise Peak via a short ridge to its SW. I was extremely tempted to follow a road leading up toward UN 7010, [which is not shown on the topos but is clearly defined on satellite imagery as well as ‘in person’]. This road takes off right around where I connected with FR 345A / right near Pear Tank]. From both satellite imagery and ‘in person’, it then seems to peter out mid-way up, before reaching the ridgeline that connects UN 7010 & Cochise Peak. This ridgeline looked like loads of fun, and it took a huge effort on my part not to go bounding up; but I was really trying to be as safe as possible now that snake season is in full swing, and taking the jeep road to the base of Cochise Peak definitely minimized the portion of off-trail that involved lots of tall grass & small rock piles with less than perfect visibility. Even my short ascent of just under 1/2 mile, [which would have been loads more fun a month or two ago without having to be as concerned about snakes], definitely had me on edge for much longer than ideal [due to the snake potential]; and had it not been for the many, well-beaten deer routes, it would not have been at all ideal during snake season.

Luckily, I made it to the summit without an encounter. I headed for the North end of the summit first, which is the lower end; but it had much better views, encompassing some excellent views of some of the rock crag / dome formations [which were completely blocked from the actual highpoint / Southern summit]. The highpoint, however, had views of some other nice peaks that were not visible from the Northern summit; and the views from both summits were stunning. There was a summit cairn, along with a register that was in horrendous condition: a supplement bottle, with the top part broken off, such that what remained of the log was completely exposed to the elements and would get drenched with each rain/snowfall. The main log consisted of what appeared to have once been a super mini-sized note pad. The writing in places was surprisingly still very readable, but I made no attempt to uncurl it because it was extremely frail thanks to the weather damage. There was also a much more recent business card that someone had left, and it appears that most of the recent sign-ins were taking place on the business card, thanks to the incredibly poor condition of the main log. I squeezed my name on the biz card; and then, [although the peak was about as easy as it gets for off-trail], I decided to do some much needed, ‘register duty’, not wanting to turn my back on a register that was clearly in dire need. I broke out the new empty Juvo container that I was using to store my SOS device, headlamp, and cell phone recharger; and I took the old log book along with the biz card and pen and put them inside. Although the lid of the new container was completely functional, I figured I would add yet another layer of security by putting the container in a sealable plastic bag. The only area where I fell short [yet again] was having even just one sheet of paper on hand that I could leave… but I did have some clean paper towels in my pack, and decided to leave a couple in the event the next several folks to summit don’t have anything better to write on.

Just before leaving the peak, I decided to add an extra rock to the summit cairn in order to secure the new register container since it was considerable bigger than the old, broken one. Conveniently, there was a medium size rock that was the perfect sized laying about a foot or two from the base of the summit cairn. As always, I overturned the rock with care... and this time it definitely paid off…! I guess you could say I allowed the summit scorpion of Cochise Peak to have a human encounter, [and probably gave it the scare of its life in the processes]. Aside from attending one of those night, ‘scorpion hunt hikes’ at the San Tans when I first move to AZ, this is the first scorpion encounter that I can recall while hiking… and definitely the first scorpion encounter I’ve had: a) on the East side of the Santa Ritas; b) above 6,775’; c) on a summit… and while on the topic of “firsts”, I’m still trying to decide which encounter should take the prize for the day’s weirdest: the summit scorpion atop the 6,797’ Cochise Peak… or the massive Wolf Spider that ‘welcomed’ me the moment I’d set foot INSIDE my home & shut the door that evening…! :o :o :o

Thankfully, [as far as the hike was concerned], the remainder was relatively uneventful: after about 1 mile or so into my bushwhack descent, [which was very easy and luckily had visibility ranging from good to fair], I encounter a trail/jeep road not shown on the topos. It was extremely well defined and ran along the ridge toward UN 6217, paralleling the jeep road below [FR 345A] that I had originally planned to take. Traveling along the ridge offered some sensational views, and shortly after the trail/jeep road petered out, there were some well-defined routes that lead me the short distance back over to FR 345A. About 1/3 of a mile after later, I connected with Middlemarch Road, which I took for a little under 3 miles to get back to my vehicle. Originally I was planning to hit up Black Diamond Peak as well on the way back, but with such a late start it just wasn’t worth the rush to squeeze in that late in the day. About 1.25 miles from my Forester, I made a very brief stop to check out a neat windmill, located near the Duran Well. There were small rungs/holds, [similar to rungs on a ladder], to climb to the top; and it was very, very tempting… but with some bees in the area who seemed to be minding their biz [AND being out there alone], I decided it was best to just head back. It was still a very solid adventure overall, and I’m psyched to have ‘discovered’ such an amazing range that is so close to home.
If you see a bulge in a Conservative woman's pants, be careful... it is probably a gun 8)
If you see a bulge in a Liberal woman's pants, be careful... it is probably a shiny rifle
Apr 20 2016

 Guides 1
 Routes 114
 Photos 1,367
 Triplogs 358

44 male
 Joined Jun 10 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Double Dragoon, AZ 
Double Dragoon, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 20 2016
The_DudeTriplogs 358
Hiking8.78 Miles 2,739 AEG
Hiking8.78 Miles   4 Hrs   49 Mns   2.32 mph
2,739 ft AEG   1 Hour   2 Mns Break12 LBS Pack
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I made a trip down to our Cochise yard on Tuesday and ended up spending the night down there. Got all my work done, so that meant I could get a hike in Wednesday! As many times as I have been down this way over the years, I had still only hiked the Cochise Stronghold in the Dragoons, glad I could change that. I headed south to Middlemarch road in the trusty Nissan Quest hoping that the road would not prove too funky. As it turns out, the east side is a bit rough but very passable in a passenger vehicle (when dry), and the western portion is possibly one of the best dirt roads I have ever been on. I made my way up to Soren Camp road and parked shortly after the road junction. I started hiking up the road to the 'Trailhead' for Cochise. Nice temps in the morning, spring is finally starting to come to this part of the state. I followed the jeep road up to where the barbed wire fence is, I followed the fence up and eventually passed through a gate. Best bet is to stay just to the left of the barbed wire the whole way up, don't bother going through the gate. I got a little off track on the way up, but staying by the fence o the way back made for easier going. Nice little peak, a few scramble spots but all in all a decent bit of off trail. Took a nice break at the top enjoying some of the views, but the best was still to come. The summit jar was disintegrating, if anyone is coming up here anytime soon you should bring a new one! There are some nice campsites you pass on the way up Soren Camp road, I would imagine even some better ones once you get up the road further. I bumped my way down Middlemarch Pass over to forest road 4393 and parked in some shad to begin my next hike. The road up to Black Diamond is good and steep, and the temps were getting warmer with noon approaching. The track starts out nice and easy to follow, but then becomes a game trail that fades in and out. Nothing too hard to find, but it does traverse a pretty good slope, so watch your step. I was glad I brought my hiking stick along for this one, but I still ended up on my backside a few times thanks to the varied terrain, some loose rocks here and there, plus lots of vegetation to work your way around. Few things say fun like picking your way through the Catclaw and Manzanita, I left some donations along the way, and still have a few spines to dig out of my skin...The route up to the summit is not too difficult, there are a few false summits to negotiate around, but for the most part easy to find. I did not find a summit log up top, maybe I missed it. Took a quick break to enjoy the sweeping views of Southern Arizona and Mexico. So many mountains left to climb...I took a quick side trip tot he mine on the way back, but I just poked my head in the entrance. Looks like you could go quite a ways into this one if that is your thing, but I was solo and running short on time too. Chugged my way back down the forest road, and then continued westward down to Tombstone. Waved hello to a few BP agents blocking the road a few miles down and they let me pass by without any hassle. Took the 80 back through St. David and benson, and then back home by the I-10. Long day, but good to get these both in.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
A few things in bloom, but it is just getting started down here.
May 31 2012

 Guides 1
 Routes 43
 Photos 666
 Triplogs 78

57 male
 Joined Mar 15 2012
 Seattle, WA
Cochise PeakTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 31 2012
MAVMTriplogs 78
Hiking1.73 Miles 952 AEG
Hiking1.73 Miles   2 Hrs      1.02 mph
952 ft AEG      18 Mns Break12 LBS Pack
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
For the fourth time in a fortnight, I headed for the Dragoon Mountains. The morning was dead calm with the stifling heat of the day still to come. A light haze was palpable as I journeyed NE from Sierra Vista through Tombstone and onto Middlemarch road - most likely the smokey evidence of the wildfire I had heard was somewhere across the New Mexico state line; this coupled with 90F+ degree temps would set the backdrop for the day's Twin Peak bagging in the inner sanctum of the Goons.

Being as there was no defined trail with which to summit Cochise Peak, I had decided to make it a bit of an orienteering romp with only a basic Topo of the area to pull indicators from. The road to the south of Soren Camp would serve as initial access, and could be a mini-hike itself if fully engaged. I bushwhacked my way through the Catclaw skirting that defines the area between the camp and the dirt road which would most likely lead to a fence did of course. From here it is just upward ad hoc to the peak...I would return a different way so as to make it a bit more challenging. The Opuntia genus cacti (cane cholla & prickly pear) were blooming wherever they were to be found throughout! I ran up with the fence line as reference imagining a spine that would become an express elevator to the top. This in the ideal sense did not exist for me, and it was just a good steep off trail hike up...the kind where you know it will take just about as much time to get back down given the rocky grade.

The summit of the peak is flat and elongated to the north a bit. The very top is colonized by a typical large AZ anthill...making Cochise Peak one of the largest anthills in the state I would wager. I forgot to sign the log hiding in the rock pile...and only thought of it a few hundred yards down hill. I picked-out a pronounced tongue that was a visible landmark below and referenced it with the Topo map in hand. I chose the reentrant flanking it to the south as my target tangent and gingerly headed down in earnest. I found the drainage with ease and buffeted around the steep waterfalls with little difficulty...falling on my rear only three or four times in all given the loose grade, etc. I was pleased that I did NOT reach out for any Agave, Cacti or Amolillo (shin dagger) in the process! I returned to the road very near to where I had anticipated from above, finding my way to Soren Camp and lunch. An excellent warm-up for China Peak in the afternoon... Avg. Grade 112.1% See GPS route for details.
Flora [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Cane Cholla
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Gilda Spring Dripping Dripping
Moisture present but non-reliable / difficult to gather at this time.
The MaNtiS - Assume & be Damned!
3 archives
Jan 30 2011

 Guides 169
 Routes 148
 Photos 5,683
 Triplogs 1,793

45 male
 Joined Apr 12 2004
 Oro Valley, AZ
Cochise PeakTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 30 2011
PrestonSandsTriplogs 1,793
Hiking1.60 Miles 746 AEG
Hiking1.60 Miles
746 ft AEG
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After hiking Black Diamond Peak earlier in the day, I drove up Sorin Camp Road 345A to hike Cochise Peak. The route up was mostly obstacle free, other than having to avoid a catclaw thicket and having to cross a barbed wire fence a few times. Once on top, I was disapointed that I couldn't see the Stronghold, so I made a short walk to the north side of the peak and found the view I was looking for. Upon arriving back at my truck at Sorin Camp, I resumed my journey up FR 345A.
"As soon as I can I’m sneaking back in them mountains..." -Johnny Paycheck
average hiking speed 1.87 mph

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.


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