Mule Mountains Crest Trail

Posted By on January 26, 2016

Mule Mountains Crest Trail

2.85 miles; bisbee, az

Over the last week I have been doing a lot of non-blog-worthy walking into town, but today the hubs took me on a trail he walked with one of the neighbors. Our route started from the end of High Road and climbed School Hill. Old Bisbee is nestled in a high valley surrounded by the Mule Mountains. We followed the long [endless!] uphill trail to the crest and then followed a clear, nearly level trail for a mile or so above the town. When we came upon a trail intersection marked by a cairn, we decided to follow it back downhill It came out on a road not far from our rental, and the hubs headed off to go get the car while I explored some more. I managed to find my way, albeit not particularly legally, to the head of a set of steps that came out at the corner of the street where our rental is. This town is so much fun!

View from the trailhead

View from the trailhead

The trailhead for this hike was closer to the “downtown” of Old Bisbee than our rental. It included a great view of the massive mine pit.

The trail

The trail

Once we got to the top of the hill, or mountain (your choice; I’m going with mountain), after what seemed miles and miles but was barely a half mile, the trail straightened out and became almost level, with only gentle uphills and downhills. The views were astonishing. We saw snow-capped mountains to the east in New Mexico and a range of mountains south of us in Old Mexico.

Pointleaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos pungens

Pointleaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos pungens

It was amazing to find flowers in bloom in the hills in January, but these pointleaf manzanitas were blooming and a-buzz with bees. These plants are related to bearberry, which are native to my home woods.

Mine adit

Mine adit

We passed several exploratory holes and even this one mine adit (there’s that word again). These mountains were exploited first for their copper and then gold was discovered, so there are lots and lots of these little mines. We saw another from a distance on a far hillside. They’re as common here as cellarholes are back home.

Odd pool

Odd pool

When we were in the hills almost above our rental we noticed a side trail marked by a cairn, so we decided to follow it down the mountain. It ended up following one of the many washes that surround the town, and ultimately led to a road. At this point we split up and the hubs went back to get the car while I continued to explore. I knew from studying Google Maps that there was one of the dozens of stairways that dot this town nearby, and that it came out on the corner of the street where our rental is. I also knew I had to follow the perimeter of this pool to get to the top of the stairway. What I don’t know is what the heck this pool even is. Maybe a cistern or water storage for firefighting? Who knows? I do know that it was posted as “Authorized Personnel Only” by the city of Bisbee. But at this point I was determined to find the stairs, so I soldiered on.

Stairway

Stairway

These stairs, as I may have mentioned in an earlier post, are all over the town. They were constructed in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration, or WPA. Much of the town’s infrastructure, in fact, dates to this period, from the seemingly hundreds of check dams that dot the washes to the stairways to the bridges and water channels through the town. I was so happy to finally walk these steps, as I had noticed them a few weeks ago, and they were one of my persistent itches I needed to scratch. Consider it scratched. Another fantastic day in Bisbee.

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