Sky Islands Traverse

Posted By on January 13, 2016

Sky Islands Traverse

3.83 miles; Hereford, Arizona

It’s been remarkably difficult to find hiking trails here in Southern Arizona, or rather, I should say it’s been hard to find hiking trails of the kind I’m used to. There’s little public land that isn’t owned by the federal government, and what trails I can find don’t seem to have very good maps online. That said, I have found that there are several long-distance trails in Arizona, one of which winds its way quite near to Bisbee: the 490-mile Sky Islands Traverse.

Sky Islands Traverse map

Sky Islands Traverse map

Sky islands are what the mountain ranges that seemingly rise up out of flat plains are called, rather like islands out of the sea, and that characterizes the mountains in this part of Arizona. That long straight stretch of trail to the immediate west of Bisbee is the San Pedro Riparian Conservation Area, and I explored a bit more of it today.

Sky Island in the distance

Sky Island in the distance

This time I started from the Hereford Bridge trailhead, about 8 miles from the Mexican border, and headed north as far as I could go in 45 minutes, while the hubs took a 90-minute bike ride. And once again we were in the valley where the temps today were in the mid-60s.

Blaze? Boundary Marker? Who Knows?

Blaze? Boundary Marker? Who Knows?

Trail blazing seems to be a foreign concept here. Between the other day and today I saw maybe a dozen of these markers, but it’s unclear what they are, exactly. They’re not plentiful enough to be trail blazes, and I guess it’s possible they are boundary markers, but I’m not sure. Who knows? It’s a mystery to me.

Flash of Color

Flash of Color

Saw this little flash of orange amid the grasses on the trail. No idea what it is, but it caught my eye.

Hereford Bridge

Hereford Bridge

This trail, like the earlier hike, generally follows the San Pedro River, and passes under the bridge on the road where the trailhead is located.

You can find lots more about the Sky Islands Traverse trail at this website.

Comments

5 Responses to “Sky Islands Traverse”

  1. Great hiking also at nearby Ramsay Canyon and Miller Canyon.

    • auntie says:

      ramsay canyon is on my list. it’s a nature conservancy property. haven’t come across miller canyon in my internet travels yet, but thanks for the tip.

      • dirtynailz says:

        Miller is south of Sierra vista. Check out Beatty’s Guest Ranch online. We have stayed there twice. Eccentric and cool.

  2. Brett says:

    There are many trails located throughout the Coronado National Forest (our public lands) of southern Arizona. However, the open deserts between the “sky island” ranges are often either private land or are managed by the BLM or state and often won’t have hiking trails. The San Pedro Trail, managed by the BLM, and blazed occasionally with brown posts as you’ve depicted, is an exception to the rule. The Sky Islands Traverse is a hiking route, not a trail per se. It uses a combination of existing hiking trails, old roads, and cross-country travel to provide a long-distance hiking opportunity for very adventurous and skilled hikers who are comfortable with travel in the more remote and rugged regions of southeastern Arizona.

    • auntie says:

      Thanks, Brett. Yes, I did later manage to get a map of the Huachuca Trails from the Ranger Station in Sierra Vista, I think it was, and noticed there were lots of other great maps. Thanks for your info. I can’t wait to get back out there!

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