Shaw Peak Trail #251


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The unmistakable profile of Cochise Head Mountain dominates the far-reaching views that form a main attraction along this crest trail. The granite-topped mountain was named for the charismatic Chiricahua Apache, Cochise, who was a leader of his people in the mid-1800’s. The trail starts high on Onion Saddle, where Forest Road 42 crosses the backbone ridge of the Chiricahuas. From the northeast corner of that crossroads it heads north and west into a remote corner of the mountain range that sees relatively few people. That was not always the case. In the past, this area was the site of considerable mining activity. At one time there was even a tunnel through one of the ridges that enabled children from the western slopes to walk to the east side school. The mines have closed and the tunnel has collapsed, but a number of old roads and ruins of abandoned diggings remain, along with some of the best views in the Chiricahuas. From Onion Saddle, Shaw Peak Trail starts out along an old road that once provided access to the Misfire Mine. Road and trail soon part company, however, and the path continues over the north summit of Onion Peak to Jhus-Horse Saddle. Here it meets two other trails, Pinery-Horsefall # 336 (area is unavailable)and Jhus-Horse Saddle #252. From this junction, the trail climbs to Shaw Saddle for more great views before dropping to the Hilltop Mine, marked by a large tailings dump. Beyond the mine, it is approximately 2.2 miles of 4-wheel drive road along the North Fork of Pinery Canyon to FR 42.

At a Glance

Usage: Light
Operated By: Douglas Ranger District

General Information

Directions: From Tucson, take I-10 east 81 miles. Turn right (south) on AZ 186 and continue for 23 miles. Turn left (east) on AZ 181 toward Chiricahua National Monument and drive 4 miles, then turn right (south) on FR 42. Travel 6 miles and turn left on FR 356 (4-wheel drive road) for the northern trailhead, or continue up FR 42 to Onion Saddle and turn left on FR 4854 (4-wheel drive road) to the southern trailhead. Forest Road 42 is a gravel road suitable for passenger vehicles. This road is open April through November. The road is not plowed and is usually closed following snowstorms. This road is rough and dusty and may be muddy and slick after a rain.



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Day Hiking

Views as good as they get, Historic mining district, Remote area, Biological diversity. This trail can be hard to follow. Use a topographic map and a compass. USGS Map(s): Rustler Park
Elevation desc6,400 - 7,900 feet
Difficulty Level: More Difficult


Areas & Activities


  Area/Length : 
5.2 miles

  Elevation : 
6,400 feet - 7,900 feet