Miller Peak (Arizona)
Miller Peak, at 9,470 feet (2,886 m), is the second-highest mountain in Cochise County, Arizona (after Chiricahua Peak). Located approximately 10 miles south of Sierra Vista, Arizona, it is the highest mountain in the Huachuca mountain range and a popular local hiking destination. The peak is the highest point in the Miller Peak Wilderness on the Coronado National Forest. This is also the most southerly peak and land area to rise above 9,000 feet in the continental United States. The area was affected by the 2011 Monument fire and most of the pine trees seen in older photographs were burned and destroyed. Scrub oak are beginning to replace the areas that were previously covered by pine.
|Elevation||9,470 ft (2,886 m) NAVD 88|
|Prominence||5,006 ft (1,526 m)|
|Location||Cochise County, Arizona, U.S.|
|Parent range||Huachuca Mountains|
|Topo map||USGS Miller Peak|
|Easiest route||Trail Hike|
Google “Satellite” images from 2018 would seem to show that many of the pre-fire pine and fir trees are still there and very much alive. Furthermore, the satellite images also tend to suggest that in the few locations where 100% tree kill took place, the forest is already beginning to regenerate.
Hiking up Miller Peak
The summit of Miller Peak can be gained by any of several trails, which all involve moderately strenuous hikes requiring approximately 3,500 feet (1,100 m) in elevation gain and 9 to 11 miles (14 to 18 km) distance round-trip. Perhaps the most well-known trailhead is found at the end of Miller Canyon Road, near Hereford, Arizona. Other popular trails include the Montezuma Pass trailhead in the Coronado National Forest and the Carr Peak trailhead, but the short trail to the summit off the main Crest Trail can be reached from nearly any other trail in the Huachucas. Notable landmarks along the way include Bathtub Springs and Bear Saddle. Nearby Carr Peak (9,229 ft or 2,813 m) can be reached in the same day, along the Crest Trail.
Those attempting to hike to the summit of Miller Peak should bring at bare minimum 3 liters of water, especially in the summer months. The humidity in winter is very low (< 15%) so bring more water than you expect even when the temperatures are not high. In winter snow storms are common. In summer fierce lightning storms and flash floods hit the peaks so do not hike in summer when thunderstorms are present. Always be aware of your surroundings. You will also occasionally cross paths with Border Patrol agents as they also hike the area on patrol.