The Mountains of Arizona •
Glance Mine Hill • Peak 5196 • Mule Mountains
• Cochise County

Glance Mine Hill is centered in the distance, as seen from near where I parked

View from about halfway in, still almost two miles distant

Now about a mile away

Now real close

On the slopes

The top rocks

View southeast

The top rock is the flat one below, Cerro San Jose in back

East, view of Peak 5389

Summit log

Looking back, that's Gold Hill

All images

• • •

The Arizona
Mountains Gazetteer

Click to find out more!

Date: March 8, 2024 • Elevation: 5,196 feet • Prominence: 336 feet • Distance: 8.6 miles • Time: 3 hours, 40 minutes • Gain: 1,076 feet (gross) • Conditions: Cold and blustery, residual storm clouds and some sun


Peak 5196 lies in the southeastern Mule Mountains, about two miles north of the Mexican border. It was the location of a short-lived mine called the Glance Mine, in which copper, vanadium and lead were extracted. The mine hasn't been active in decades.

The peak, like many in this section of the Mules, has a cliff caprock mostly surrounding the summit, but with a sloping approach from the east side that would allow an ascent just by walking, no scrambling or climbing with the hands required.

About six weeks ago, I climbed Peak 5389, which lies a little over a mile to the east. Roads from that side got me close to that peak, and would have got me close to this peak too. But I got pulled over and was told kindly, but in no uncertain terms, these roads are private and to not be travelling on them. That shut out accessing this peak from the east side.

This left just a west-side approach, from Gold Gulch Road. From that direction, it's nearly four miles each way just to get to the east base of the peak, while the climb itself is short (less than a half mile each way). I wasn't enthusiastic about coming in from the west, but I had no other choice.

A system moved through the area in the past day or two. I think it was the fringe of the big snowstorm that buried Lake Tahoe. Yesterday was cloudy, breezy and cold. Today started out the same. I had some tasks to do for my classes and got a little frustrated with modern technology. Trouble-shooting got me nowhere, so I sent out some help emails and waited. It was 10:30 a.m., cloudy and cold, but with some sun. On the spot, I decided to go hike to Glance Mine Hill. I deliberately did not overthink it. I got some drinks and snacks and my stuff together and was out the door.

From my home, it's not a far drive to the "trailhead", about four miles is all. On Arizona Avenue, which leaves the community of Warren on its south end, I got onto Gold Gulch Road and followed that for a mile or so, parking on an elevated bluff at a bend in the road. This is where I parked a few months ago when I hiked Peak 5962 (Patio Peak). The land here is private, but unfenced and unposted.

I descended a track and went wide around one private-property parcel that is fenced and posted. I had the tiniest amount of off-trail hiking through mesquite and thorns to then place me on a track that runs southeast toward Glance Mine Hill. This track may have been a power-line access road as it runs suspiciously straight for most of its length. Some side roads branch off to old mine diggings.

So I got busy walking. I had to gain about a hundred feet to an apex in the road, where I could see my objective still a long distance away. The road dips into and out of a number of arroyos, and ranges from good and smooth, to steep, rocky and eroded. I made good time, walking fast. It was chilly, in the low 50s, and often breezy. The clouds would build, getting that dark underbelly, but it never rained.

In about 90 minutes, I had covered a little over three miles on this road, now roughly north of Glance Mine Hill. A side track branched south from here, so I followed it. It dropped into a drainage and branched many times, but I always followed the branches that led closer to the peak. Eventually, this track gains the north slope and cuts across it, getting as high as 4,660 feet elevation.

I left the track and started up an easy grade thick with ocotillo, wandering through the stalks. The ground was grassy with low cactus but easy to manage. The rocks were loose and apt to roll, but that should come as no surprise. I gained a hill, then dropped into a drainage, then up the other side, now on the hill's northeastern slope.

The grade steepened and the brush and trees grew thicker, at times blocking me entirely. I just needed to back out and do a few end runs. It wasn't difficult, just annoying. I had to ease up a few easy rock bands too, but there was no scrambling. I just needed to be sure the rocks were solid, using my hands for balance.

Then it was just a matter of walking up the remaining couple hundred feet to top out on the peak. As expected, the top is rocky, but easy to get around. The cliffs drop about sixty feet so I was careful not to get too close. I found the top rock and stepped on it, then found the register in a small cairn off to the side. I was the first to sign in since 2010. Bob Martin and his pal Steve were the first, back in 1991.

The views were good, taking into account the conditions. A Border Patrol vehicle was atop the next hill to the south. The clouds moved quickly. It would be sunny for a few minutes, then cloudy and gloomy. Then sunny again. I took a short break to rest and have a snack, but the breeze was steady and chilling. I didn't spend long here, maybe five minutes. I started down, following my ascent line.

The downhill went slow because I had to be sure the rocks wouldn't scoot out from under me. But once back on the tracks and then the main road, I picked up my pace. I had over three miles to hike out, all of it on this road. I wasn't concerned about rain or anything like that, I just didn't want to deal with the cold breezes. As long as I kept moving, I felt fine.

The inbound hike had taken me exactly two hours from car to summit, whereas the outbound hike took just 90 minutes. Ironically, there is a 400-foot gain overall for the outbound hike, from lowpoint to apex, not counting the many smaller drops along the way. I was back to my car a little before 3 p.m., and I was beat. I had been moving fast with no breaks. I piled in and drove home. It was nice that the drive took just ten minutes.

The funny thing is, my problem had not been entirely solved (they were all still "looking" at it) and I only had a couple emails waiting for me. So it was smart of me not to sit in my home office for almost 4 hours just for two emails and a partial resolution to my issues.

The hike also allowed me to study some approaches for two other peaks in the area, Black Knob and Gold Hill. For Black Knob, I will likely have to repeat most of the road hike, then deal with its own cliffs, but that's something to worry about for another day.

I would not recommend this peak as it is a long walk for a relatively minor summit. The scenery is nice and the climb is fun, but nothing particularly special. The only summitters have been the usual ones (see image at left), those, like me, going for some sort of completion of the range. I am glad I hiked it, it killed some time, it got my head right, and I got a workout, but if you're not local, there's no reason to bother with this peak because there are so many better options nearby.

(c) 2024 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.