The Mountains of Arizona •
Peak 4999 • Tombstone Hills
• Arizona State Trust Land
• Cochise County

Peak 4999 and one of those yellow things

Approaching the base

The top beckons

Summit area

Southwest, Huachucas

South, Peak 5724

North, Dragoons way in back

West, Tombstone Hills

Walking out

All images

• • •

The Arizona
Mountains Gazetteer

Click to find out more!

Date: March 31, 2024 • Elevation: 4,999 feet (Lidar) • Prominence: 336 feet • Distance: 3 miles • Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes • Gain: 465 feet • Conditions: Cloudy and extremely windy

ArizonaMainPBLoJInteractive map

This non-descript peak rises a couple miles east of Government Benchmark, east of highway AZ-80 about 6 miles south of Tombstone. It's just a gentle hump of a hill set back about a mile from the highway, in an area of State Trust and private land. The summit and most of the hill lies on State Trust land, but there is a corridor of private land that ostensibly blocks access to the State land.

This peak really does not interest me, but I kept it on the back burner as something I could do quickly and without much planning. I had no hiking plans this weekend and actually was okay with that. I needed to stay home and handle a few errands and work in the yard. A storm was supposed to come in on Sunday, one of the "atmospheric river" storms that slam the West Coast. It seemed like a good weekend to lay low and do nothing.

Sunday (today) started very cloudy and windy, and by noon, I was growing restless. I thought about walking the stairs in Old Bisbee. I also thought about this peak and one other one, Peak 5260, where highways AZ-80 and 90 junction west of Bisbee. At 11:30, I got into my hiking clothes and headed out the door. Today would be a good day to try for one or both of these peaks. In nicer conditions, I would be looking at something more interesting.

I looked at Peak 5260 first. I drove down AZ-80 to the junction, then pulled into a small pullout about where AZ-80 reaches an apex north of the junction. I parked, got my stuff together, got my poles and locked the car. I walked across the highway and found a spot to scamper up a small hill and to cross over a fence. I was in very thick brush, lots of woody crap and acacia, and it looked like it would stay this way all the way. I immediately lost interest. I may have set a record today for fastest bail on a hike. I got maybe ten steps past the fence when I turned around.

So then I drove north about ten miles to where Old Bisbee Highway connects with modern AZ-80. I knew of this road when I hiked Government Benchmark in January. There's an unlocked, unposted gate on the west side where I knew I could stash my car. I rolled in about ten minutes later and parked about twenty feet past the gate, near a corral and hidden by heavy brush. It was about 12:30 when I started walking. The weather was the same: heavy clouds and a very strong wind, sustained at 20 miles per hour, gusts about 30. But it wasn't cold. It was actually quite mild, in the mid 60s.

Across the highway is another gate, behind which is a road that the maps say goes east a mile toward Peak 4999 (the elevation is taken from the 1-meter Lidar. The map's elevation is 4,995 feet). I had actually scouted this gate in the past. It's an ancient gate, locked with rusting chains and rusting padlocks. A sign on it has been scoured of its wording. I knew what it probably once said, but now, it was just a blank wooden panel. I quickly scooted under the fence, now on the opposite side of the gate and fencing.

The "road" was barely a couple tracks in the long grass that petered out in about a hundred feet. It clearly has not been driven on in many years. Judging by the gate itself and its "sign", it appears it is unused, as is this area. This is a ribbon of private land about a quarter mile long that I needed to cross to get onto the State Trsut land. Even though the area felt abandoned, I did not waste time. I walked quickly along the road, then on cattle paths, before crossing a fence that seemed to agree where the State Lands start.

I was able to follow cattle paths most of the way, which was good because the brush here wasn't much better than over on Peak 5260. It was tall woody mesquite and thornbrush, plus ocotillo. Despite the cattle paths, I saw no cattle and only a couple spots where they had left their poo cairns.

I hiked most of the way past a lower hill to where I had an open view of Peak 4999. I had to drop slightly into an arroyo channel, where the brush was the thickest. Once past this, I was now on the northwestern toe of the ridge that would lead to the summit.

Fortunately, the brush lighted up on the slopes, not so thickly congregated. I had open lanes almost the entire way, and the limestone rock provided good footing. Now a little higher and not shielded by nearby hills, I felt the full brunt of the wind. The hike up the hill went fast, gaining about 450 feet from the base. I was on top the open summit about 40 minutes after starting.

The top is flat with a couple low limestone outcrops about two feet above the dirt. I tagged the contenders and looked for any sign of a previous visitor, but there was nothong — no cairn, no register, no surveyor junk. List of John shows just two previous visitors, Bob Martin and Mark Nicholls, both from 30 years ago (Bob's dates are lacking but he often hiked with Mark. Mark was here in 1994, according to LoJ). Was I the first visitor in nearly 30 years? It is possible I was.

I snapped a few images but did not stick around. The wind was heavy and I got what I came for, so I turned around and descended down the hill and back into the brushy arroyos. I happened upon a peculiar object, a yellow metal square about 5 feet to a side, two feet tall, with wheels on each side. It looked like it could pivot around a center, but what its use was, I have no idea. It's probably been here over 30 years, too.

I hustled out, keeping to the cattle paths, and crossing the two fences about the same places each time. I crossed the road and was back to my car at 1:45 p.m.. From here, I just drove back to Bisbee and home.

This hike went well. I had been concerned about access due to that ribbon of private land, but it turned out not to be an issue. I tried to get onto the State Trust land as soon as was possible and stay on it all the way in. Being Easter with little traffic on the road, and being a lousy day in terms of weather, worked in my favor. I was pretty sure I wouldn't see anyone else today, and I did not. This is not a very interesting peak and can probably be skipped. It could be something to combine with a hike up Government Benchmark. It may be another 30 years, in 2054, when the next person visits.

(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. USGS 1 Meter 12 x59y351 CA_AZ_FEMA_R9_Lidar_2017_D18