The Mountains of Arizona •
Peak 5597 • Mule Mountains
• Cochise County

Peak 5597

Pushing through ocotillo to the top

Summit cairn, south view into Mexico

West, the Warren part of Bisbee below

North, Mural Hill to the left, Grassy Hill roughly centered

East, Gold Hill and Patio Peak

West subpeak, the snowy Huachuca Mountains in back, main part of the Mule Mountains closer in


All images

• • •

The Arizona
Mountains Gazetteer

Click to find out more!

Date: February 11, 2024 • Elevation: 5,597 feet • Prominence: 437 feet • Distance: 2.5 miles • Time: 90 minutes • Gain: 620 feet (gross) • Conditions: Sunny and cold


This peak rises south of Warren, one of the littler towns that compose the City of Bisbee. The peak has some towers on a lower bump and a road that leads to this lower bump. However, I was uncertain of the legality of hiking the road, so I opted for a different route that was more promising in terms of access. The peak lies just outside of the city limits on mine-owned land, where it is not posted and hiking is de-facto allowed. I knew this much.

Yesterday, we had the biggest snow date of the season. It snowed a couple inches at my house, and kept me in most of the day until it ceased around 2 in the afternoon. I'm at 5,000 feet, and higher up, the hills where covered in white. Lower down, it appeared that snow line was about 4,000 feet. Massive Cerro San Jose, to the south in Mexico, was covered from its summit (about 8,400 feet) down to its base.

Today was supposed to be cold but sunny, highs about 45°. The snow at my place melted pretty quickly. I wanted a hike somewhere, but not a long drive, and lower in elevation, so I looked at a big peak along AZ-80 south of Tombstone. I got on the road about 9 a.m., but once down in the valley between Bisbee and Tombstone, saw that everything was socked in with snow still. Not just a smattering, but thick. Plus, the clouds were still low, shrouding anything above a hundred feet off the ground. I drove into Tombstone but called off my hikes here for obvious reasons. I did not want to hike in foggy cold weather on snow. It'll all be gone in a few days anyway, so I'd rather wait. So back to Bisbee, me.

I basically screwed around for an hour with no real plan. It was sunnier and warming, but still chilly. So I decided on the spot to hike this peak, which is close by and one I have saved for a moment like this. From my home, I only had to drive a couple miles into Warren and up its streets to its eastern edge, along Yuma Trail (a street). There's a small gravel lot here and a road that heads in, this being open to hikers. I parked and started walking, time about noon. There were two other vehicles here.

I walked in on this road, which leads gently uphill to a small cell-tower. Some guy was driving out, followed by an older couple and their two huge dogs. I talked with the couple, who were really nice people. I asked about hiking the road and they said they've been doing it for 25 years with no issues. Their two dogs decided to bark and leap at me, but they were held back by their humans. Otherwise, I was toast. There was another group of three not far behind.

The road only goes so far. The peak rises a little less than a mile south, so I went off-road and started walking through the heavy ocotillo, finding lanes about half the time. I had to cross a couple ridges and drainages, each requiring about 30-40 feet of drop and regain. There's a small cattle pen here and I made sure to swing wide of it. I was soon at the base of the peak.

The hike up was steep but easy, the challenge being the ocotillo and cat-claw brush, which often blocked me. I was usually able to find lanes and even paths, but sometimes just had to ease through as best I could. One thorny branch whipped across my cheek and nose, but it didn't cut me. It hurt, though, almost got me in the eye.

I got to a saddle just below the peak and came across some very old pieces of cloth and tin cans. The cloth looked like old sweatshirts the crossers would wear. The tin cans looked like they were from a hundred years ago.

The final uphill went quickly, just weaving through the ocotillo, and up higher now, more snow but not an issue, not deep enough to be a hindrance. The summit, no surprise, is chock full of ocotillo. I found a cairn but no register, and snapped a few images of the surrounding countryside, with ocotillo. There was no place to sit and no reason to stop. It had taken me about 40 minutes to get here.

I hiked out the same way, more or less, finding whatever paths I could glean as I hiked down. The rocks were often loose so I did not move very fast, but I was back to my car in about the same amount of time, 40 minutes. I felt good, and this little jaunt had gone well. Not a bad way to salvage the fine day.

(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.