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The unmistakable profile of Cochise Head Mountain dominates the far-reaching views that form a minor 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-1800s. The trail starts high on Onion Saddle, where Forest Road 42 crossed 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. 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 the 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 an trail soon part and the path continues over the north summit of Onion Peak to Jhus-Horse Saddle. Here it meets Pinery Horsefall #336 and Jhus-Horse Saddle #252 trails. 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 on a 4 WD road along the North Fork of Pinery Canyon to Forest Road #42.

Directions: From Tucson, Take I-10 east 81 miles. Turn right (south) on State Route 186. Continue for 23 miles. Turn left (east) on State Route 181 toward Chiricahua National Monument and drive 4 miles, then turn right on Forest Road #42. Travel 6 miles and turn left on Forest Road 356 for the northern trailhead. Continue up 42 and left on FR 4854 to the southern trailhead.

Elevation: 6,400 feet

Ending Elevation: 7,900 feet

Elevation Gain: 1,500 feet

Distance: 5.2 miles

Usage: Light

Difficulty: Strenuous

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Coronado National Forest, Arizona

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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