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One of southern Arizona’s most underrated areas surrounds the sky island of the Huachuca Mountains. They’re a massive range of mountains dipping into Mexico and capped by Miller Peak at roughly 9,500 feet above sea level. As is the case with other sky islands, the top of the mountains feature a completely different ecosystem than at their base. High above the desert floor, ponderosa pine trees cover the higher elevations where snow is expected throughout the winter. On that very desert floor are the Canelo Hills, an often overlooked part of southern Arizona. They stretch out for dozens of miles to the west of the Huachucas, filled with pleasant hiking through high desert grasslands. Sadly, overgrazing has taken its toll on the hills and a proposed mine would also only exacerbate the devastation to the region. And yet, they’re still welcoming for anyone wanting to explore, or especially for Arizona Trail thru-hikers. For the latter, these galleries mark the first 50 miles of the trail.