Mescal, Iron, Cottonwood Springs Hiking Trip #41

Mescal, Iron, Cottonwood Springs Hiking Trip #41

Date: January 28, 2017

Goal: Find Mescal Springs (AKA Iron Springs, Cottonwood Springs)

Weather: VERY, Very Chilly to start then not too bad. The sun was out which helped a lot.

Trail: There is an old stage coach roadbed we followed and Mescal River (no water in river, see below)

Hiking Partner: Scott Weiss

Distance: 4.1 Miles (between All Trails upgrades and my iPhone 6S I was able to REALLY track this hike, need to see how it will work when in the mountains…jury is still out on this)

Start Elevation: 4,825 ft

End Elevation: same

Elevation Change: 429 ft (see below)

Do It Again: Probably not, but really glad we did it, lots of history

Comments: Jack a friend of mine told me about Iron Springs (this spring has 3 different names, Mescal Springs, Iron Springs and Cottonwood Spring, we could not find a reason for this, other than to make it confusing). He said it is where Wyatt Earp shot and killed Curly Bill Brocius. For those who have seen the movie “Tombstone” you know who this was and which actor played the part. Here is a web site that describes the shoot out and the area. It is a short and very interesting read Shoot-out-at-cottonwood-springs/ . We drove as far as we could on a dirt “road”. Again thank god for Scotts 4 wheel drive truck AND brand new tires! From this point we walked (pretty flat so more of a walk than a hike) the remains of the old stage coach route (at times you could almost expect to see a stage coach coming around a corner). This is the route that stage coaches had to travel from Tucson to Tombstone. The coaches had to travel from water hole to water hole. Mescal Springs provided a place for travelers to stretch, freshen up, eat (at one time there were a few buildings here but very few of the foundations remain), a corral still remains to this day. Once we got to where the remains of holding tanks were we tried to find the actual spring.


Item of note: The spring dried up after the earthquake that flooded the mines in Tombstone and diverted the San Pedro River underground, so no actual spring.

Not finding anything that resembled a spring we decided to climb up a nearby hill to see if we could spot it, hence the elevation gain of 429 ft

.. We had been walking near the old Mescal river bed, in the shelter of the nearby hills, and as we climbed the hill the wind started to pick up and wind chill started to set in…it got cold real FAST! Not seeing anything promising we headed back down out of the wind to see if we could find any GPS coordinates on our “Smart Phones” for the spring. GREAT to have “Smart Phones” to be able to do this! Once we had the coordinates we headed back to VERY near where the holding tanks where. We had been very close to the spring but could not see anything due to the heavy brush. Go figure, a spring with trees and brush around it!! We found a small dam (Picture) and more plumbing to get the water to the tanks

. It was very cool to be in such a historic place. The hike is easy and scenery very beautiful, the spring a little underwhelming but if you realize this was a stagecoach stop and a place where Earp supposedly shot Curly Bill, and then all in all it is pretty neat. All in all a good hike/walk.



  1. Wyatt and Holliday, who had been fast friends since Holliday saved Earp’s life in Dodge City during 1878, Wyatt Earp first wrote down the story about the shootout at Iron Springs more than 11 years after the incident.

  2. Elevations range from 5,600 feet on the southwest side near Juniper Spring to 7,000 feet on the west side near George Wood Canyon and Gobblers Knob.

  3. Do you mind if I quote a couple of you articles as long as
    I provide credit and sources back to your blog?
    My blog is in the vey same niche as yours and my users would certainly benefit from
    a lot oof the information you provide here. Pleasse let me know if this ok with you.
    Thanks a lot!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *