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JUNIPER FLATS

Juniper Flats is a 4.75-mile round-trip off-road drive from the top of the Mule Pass Tunnel to the microwave communication tower and granite cliffs at 7005 ft mountain elevation and is the high elevation, mountaintop part of our Bisbee tours.

To get to the start of Juniper Flats Rd, you travel up N Old Divide Road at the top of Tombstone Canyon and Old Bisbee AZ. 

Juniper Flats Road starts on top of the town of Bisbee AZ Tunnel, between the Escabrosa Ridge and Juniper Flats, and next to the Continental Divide AZ Monument. The Continental Divide AZ Monument was mislabeled by the prison workers who constructed the mountain road in 1914. Locals call the valley between Juniper Flats and the Escabrosa Ridge, "the Divide".

Juniper Flats AZ

Juniper Flats AZ

Bisbee Tours - Things To Do In Bisbee AZ - Bisbee Mine Tour - Bisbee History Tour
 

Continental Divide Monument

Continental Divide Monument

Old Divide Road was US Highway 80 before the Mule Pass Tunnel opened in 1958. Only half of Old US 80 remains open, the closed half is a walking trail and is closed due to dangerous driving conditions.

Juniper Flats is home to the coatimundi or coati. The coati animal belongs to the racoon or raccoon family. They are typically brown and white with long snouts and long, skinny tails. coatimundi animals are tough, strong omnivores that are hard to kill by mountain predators. Male coatis are solitary animals but female coatis can travel in packs of up to 25 animals.

Coati Mundi likes to eat ground litter, fruit, and desert tarantulas (Arizona blonde tarantula, aphonopelma chalcodes, western desert tarantula), lizards (Gila monster, skink, gecko lizard, horned lizard, chuckwalla), rodents (vole, rats, field mice), and bird eggs.

Coatimundi

Coatimundi

Jaguar

Jaguar

Juniper Flats is about 10 degrees cooler than downtown Bisbee AZ. In fact, parts of the road facing the northern hemisphere retain ground snow until the start of May every summer.​

The century plant is found in the Juniper Flats area in the Mule Mountains. The century tree agave is also the Agave Plant. Regardless of its name, the century Plant only lives between 10 - 30 years. At the end of its life cycle, it sends up a tall brown stem, blooms with yellow flowers, and dies. Adventitious shoots or rhizomes from its base continue to grow and make new American aloe century plant. Century Plants are called Agave, Maguey, Mezcales, and American Aloe.

The flower stem produces aguamiel which makes the alcoholic drink called Pulque or Octli. Its fermented leaves make the alcoholic drinks tequila and mezcal. The fibers in the tough leaves have a substance called Pita which is used to make nets, ropes, bags, sacks, and clothing. The pita in the Agave leaves is also used to embroider leather in a technique called piteado. The Century Plant protects itself with long, thick, strong, pointy leaf tips that resemble the tip of a knife and can pierce deeply.

Agave Leaves

Agave Leaves

Agave Thorny Leaves

Agave Thorny Leaves

Century Tree Stem

Century Tree Stem

Agave

Agave

From the top of Juniper Flats AZ, mountaintop visibility across southern Cochise county Arizona, and multiple Mexican mountain ranges may be several hundred miles.

Agua Prieta Sonora Mexico is visible from the microwave transmission tower on top of the Juniper Flats granite cliffs. Douglas AZ, Agua Prieta's US Border neighbor is also visible and is home to the infamous Gadsden Hotel where Pancho Villa rode his horse up its stairwell and is a significant moment in the history of Pancho Villa and the Mexico Revolutionary War.

Juniper Flats

Juniper Flats

The top of the city of Bisbee,  Warren Arizona, the Bisbee mines, and Dump 7 are visible from Juniper Flats. Phelps Dodge leaching copper ponds are visible on top of Dump #7, the old Lavender Pit mine tailings.

Green Mohave rattlesnakes are a common resident of Juniper Flats. The green Mohave rattlesnake isn't the biggest rattlesnake but it has the most powerful venom called neurotoxic-hemotoxic venom that attacks the nervous system/brain along with the skin/tissue. The Mojave green rattlesnake's on Juniper Flats rarely exceed three feet in length and are a gray/olive color with a less defined black and white tail.  Its tail bands have larger white stripes than black stripes. Green Mohave green rattlers like to hang out under Mesquite Trees, Pinon Pine bushes, the Manzanita plant or lay out on the pink granite rock to warm up.

Green Mohave Rattlesnake

Green Mohave Rattlesnake

The Chiricahuas or Chiricahua Mountain, the Swisshelm Mountains, the Whitewater Draw, the Willcox Playa, and Sulphur Springs Valley are all visible looking east from Juniper Flats. The Whitewater Draw AZ is home to the Sandhill Crane migration at the end of winter in Cochise County AZ.

The Huachucas or Huachuca Mountains, the Santa Rita Mountains near Nogales AZ, the Whetstone Mountains, the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson AZ, Sierra Vista AZ, Ft Huachuca AZ, and Hereford AZ are all visible looking west from Juniper Flats. 

Juniper Flats Divide

Juniper Flats Divide