By: Nancy Puffer
I love exploring Arizona’s hidden treasures, the things you won’t find right off the highway that aren’t overrun with tourists. My family and I love to take frequent trips to Bisbee because you’ll find hidden gems all over town, including all varieties of art, antiques, magic shows, Arizona’s Smallest Bar, Arizona’s oldest bar, and of course the music which never seems to stop or be on a specific schedule. From sun up to sun down (and beyond), you’ll almost always hear live music.
But one of the more out of the way hidden gems I discovered during a recent visit is the cross shrine, located at the top of a hill overlooking the entire town. A good friend introduced me to this hike and I’ve now shared it with others. I was amazed at how big the shrine was once we reached it, covering a series of rock outcroppings and featuring brightly painted grottos, crosses, flowers, plaques, statues, candles, angels, crucifixes, pictures and carvings.
The hike is about three miles round trip, if you’re starting from the downtown area or somewhere close to the center of town. The elevation change is about 600 feet, so you will do some climbing. It’s a little bit steep and rocky in places and requires moderate effort, but there are plenty of places to stop and rest. I would recommend wearing hiking boots, trail shoes or sturdy athletic shoes at the least, and bringing water. Once you reach the top, the view of Bisbee is incredible and there is room to spread out, walk around and take it all in.
To get to the cross shrine, walk north on Brewery Avenue, turn right and head up the hill on Youngblood. Once you reach OK Street, turn left. (Alternatively, you could take OK Street north from the beginning, if you wish). Stay on Ok Street until you see the Jesus statue marking the entrance to the shrine hike on your right. Take at right at the Jesus statue and head up the trail to the shrine. You’ll see painted arrows and cairns pointing you along the trail.
To get to Bisbee, take I-10 and exit at Benson to take Highway 80 south to Bisbee.
Need a place to stay? I recommend bisbee.us for a variety of different accommodation options at a reasonable price.