There's more reasons to hike this cool woodland trail than just because it offers an alternate, slightly shorter access route to the KP Trail at the bottom of KP Canyon. For one thing, it leads to one of the most scenic areas in the Blue Primitive Area, the confluence of the north and south forks of KP Creek. This spot is marked by steep, rocky outcrops and a couple of ten foot waterfalls. You'll want to spend some time here, so remember to pack a picnic lunch along with your camera and bird book. Sheltered riparian areas with their diverse vegetation and accessible moisture attract a variety of colorful songbirds.
The route to this beautiful little hideout is scenic in its own right. The North Fork Trail quickly leaves the upland habitat of its origin for the more lush confines of a deepening canyon and its well established streamside community of plants and animals. As the trail dives down the steep slopes of the North Fork drainage, it is highlighted by the lush green of box elders, sawtooth maple and healthy stands of poison ivy that cluster near the streambed. Within a half mile of the confluence, the canyon of the South Fork comes into view and rocky outcrops give a hint of the canyon landscape that is up ahead. The North Fork Trail and the KP Trail join about ten yards upstream of the two waterfalls that mark the confluence in a beautiful spot that will have you looking for a place to sit down and enjoy the view, as you contemplate whether to continue downstream a bit before you decide which trail to take back to the high country.
No mechanized vehicles (including mountain bikes) permitted in Primitive area. A loop hike via the KP Trail is an option if you set up a shuttle in KP Cienega or hike the 3.3 miles between the two trailheads.
0.0 Trailhead parking area which is shared with KP Rim Trailhead. Trail follows an old logging road for the first 0.7 miles
0.7 Trail leaves logging road
0.8 Trail switchbacks down to a creekside trail
1.5 Trail contours around a tributary coming in from the north
2.4 Junction with KP Trail #70. There is a water fall just downstream
USGS Maps: Strayhorse