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side trail on the Coronado Trail
The Granville Trail is a connector trail that runs from the Granville Campground to the Frye Trail, in the mountains north of Clifton, Arizona. Remote, unsigned and overgrown, this trail offers a challenge in route-finding, but it rewards hikers with solitude and views of the unspoiled mountain country of eastern Arizona. There are no trail signs on this hike; only blaze marks in the trees and occasional cairns mark the route.
The trail begins at the Granville Campground, which was the site of an early logging camp and summer retreat known as Granville. The logging operation here supplied the copper mines of the Clifton and Metcalf areas with lumber. The only structures remaining in Granville are the more recently built forest service cabins.
At the eastern side of the Granville Campground loop, look for a dirt road heading north and uphill past the forest service cabins. The old road follows the head waters of Chase Creek, and stays on the east bank as it climbs through the Arizona cypress and gambel oak trees. The road gradually gets worse, and soon disappears into the creek bed. Continue to follow the bed of Chase Creek uphill for a short distance.
At around 0.4 miles (33.19459 N, 109.37918 W), there will be a little side drainage taking off to the right, near some bigtooth maple trees. If you look carefully, you will see an old blaze mark cut into an alligator juniper tree on each side of a faint path that heads up the left side of the little side drainage. Begin following the path east, as it climbs up the fir, maple and ponderosa filled side drainage. There is a cairn at 0.65 miles, stay left. At about 0.75 miles, the Granville Trail climbs atop a little mound on the north side of the drainage, and begins a steep climb up a brushy hillside. A closer examination of the loose, gray limestone rock in the trail reveals thousands of tiny, donut shaped crinoid fossils, as the trail nears the top of the hillside. The Granville Trail soon reaches its high point in a saddle at 7330 feet.
From the saddle, the trail descends along the brushy, south facing slopes of an unnamed 7600 foot mountain. Occasional gaps in the brush reveal forested Frye Canyon below, along with pyramid shaped Walker Butte in the distance. Behind them, endless series of canyons and mountain ranges stretch to the horizon. The trail continues to descend, as it rounds a rocky butte above Frye Canyon. After the butte, the trail winds up on a ridge that divides Sardine Creek and Frye Canyon, and makes a half mile descent to the Frye Trail #12. The Granville Trail comes to an end here, but options for a loop hike exist. You can return via the Pinal Trail #713 by heading south on the Frye Trail; or return via the H.L. Canyon Trail #11 by heading north on the Frye Trail. Whatever you do, you probably won't see anyone else!
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