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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Marijilda Cutoff, AZ

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Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Safford
2.5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 1.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,990 feet
Elevation Gain 327 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 3.24
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack Possible & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
9  2010-08-15
Heliograph Peak from Shannon GC
15  2007-09-30 PrestonSands
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 149
Photos 5,534
Trips 1,317 map ( 6,690 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Jun, Sep → Any
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:07am - 6:16pm
0 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Arcadia Mystery Route
by PrestonSands

Likely In-Season!
This abandoned trail on the north side of Heliograph Peak may have been an old segment of the Arcadia Trail, or possibly a remnant of the historic logging operation at Shannon Park. This is not a destination hike, but rather an alternate route that can be explored while hiking the Arcadia Trail. Points of interest on this hike include scenic overlooks of rugged Marijilda Canyon, and a short riparian stretch below Shannon Park. Some route finding ability is required, but overall this old trail is in decent shape.

At the trailhead at the end of the road in Shannon Campground, there is a restroom. The signed Arcadia Trail takes off to the right of it, while this hike follows a faint trail to the left of it. Follow it down canyon. It soon becomes apparent that you are following an old road, as you hike through the tall conifers and lush ground cover along Marijilda Creek. This peaceful little stream races through a typical alpine riparian area here, with the usual large, leafy plants and alder thickets.

About 0.25 miles in, the trail begins to contour along the south slope of the canyon, away from Marijilda Creek. Stacked rocks hold the trail in place and mark the occasionally overgrown and washed out route.

A short distance later, the trail offers up a view of the rugged walls of Marijilda Canyon, as it rounds a corner into a deeply shaded side drainage. At the bottom of this drainage, a small spring bubbles up from the ground next to the trail.

Just beyond the drainage, the trail arrives at a large fallen log, where the first of several switchbacks is encountered. If you hop over the log and contour along the slope for another 300 feet, you'll arrive at an overlook with views of Deadman Peak and the precipitous 10,000 foot mass of Mt. Graham. A shelf like rock provides a pleasant perch to kick back and enjoy the view.

Back at that first switchback, the trail begins its ascent up the mountainside. Ancient cut logs and occasional cairns continue to mark the way. After a handful of switchbacks, the old trail suddenly stumbles onto the Arcadia Trail, around the 9100 foot level (32.65990 N, -109.84981 W)

From here, you can hike to Arcadia, Heliograph Peak, or back to Shannon Campground.

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2007-10-10 PrestonSands
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Marijilda Cutoff
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Planned on taking Marijilda Cutoff to Arcadia and then up to the peak. Marijilda Cutoff trail was in terrible shape, overgrown in thorn bushes and littered with deadfall so I returned back to Shannon CG and did the standard loop. Still quite a bit of snow on the northern portions of the trail and it was very slow going through a stretch of the burn area with the snow depth up to my knees. The wind on the peak was calm (very rare) today and I spent about 30 minutes on top taking in the views before returning back down to Shannon via the service road. Another good hike on this side of the mountain, but I am ready now for the FS to open the rest of the Swift Trail, 19 more days!!!
    Marijilda Cutoff
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    After lunch with Randal at Chalo's Safford (whose food has gone downhill, by the way :( ), I drove up into the high Pinalenos for the 2nd time today. I parked at the Shannon turnoff, and hiked the forest road to the top of Heliograph, where I was greeted by numerous flowers, ladybugs, and bluish thunderstorm clouds building all around. Sixty five degrees and cloudy? Yes!!! I took dozens of photos, and watched an increasingly menacing thunderstorm grow to the east, over Safford. That storm rolled in as I left the top, and things got a little wild. With close lightning strikes and heavy rain, I moved quickly down the peak. At the bottom, I took a detour through Shannon Campground to Marijilda Creek, enjoying the peaceful rain soaked surroundings and the dark clouds overhead. Driving down, I paused to enjoy a great lightning show over Safford, near the forest boundary. A nice full day adventure it was.

    Permit $$

    Coronado Forest
    MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
    Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Safford, head south on U.S. highway 191. Turn west onto state highway 366 (Swift Trail). Follow highway 366 approximately 21.5 miles to the Shannon Campground turnoff. Turn right and follow the campground road to the end of Shannon Campground, where the Arcadia Trail starts. Follow the faint trail on the left side of the restroom building.
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