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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.

Grant Creek Canyon, AZ

Guide 7 Triplogs  0 Topics
  4.2 of 5 
90 7 0
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Loop 8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,871 feet
Elevation Gain 1 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,600 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 8-14 hrs
Kokopelli Seeds 21
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Perennial Waterfall & Perennial Creek
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
15  2019-09-13
Grant Creek Moonshine Creek
15  2017-03-11
Grant Creek Trail #305
20  2017-02-26
Grant Creek Trail #305
36  2013-06-15 RedRoxx44
47  2011-09-10 Vaporman
7  2010-09-06 nonot
Author nonot
author avatar Guides 96
Routes 239
Photos 2,001
Trips 486 map ( 4,591 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Aug, Sep, - -, - - → 6 AM
Seasons   Late Summer to Early Autumn
Sun  5:34am - 7:17pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2017 Frye Fire48.4k
🔥 2004 Nuttall30k
🔥 View All over Official Route 🔥

Waterfall splendour at a price
by nonot

Likely In-Season!
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A technical canyoneering loop utilizing Grant Creek Trail and Cunningham Spur Trail.

Canyoneering involves descending narrows canyons, and adventurers need to pay attention to the weather, do not go if there is any chance of rain.

For this trip, you will need to come equipped with appropriate technical gear. This means: harness, helmet, rappelling device, locking carabiners, 30 ft webbing, 3 quick links, and an iron will. GPS is recommended. Either bring 2x200 ft ropes or a 200 ft rope and 200 ft pull-cord. A wetsuit is not required in summer, but bring a drybag and expect to get completely soaked.

This trip involves serious amounts of bushwhacking and down-climbing, so be prepared for very slow progress. You are forewarned

Be warned that Grant Creek Trail #305 is not conducive to hiking in the dark.

Even though it was published in Todd's book, it is doubtful this canyon has seen many descents.

From the trailhead near Cunningham campground, walk the swift trail back east along the road approximately a half-mile to a road which branches right (south). Follow the road a short bit and find a trail on the left that descends a gully into Grant Creek. (Alternate: hike the road approximately 1 mile and find the trail which follows Grant Creek, this adds a bit of distance.)

Once next to Grant creek, a good trail (at first) is found. Follow this down the creek. As the canyon gets more rugged, the trail gets worse. Eventually, you are hanging onto trees and traversing above several beautiful waterfalls. Continue down canyon, bushwhacking and maneuvering in and by the creek. Making progress of maybe 0.5 mph, you will reach a spectacular set of cascades after about 90 minutes. The creek descends over 300 ft, and a bypass route can be found along the north side.

At 2 hours, you reach a waterfall that blocks progress. Ascend to a rock escarpment on the northern (right LDC) side of the canyon and rig a sloping rappel of about 100 ft next to the cascade from a nice pine tree.

From here, your will is tested as to go approximately another mile will take you 2-6 hours. Downclimbing, bushwhacking, crawling, splashing and will all be used. Expect to get physically abused by the New Mexican locust and a variety of vines that tend to hang at neck level to decapitate you. Towards the end, it was found that benches on the north side allow some relief at times from the brutality.

Reaching the 2nd major obstacle of the canyon, the adventurer will peer over the edge of a two-stage waterfall, approximately 200 ft in total. I recommend using a tree on the north (right LDC) to rig a rappel for approximately 50 ft + 15 ft back from the edge. Rappel past the first bowl of 15 ft into the second bowl. In the second bowl, pull your rope and wrap a conveniently located rock for a final rappel of approximately 150 feet. Staying on the south side of the direct line of the falls will allow you to land on a small platform rather than in the plunge pool. Be careful as the rope pull once at the bottom is quite difficult.

From here, you can take off your gear. A good trail exists from this point. Follow it down canyon to where you encounter an old water delivery system with a half-mile of pipe used by an old settler. You will reach a good campsite at the intersection with Grant Creek Trail #305. Turn right and follow the Grant Creek Trail up to the rim. Once at the top, you will encounter a junction with the Cunningham Trail. Turn right at this 3-way junction and follow the trail to the Cunningham camp-ground. At the camp-ground road, turn left and follow the road back to your vehicle.

Water Sources
Water runs along the canyon; there will be none along Grant Creek Trail.

There is a well-used campsite at the junction of the canyon and the Grant Creek Trail. Although I consider it unlikely, it is possible you could set up a camp here and complete the loop the next day.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your canyon trip to support this local community.

2010-09-06 nonot
    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.

    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 canyon trip
    From Safford, take Highway 191 south to Swift Trail (366). Turn right (west) and climb 20-something miles onto Mt Graham. A mile past the Grant Creek TH is the turnoff on the south (left) for Cunningham camp. Turn left onto the road, and a few parking spots are located within 50 ft.
    page created by nonot on Sep 06 2010 9:38 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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