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Grant Creek Canyon, AZ

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90 6 0
Guide 6 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Safford
Rated
4.2
4.2 of 5 by 5
 
3
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
Canyoneering
Consensus
View 2
Grade3
WaterC
Risk
TimeIV
Statistics
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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  2017-03-11
Grant Creek Trail #305
SkyIslander18
20  2017-02-26
Grant Creek Trail #305
SkyIslander18
36  2013-06-15 RedRoxx44
47  2011-09-10 Vaporman
7  2010-09-06 nonot
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
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Preferred   Aug, Sep → 6 AM
Seasons   Late Summer to Early Autumn
Sun  6:49am - 5:19pm
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Route Scout App
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Official Route
 
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Water
Nearby Area Water
Cunningham Campground
0.0 mi away
Moonshine Creek
Moonshine Creek
0.1 mi away
2.3 mi
211 ft
Cunningham Spur
Cunningham Spur
1.0 mi away
3.2 mi
470 ft
Cunningham Loop Trail
Cunningham Loop Trail
1.1 mi away
7.6 mi
1,212 ft
Grant Hill Loop
Grant Hill Loop
1.1 mi away
4.2 mi
485 ft
Hospital Flat Nature Trail
Hospital Flat Nature Trail
1.4 mi away
1.3 mi
196 ft
Hospital Flat Campground
1.4 mi away
Upper Hospital Flat
1.5 mi away
Big Creek Trail #320A
Big Creek Trail #320A
1.5 mi away
3.2 mi
823 ft
Treasure Park Campground
1.6 mi away
[ View More! ]
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Waterfall splendour at a price
by nonot

Overview: A technical canyoneering loop utilizing Grant Creek Trail and Cunningham Spur Trail.

Warning: 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 caribiners, 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.

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

Hike: From the trail-head near Cunningham camp-ground 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 manoeuvring 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 camp-site 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.

Camping: There is a well-used camp site 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.

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 $$
    None

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


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    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
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