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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.

Arcadia Trail #328, AZ

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Guide 18 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Safford
4 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 4.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,690 feet
Elevation Gain 2,699 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,742 feet
Avg Time One Way 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 14.04
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
18  2019-07-18
Arcadia Trail #328
18  2018-04-15 DarthStiller
8  2018-04-15 Tortoise_Hiker
7  2017-02-27 Oregon_Hiker
9  2016-03-24 cactuscat
10  2014-08-24
Heliograph Peak from Arcadia CG
17  2011-08-02 sirena
15  2011-05-28 SkyIslander18
Page 1,  2
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep → 9 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:07am - 6:16pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Once a fine forest
by HAZ_Hikebot

Likely In-Season!
Because of the notable views it offers, Arcadia Trail has been designated a National Recreation Trail, placing it among the most outstanding trails in the nation. Most people travel this popular pathway from Shannon Campground to Arcadia because it's mostly downhill in that direction. The course it follows winds in and out of stands of trees that are made up mostly of Douglas-fir, Engelmann spruce and quaking aspen on the upper end, while changing gradually to ponderosa pine and silverleaf oak on more southern facing slopes as the trail nears Arcadia Campground.

Near the upper trailhead there is an area that has been logged and remains relatively open where you may find some tasty wild raspberries if you come in late summer. Beyond a series of switchbacks at about a mile from the trailhead, Heliograph Trail #328A climbs to the top of Heliograph Peak where the rugged landscape of southeastern Arizona forms a sweeping, unbroken panorama. Many who use this trail take this spur and follow the Heliograph Road back to Shannon Camp for a loop of about 4 miles.

As the trail drops toward Arcadia it provides good views of distant peaks and nearby canyons. Just above Arcadia Campground, the trail crosses a small drainage shaded by riparian species such as box elder and bigtooth maple. There are usually some colorful wildflowers here as well. Watch for black bears and white-tailed deer along the trail, and for Aberts squirrels scurrying among the trees.

Note: Heliograph Peak Trail #328A and Noon Creek Ridge Trail #318 branch off the Arcadia Trail.

Hikes to consider:
- 3.2mi / 1024ft Heliograph Peak via Shannon GC
- 10mi / 3322ft Heliograph Peak via Arcadia CG
- 4.25mi / 1030ft Heliograph Peak Loop
- 8.5mi / 2550ft Noon Creek Ridge Trail #318

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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

2008-06-12 HAZ_Hikebot
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  • 100 Classic Hikes - 2007
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    100 Classic Hikes - 2007

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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
Arcadia Trail #328
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Solo afternoon trip up into 10,000 ft land.
Chose the counter clockwise route for this day.
Added the out-n-back spur trail at the start.
T shirt weather on the climb up, pullover fleece on top and down Arcadia.
The aspens are a turnin', good amount of summer flowers left, still many raspberries left to pick, Shannon CG creek flowing very well & very green pines throughout.
Wildlife was scarce today producing only 1 white-tail doe sighting.
Arcadia Trail #328
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Solo backpack overnight from Shannon down to the Round the Mountain campground.
Addie gave me the ride up to Shannon so she gets a partner credit.

Day 1 - Hiked from Shannon down to just above Arcadia campground where I found a real nice primitive campsite on an overlook bluff. The hike down through the burn section was under clear blue skies, gentle breezes and with the great expansive views. That evening I settled into camp and spent the next few hours relaxing next to my most hypnotizing campfire, bed came early in the chilly 40 degree nighttime temps.

Day 2 - Awoke early to what I knew was coming from the previous weather forecast, very light snow was falling as I exited my tent later turning into light hail as the sun came up. Packed up camp at the first break in the weather and headed down the mountain. Took a quick shelter break at Arcadia CG then jumped onto the Swift Trail for the remainder of the hike down. It on and offed rained & hailed on me the entire morning. The lower Arcadia & Swift Trail looked amazing, full of vibrant autumn colors under the socked in weather. Made it down to the RTM TH by noon and with another grand Pinaleno experience locked in !!!
Arcadia Trail #328
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
This was a fun hike in March because the snow fall was still pretty heavy in some areas. It represented a challenge to find the trail at times and I even saw a skunk. Thankfully he moved from the trail so I could pass. I had to turn around after a point because the snow was up to my ankles and the trail disappeared.
Arcadia Trail #328
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Too bad the lookout has signs up that restrict tower access. When I got to the top it was mostly pea soup anyways.

The Arcadia trail starts out great, a wonderful trail for that first mile.

Ripe raspberries all over the backside (burned area). I helped myself to a few. And then a few more! Yum! Figured out I was competing with the bears. Plenty of evidence but none seen.
Arcadia Trail #328
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
It was my anniversary last week, so Brian and I went camping in the Pinalenos to celebrate. This is the third year in a row that I have visited this sky island in the summertime, but Brian had never been before. We drove up the Swift Trail in the afternoon and decided to camp at Hospital Flat- a large meadow covered in wildflowers. We had a nice meal and sat around the fire for a while. The stars were incredible as it had been a new moon the day before.

The next morning, I was rudely awoken by someone chopping wood at 6:30 am. I have not camped at an "official" campground in a long time, so I was a bit put off by our noisy neighbors. One family had four very small children who took turns crying and screaming, while our other neighbors had a father that was one of the most unbearably rude, loudmouthed people I've heard in a long time. Unfortunately, he wasn't there when we were setting up, otherwise we would have chosen another campground. He spent most of his time either yelling exuberantly or getting mad and swearing at his family, even the young girls. Ugh. I will never camp in a campground again. When Brian got up, he said that he would be willing to shuttle me so that I could hike the Arcadia Trail. The Arcadia Trail is designated as a National Recreational Trail- with a sexy name like that, how could I resist? The NRT website says that "National Recreation Trails (NRT) provide for numerous outdoor recreation activities in a variety of urban, rural, and remote areas. Over 1,000 trails in all 50 states, available for public use and ranging from less than a mile to 485 miles in length, have been designated as NRTs on federal, state, municipal, and privately owned lands."

The Arcadia Trail is 5.1 miles long and connects the Shannon Campground at 8900 ft. with the Arcadia Campground at 6700 ft. Brian drove me over to Shannon CG and a small bear ran right across the road in front of our jeep. This made me a little nervous for Brian- one of his worst fears is that I will be attacked by a bear, so I half-expected him to freak out. Thankfully, he was (at least outwardly) cool about it. I started from Shannon CG at 11:30 am, a little late for monsoon season, but I was prepared for rain. I was a bit on-edge as I started on the trail. Maybe it was the giant amount of tea that I'd had in the morning. The trail started out benched into the hillside shaded by pines and dotted with lichen-covered boulders. I was able to snack along the way on handfuls of ripe wild raspberries that were growing all along the trail. The trail switchbacked up the hillside and I huffed and puffed along, reaching the turnoff for Heliograph Peak at about 9500 ft. That would have to wait for another time. The Arcadia Trail went into a much more open environment on the scorched hillside and there were fantastic views down into the valley.

There were quite a few downed trees on the trail, and when I was trying to hop over one of them, my foot caught and I took a fall and scraped up my wrist. Thankfully, it was only a scratch and I reminded myself to be a little more careful. I was a little wary of bears, so I made up a song to sing as I hiked downhill so that I wouldn't surprise any on the blind turns. The grade of the trail was pleasant as it switchbacked and traversed the hillside. The trail became a thin line through a large, fern-covered area of the hillside and I spotted a snake. A Twin-Spotted Rattlesnake, to be exact. This attractive little snake is only found in the Chiricahua, Santa Rita, Huachuca, and Pinaleno sky islands at elevations from 6,000 to 11,000 ft. It is a grayish snake with two rows of brownish-red spots running down the back. The little guy rattled at me and ducked into some of the ferns on the ground before hiding under a log.

Video of the fern-covered hillsides:

The trail was easy to follow and there were cairns placed in areas where deadfall had obscured the trail. I passed the Noon Creek Trail junction in a pine-covered shady spot that had been spared by the fire. The Arcadia CG was visible two trail miles away in the valley below. As I lost elevation, the vegetation changed and oaks and red-barked madrone trees began to appear. The trail was on a ridge between two forks of Wet Canyon and I began to hear rushing water below. Eventually, the trail crossed Wet Canyon and was benched high on the hillside as the canyon steepened below. The canyon was lush with greenery and yellow columbine and the trail was a large, duff-covered path. I knew I was approaching the campground when I passed a woman with her five children. She asked that her children step aside and let me pass. One of them, a little girl, looked up at me and asked her mom in all seriousness, "Is she going to die?" Weird. The five miles and 2300 feet of elevation loss took me a little under two hours, plus a half-hour for breaks. I arrived at the campground in plenty of time for my 2pm rendezvous with Brian, who was happy to see that I had not been mauled by a bear in the least.
Arcadia Trail #328
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
"Can't believe I've never hiked this trail before" went through my mind a dozen times as I made my way from the bottom to the top of this outstanding trail. I now know why this has been designated a National Recreation trail! I arrived at Upper Arcadia (6am) to find it completly full for a family reunion and had to park along the Swift Trail. There were so many campers that I was weaving my way around tents that were pitched right ON the first 100 yards of the trail. Once through the mess, I was just blown away by the scenery of this trail! Some of the best views I've ever seen on the Pinalenos all the way up to the top. The forest on the last half of this trail was completly destroyed by the 2004 Nuttall/Gibson fire but, I found it just as beautiful as the lower half with all the young aspens & fern fields throughout! Having hiked Heliograph Peak loop the week before, I made the junction on top my turnaround point and headed back down. I rarly encounter other hikers on Pinaleno trails so I was a little surprized to meet 2 on the way up & 8 on the way down including one on a horse :o

This trail now has a place on my "Pinaleno Fav 5" list and I'll be back often to hike it! No big wildlife sightings on this trip but, I did find a lot of bear tracks & poo on the upper half and about 200 two legged creatures at the lower half enjoying the start of the Memorial weekend.

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 Arcadia Trailhead
From Safford, head south on U.S. highway 191. The trailhead is at the Upper Arcadia Campground and Picnic Area off Swift Trail (AZ 366) 11.5 miles from the AZ 366/US 191 intersection. The trailhead is at the rear of Upper Arcadia Campground, next to the group campsite, just past the signed main Campground. The small gravel road breaks off to your right at the curve in the Swift Trail (366) just above the campground. It is easy to miss.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 3 h 12 min without traffic
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 2 h 4 min without traffic
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 4 h 54 min without traffic
page created by joebartels on Jun 12 2008 11:11 am
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