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Road to Nowhere - FR 861, AZ

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Guide 41 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Safford
3.5 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,695 feet
Elevation Gain 800 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2-3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.6
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
2  2019-09-09 fricknaley
15  2018-06-28 SkyIslander18
15  2017-01-17 SkyIslander18
1  2016-09-14 fricknaley
14  2014-01-23 SkyIslander18
8  2013-08-28 PrestonSands
7  2013-08-28 SkyIslander18
4  2013-05-14 SkyIslander18
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Author SkyIslander18
author avatar Guides 3
Routes 0
Photos 4,732
Trips 1,677 map ( 8,662 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Small Town USA
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Sun  6:03am - 6:25pm
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over the rainbow
by SkyIslander18

Known locally as the Road to Nowhere, Forest Road 861 was started in the early 70's using prison labor and was to be a "new" road up to the top of the Graham mountains (Pinalenos). The project stalled when funding ran out and the road was never completed.

The first 2 miles can be driven, but is much more enjoyable & scenic to hike with many outstanding overlooks down onto the Gila valley below along the way. The last 0.3 miles must be hiked as it rounds the mountain.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2018-02-01 SkyIslander18
    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 of 28 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Road to Nowhere - FR 861
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    Sunrise start.
    Don't often get to see this one in the early morning and it was beautiful watching the sun light up the mountain, road & Gila Valley below!
    Hiked the full road including the foot trail around to the "bowl" overlook.
    Everything looked awesome, well ..... except for all the new graffiti on the Jacobson overlook wall and now up the entire road. Lots of Joanie loves Chachi pumpkin, but some of it actually looks cool ..... :|
    Good wildlife this morning including - 7 deer, 3 piggies, several vultures, hawk, ridiculous amount of bunnies and 4 of those fricknaley scaredys.
    I really enjoyed this morning one up :D

    Road to Nowhere - FR 861
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    Arrived at the parking area to see my old buddy heading up the road.
    Cool! Got to go up with a friend I haven't hiked with since my Roper Lake days!
    At the end of the road he turned back and I continued on around the mountain on the foot trail to the "view". Relaxed under a favorite tree with a hot cup of coffee and the views before returning back down at sunset.

    This was my first visit to the upper section since the Frye Fire.
    The fire hit this entire area, but more heat scorched the trees then burned them. I believe this area should recover nicely in the coming years and that's a great relief ..... this road has always been very sentimental to me.
    Reunited with an old hiking buddy and the always great overlook views down onto the Gila Valley made this one

    Road to Nowhere - FR 861
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    Was gonna be a hike day ..... Na ..... don't feel like it today.
    Decided on just an afternoon of R&R somewhere on the lower mountain.
    I first drove up to the Round the Mountain trail/campground. Built a fire and seasoned some cookware for upcoming trips.
    I then hiked down to Noon Creek and also made a driving stop at the picnic grounds for a bit as well.
    Then a quick trip down to Angle Orchard for some tasty apples ..... better than Apple Annie's (yup, I said it).
    I finished with a very scenic drive up the RTN. Haven't drove the road in years (hike it most of the time) and remembered why, very rocky in several places and I had to apologized to my tires upon reaching the Jacobson Overlook. Spent the next couple hours watching a good thunderstorm move from Artesia northwest all the way across the Gila valley and on to Pima, It was Awesome to watch! Sat on the wall for sunset then watched a couple weak lightning storms in the far distance before returning home.
    Well spent afternoon.
    Road to Nowhere - FR 861
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    Upper half of Graham was socked in today.
    Road to Nowhere lies just below that level, so RTN today it was.
    I first encountered and had a fun interaction with the Forest Service horses that are put out on the road in the winter months ..... cool start!
    Then the standard up, up & around the mountain side to "the view".
    Did a little uphill climbing for more views before returning back down.
    Took in the cold sunset with the horses back at my truck, said my goodbyes and headed home.
    Road to Nowhere - FR 861
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    Can't believe it's been over 6 months since my last hike up.
    This use to be a monthly deal, and will become one once again.
    There is a lot of new graffiti at the Jacobson overlook wall and like most everyone else, I hate it, but gotta say that some of it looks cool :?
    The overlook views down on the Gila Valley & up Mt Graham were very scenic as always and as a bonus, I encountered 2 joggers going up as I was coming down :o ..... kind of rare up there :)
    Road to Nowhere - FR 861
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    Afternoon hike up to the end of the road and back.
    Dark clouds, light occasional sprinkles & some claps of thunder along the way.
    Could see in a few cloud breaks that the high Graham peaks have received some more light snow.
    Good hike on the road as usual, need to make this more of a regular thing!
    Road to Nowhere - FR 861
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    Headed up the mountain in overcast socked-in conditions.
    Chose the RTN just under the cloud line.
    Very scenic throughout as I hiked just under the clouds and at one point through them.
    Took the foot trail at the end of the road around to the backside view then back.
    In the breaks I could see lots of new snow on the peaks!
    Snowshoeing, Ski Snowboarding or Tubing next ..... :-k
    Road to Nowhere - FR 861
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    Evening/night hike up the road with Addie.
    Several toads along the way from recent rains.
    Several cells producing lightning 360 from the top.
    The always awesome night time views down on Safford.
    Hiking again with my Bad :pk: partner.
    Road to Nowhere - FR 861
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    Stormy weather kept me indoors all day until what looked like a permanent late afternoon break in the clouds. I headed up the mountain as more stormy clouds moved in and played it safe with a hike up the RTN. First mile up it rained, second mile up it started snowing at 5000 ft, the same mile back down the snow fell harder and the last mile down it cleared up. Lots of dramatic weather scenery the whole way and what a great afternoon for wildlife sightings - 5 white-tails, 6 javelina & 6 of the forest service horses that live on the road.
    Road to Nowhere - FR 861
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    Moonlight hike up the RTN with Addie.
    The orange moon looked awesome as it rose tonight.
    The "Pinaleno Bowl" view around the mountainside was lit up nicely.
    The lights of the Gila Valley below looked so cool from the Jacobson overlook.
    Twas' a great night hike!

    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 / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Safford, head south on U.S. highway 191. Turn west onto state highway 366 (Swift Trail). Follow highway 366 for 5.8 miles and turn right onto Forest Road 861. Take FR 861 for .3 miles to large parking area on the right.
    page created by SkyIslander18 on Mar 01 2012 8:31 am
    3 pack - loud whistle
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