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Short Trip to the Ruins
Willow Creek Loop North is in the northeast section of the Granite Basin Recreation Area and provides access to trails #345 and #347 without paying a fee. It includes a pasture, some hills and rocks, and Native American ruins. It is easy hiking through a lovely area and is combinable with Willow Creek Loop (#347 & #345), for a longer hike. All junctions of named and numbered trails are marked.
The trail begins at the southwest corner of the parking area. I've described the hike in the clockwise direction, though you could hike the loop in either direction. At the Willow Trail #347 junction and the Tin Trough Springs Trail #308, N34 39.403 W112 31.114, keep to the trail on the left, #347. Follow this for 1.25 miles through a pasture area on the right and in the back of houses on the left to a gate and the junction of trail #347 and Mint Wash Trail #345. Go through the gate and continue on trail #347 for 0.28 miles to a spur trail on the left at N34 38.309 W112 31.294. Take this trail 0.16 miles to the Janet Site with Native American ruins. Be careful not to disturb anything while exploring this hilltop area.
Return to trail #347 by the spur trail and then back to the gate via #347. Be sure to pass through the gate to reach the junction of trails #347 and #345. There is a junction of these trails just before you reach the gate, but this end of trail #345 takes you to Granite Basin Lake rather than back to the trailhead where you left your car. So pass through the gate and at the junction of trails #347 and #345 go left. Hike 1.25 miles over a hilly area with Granite Mountain to the west (left if you hike the loop clockwise). Two unmarked trails are coming in from the east as you hike, which I think are part of a side trail that follows the top of the hill, but I didn't explore them and so don't know for sure. The junction of trails #345 and #308 that you need to return to the trailhead is well marked at N34 39.278 W112 31.948. Turn right here and follow a wide, smooth trail 1.0 mile back to the trailhead. When I did this in late September, the fields were yellow with wildflowers. Gorgeous!
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.