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Little Granite Mountain - McDowells, AZ

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Guide 21 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
3.8 of 5 by 6
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 3.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,620 feet
Elevation Gain 856 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,004 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 6.75
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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38  2019-04-12
Balanced Rock Loop
13  2018-03-08 FLYING_FLIVER
5  2015-01-02 mazatzal
12  2014-12-07
Coyote Canyon Loop MSP
12  2014-11-29
Granite Mountain Loop Trail - MSPN
3  2014-11-02
Granite Mountain Loop Trail - MSPN
1  2014-10-27
Whiskey Bottle Loop - MSPN
5  2014-09-28
Granite Mountain Loop Trail - MSPN
Page 1,  2,  3
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
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Jan, Dec
Sun  6:14am - 6:26pm
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5 Alternative
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    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
    Little Granite Mountain - McDowells
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Met at Granite Mtn Trailhead at 8:45 am for a McDowell Sonoran Conservancy wellness hike. I brought Caroline b/c she begged me and promised that she could handle it. "Is it with your blue shirt friends?" she asked. LOL, yes

    Took Bootlegger :next: Granite Mtn Loop trail :next: Coyote Canyon trail :next: Dove Mtn trail briefly to see "Michelin Man" cactus :next: 136th Street trail back to trailhead.

    This was Caroline's longest hike to date - and I was so proud of her behavior on the large group hike. She held my hand most of the hike and used her hiking stick a little. She ate all her snacks and carried her own water in her Grand Canyon junior ranger backback with a camelback water pack coming out the top.

    There are phenomenal stands of saguaro on Granite Mountain Loop - I think the prettiest trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. When you hit the newly acquired Coyote Canyon trail (old trail but recently changed from state land trust to MSP land) - - it really is a spectacular hike for old stands of saguaro.

    Double crested saguaro on Coyote Canyon Loop
    "Michelin Man" saguaro on Dove Mtn trail
    One of the oldest saguaros in MSP right next to crested arm near the water tank on Coyote Canyon Loop (see pics - they are GeoCoded)
    HUGE owl nest on 136th Street trail (i'm going to post pics in a different post to write up that hike segment)

    I also got to meet @ezpixels (she doesn't post here but does have an old account - but she's very active on Instagram and has written several books for the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy. She is a conservation photographer) -- I've "known" her for a year through IG and it was so great to meet her in person even if just briefly as she was biking by our group while we were in the little slot canyon. She created the MSC coloring books, Wildlife Book, Field Guide version 2.0, and makes christmas cards and prints of MSP photographs. Very talented lady!!

    What a hike to remember :)
    Little Granite Mountain - McDowells
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Today is our 12 year anniversary :D
    While my in-laws were in town for C's birthday - I took advantage of free babysitting and got up early for a wellness hike as an MSC Steward to shadow hike assist.

    Huge group for this hike. It was pretty cold and I needed my jacket most of the time. We kept a brisk pace but stopped 3 or 4 times to keep group together and point out natural landmarks, etc. McDowell Sonoran Conservany is a great organization - - highly recommend that fellow HAZers that frequent the McDowell trails join the MSC as donors or stewards or citizen scientist or all of the above. Lots of free lectures around town, guided hikes, nature guide activities. It's not just for retired people. You can subscribe to the email of upcoming activities through the MSC website or follow on Instagram. (Facebook and Twitter are not updated)
    Little Granite Mountain - McDowells
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Got out for a great Monday hike in the Scottsdale Sonoran Preserve with my friends Larry and Julia.

    Started at the Fraesfield Trailhead and managed to find a place to park. Headed out on Whiskey Bottle trail up to the Powerline Road #2. East for just a smidge to Chuckwagon Trail. Followed that to Balanced Rock trail, and guess what?? There's a giant balancing on an even bigger giant rock!! Pretty cool. Continued on Balanced Rock to Granite Mountain Loop and jumped off on Granite Mountain trail and crossed the Powerline Road #2 trail south onto Black Hill trail all the way back to the trailhead.

    All the trails are fairly flat and we made great time! Lots of birds hiding in the filled out bushes around every turn. Passed just a few other hikers, mountain bikers, and a couple of horsey women. Parking lot had double the number of cars in it upon return (2). Everyone I've taken up to Scottsdale Sonoran preserve seems to love it. It's a great retreat from all the other steep, rocky climbs found elsewhere in the valley.
    Little Granite Mountain - McDowells
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    First trip to the Granite Mountain trailhead in the Scottsdale Sonoran Preserve. I was rewarded with a super cool (67 degrees) pre-dawn temps! Amazingly smooth trails and easy ascents. Hardly any damage from the recent monsoon rains. A nice departure from the ankle busting hikes I've been doing lately. Finished the loop in just over 2 hours and temps had only risen to 84 degrees. Very nice indeed!!
    Little Granite Mountain - McDowells
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Date hike :budrose: tonight with husband. Started around 3:45pm and there were 6 cars in the parking lot which surprised me. Reminder there is no water at this trailhead.

    Our lasso loop route: 136th St express :next: Bootlegger :next: Saddlehorn :next: Granite Mountain Loop :next: Saddlehorn :next: Bootlegger :next: 136th St express :next: parking lot.

    We varied our loop a little (last time we did the entire length of Bootlegger before intersecting with GML trail). I liked the first way better, but Brad liked tonight's route better b/c we were closer up to mountainside. Both times we have gone counter-clockwise at sunset.

    Last time we slogged through Powerline trail at the end -yuck and boring, but it was pitch black dark. Tonight we finished in the most absolutely PERFECT light :D . Everything was cast in a silvery-purple tone. The granite formations are captivating on this trail. It's a beautiful loop with photo ops in every direction. Saguaros of every shape, size, configuration.

    Had dinner at Greasewood Flat and then dessert across the road at Pinnacle Peak Patio.
    Little Granite Mountain - McDowells
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Cholla & Little Granite Mountain Summits
    parked at the (little) granite mountain trailhead with three goals in mind:
    a decent length hike, further exploration of the mcdowell sonoran preserve north, and a summit or two
    it's hard to get any elevation gain on these trails, but they are perfect for trail running and mountain biking
    read up a little bit on flying_fliver's triplogs, as he has hit both peaks
    hit the trail around nine a.m. and it was still a little brisk
    started out on bootlegger, then took the southern leg of granite mountain loop
    continued on balanced rock trail, with a visit to the balanced rock
    that ran into cholla loop, and i took side trips to the amphitheater and cathedral rock
    went around the north side of cholla mountain, looking for a decent way up
    my track will show one failed attempt, but then found a smooth drainage to head up
    little vegetation but very steep scree so i planned on taking a different way down
    found the high point but no benchmark or register
    should have read flying_fliver's triplog a little more closely
    he recommended going off the east side, so that's what i did, although on a completely different line
    came to the east leg of cholla mountain loop and went north to branding iron trail and stayed on the north side of granite mountain on the loop trail, again looking for a good route up
    ascended the east side of the peak, and i can't say as i would suggest doing it that way
    a lot of cholla and cat claw, but some fun boulders to scramble on
    hit a saddle and still had a ways to go but finally made it to what i thought was the high point
    i could see another high point to the northeast where i found a benchmark and summit register
    spent a few minutes at the summit taking in the views of the surrounding mountains, although i thought cholla offered the best sights
    again, didn't want to go back the way i came up, so i went south to a saddle that led to a drainage down the west side
    this was a pretty good route
    from there i repeated part of the loop trail, even going up to the end of bootlegger to get a couple extra miles
    should have good tracks for branding iron and bootlegger
    the east side of this area is very pretty
    some lush spots, healthy vegetation, great terrain with the mountains and boulders, huge saguaros
    saw only six mountain bikers, two hikers and a trail runner all day
    long pants were a must for the off trail, in my opinion
    two new peaks and a fun day :)
    Little Granite Mountain - McDowells
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    McDowell Sonoran Preserve - North
    Checking out a new area and playing with a new toy. Tons of trail choices all in great shape.
    Saw a Coyote with a fresh rabbit kill run in front of me.

    All sorts of Emergency equipment from the parking lot to Dynamite/Pima on my way home.
    Never heard what was going on.


    :next: Perfect weather
    :next: The Virgin's Breast
    :next: Brown's Mountain views
    :next: Brown's Ranch Ruins
    :next: Cathedral Rock
    :next: Balanced Rock
    :next: The Amphitheater
    :next: Granite Mountain Loop
    :next: Cholla Mountain Loop
    Little Granite Mountain - McDowells
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    I hiked up Little Granite Mountain 19 months ago. Scottsdale owned the land then, but had not yet developed it as a hiking area.
    Now there’s a real trailhead at 136th St & Lone Mountain Rd (AKA Powerline Rd), plus many new and newly groomed trails, with a slew of trail names not yet documented on HAZ. I hiked on (or crossed) Bootlegger Tr, Granite Mtn loop Tr, Cow Poke Tr, Saddle Horn Tr and a few more.
    My GPS track won’t keep you on any of the trails very long, especially on my way up the mountain. (no trail to the top)

    My intent was to look over the area for future hikes with out-of-town guests, and also bushwhack up the mountain and check on GRAN Triangulation Station. 19 months ago, I had to dig it out of rock granules, 3 inches deep. This time, it again was buried.

    GRAN was monumented (1946) on the highest point of (surveyor’s words) “Granite Mountain, on top of a bedrock pinnacle, 12 ft high”. GRAN’s two reference marks are on large boulders nearby, easily seen from atop the pinnacle, if you know where to look. Gran Azimuth Mark was positioned a couple miles west, near the ruins of the Brown’s ranch house and corrals. (I found the azimuth on a previous hike.)

    I picture the surveyors having a bit of fun with this job. There’s just enough room atop the ‘pinnacle’ to do their work and establish a 5 ft wooden staff for distant viewing. A great location for a benchmark. In 1946 the surveyors drove to the base of the mountain from the still active Brown’s ranch, probably maneuvering around large numbers of cattle.
    There’s a summit log atop the pinnacle and another one lodged in a crack, low on the same pinnacle (I guess the 2nd one is for those who don’t want to climb up the pinnacle) :)

    As a bonus, I had a perfect spot to watch an aerobatic routine by a tiny biplane. The biplane was busy doing loops, split-S(s), barrel roles, and seemed to enjoy immelmans the most. He did at least 5 of them. I need a better zoom on my camera.

    From the top of the mountain, I could see Humboldt Pk to the north (Home to the white golf-ball-looking FAA Air Traffic Control RADAR facility), and to the south I could see Tom’s thumb sticking up, and surprisingly I could see the antenna farm on Thompson Pk. I could’t see the mountain - just the antenna - Cool :).

    Just before hiking off the mountain, I found a well hidden geocache in an ammo can. From there, I purposely hiked off the mountain to the northwest, so I could explore more of the new trails on my way back to the TH, southeast of the mountain.

    I give the trails an “A+” for all casual hikers and for out-of-town guests.
    Equestrians and bikers will also like the trails.
    Little Granite Mountain - McDowells
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    This is a really beautiful area - was my first time hiking from this TH. Barely any up and down and would be easy to jog. Gorgeous boulders and tremendous stands of saguaro. Expansive views on east side (going counter clockwise). All our summer rains have made this area particularly green and lush. Surprised by the concentration of saguaro and so many massive ones too. We did not go to the peak - did only the circumference. Still had fantastic views even without going to the peak.

    Parked in Granite Mountain trailhead parking lot (no water, no bathrooms). Took Bootlegger trail :next: Saddlehorn trail :next: Granite Mountain Loop trail :next: Granite Mountain trail :next: Powerline Road trail.

    Hiked in the dark for the last bit - heard a very loud rattle snake off to the side somewhere. Had dinner at Greasewood Flat and dessert at Pinnacle Peak Patio. Awesome date hike night!
    Little Granite Mountain - McDowells
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    The main goal of my hike was to find the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey benchmark called, GRAN Triangulation Benchmark. It is located atop, what is known locally as, Little Granite Mountain.

    The surveyors installed ("monumented" - is the word they use) the benchmark, way back in 1946. The surveyors also installed Reference Benchmarks #1 and #2. Those disks have arrows on them, pointing in the direction of the actual GRAN Triangulation Benchmark, which has a triangle on it. The triangulation disk, with the triangle on it, is the only disk (of the 3) used for surveying.

    Why install reference disks with arrows on them, you may ask?
    Well, these older benchmarks were "monumented" long before we all had GPS technology. The idea was, any future surveyors wanting to use GRAN for surveying, would read the GRAN Datasheet, produced by the original surveyors, and follow their directions on how to locate the survey benchmark. If they got in the area, & located one of the reference marks first, they would travel in the direction of the arrow on the reference mark, to find the actual survey benchmark. There's more to it than that, but you get the idea.

    Little Granite Mountain is located in Scottsdale, north of Rio Verde Drive, and west of 136th St. There's no true trailhead, so I parked near 136th & Powerline Rd.

    I hiked to this benchmark using the last portion of the "To Reach" info on the original surveyors' datasheet, from 1946. Back in 1946, the surveyors drove their truck from Brown's Ranch to the western base of the mountain, and that's where I started up the mountain. I used a more direct route back to my parked car.

    The hike has beautiful and unique views in all directions, & alot of cholla along the way.
    Enjoy the views & don't bring any cholla needles home with you.

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