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Blackjack Spur Trail #568A, AZ

Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3 of 5 
no permit
15 3 0
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,238 feet
Elevation Gain 290 feet
Accumulated Gain 303 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.52
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
3  2009-03-19 PrestonSands
12  2008-10-16 PrestonSands
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 169
Routes 148
Photos 5,617
Trips 1,516 map ( 7,711 miles )
Age 43 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Sep → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:29am - 7:16pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 1994 Mule Fire5.2k

It's not the destination, it's the journey.
by PrestonSands

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This hike follows what is known as the "Blackjack Trail" (trail #568), and its spur trail #568A, from Blackjack Campground to a little hilltop overlook in Arizona's Big Lue Mountains. If you are camping in the area, this hike makes for an easy outing. If you are looking for something more adventurous, it should be possible to connect with the 8345 trail in Coal Creek Canyon, roughly a 1.5-mile off-trail journey to the northeast from the end of this hike (study a topo map first). Although this hike follows a road and ATV trails, it is highly unlikely that you will encounter anyone else in this out of the way place.

The hike begins at the Blackjack Campground, along highway 78. About 500 feet east and directly across from the campground entrance is a spur road that passes through an opening in the barbed wire fence, near a large dirt pile. This is mile 0.0 for this hike. Although unmarked, this is trail #568 (Blackjack Trail). Park at the campground, and start following the road (trail 568), after passing through the barbed wire fence. After passing a cattle pond, the road makes a sharp bend to the right and reaches a pass among the tall pines. The road rapidly deteriorates into a lightly used ATV trail when it drops down the pass's east side.

At 0.6 miles, trail 568 reaches the bottom of White Mule Creek and makes a sharp right to follow it upstream. After traveling along the west bank of White Mule Creek for a tenth of a mile or so, the trail descends into the creek bed. At this point (33.06112 N, 109.07308 W) trail 568A, in the form of an ATV trail, splits off to the left to begin a climb up the east side of the canyon. Tall ponderosa pines give way to a healthy stand of border pinyons before the trail reaches a "T" junction at the top of a ridge at 1.0 miles. Go right (south) at the junction.

Trail 568A now heads south along the rocky spine of a ridge that offers views of the surrounding wooded canyons and comes to a rain gauge/weather station tower at 1.1 miles. At this point, the trail becomes a bit more primitive but is still readily apparent.

Turning southeast to continue along the rocky ridge, the trail crosses a saddle and passes a nice viewpoint ledge on the north side of a rounded hill, before reaching another saddle at 1.3 miles. At this saddle, our trail makes a left (northeast), climbs briefly, and reaches an open hilltop overlook at 1.4 miles. At this spot, one can enjoy 360-degree views of Maverick Hill, the Big Lue, and White Mountain ranges, and New Mexico's towering Mogollon Mountains.

A vague path does continue east from the hilltop along the gentle ridge, but it peters out within a quarter-mile.

Return the way you came.

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2008-10-22 PrestonSands
    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 $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To Blackjack CG Trailhead
    From Safford, head east on Highway 70/191. 10 miles from Safford, the highway splits, turn left onto Highway 191 and follow it for another 23.75 miles to a (4-way) highway junction known as "3-Way" (old drive-in movie theater and store). Go straight at the intersection. You are now on Arizona highway 78. Follow highway 78 for approximately 14.4 miles, to Blackjack Campground, at milepost 168.9. Turn right and park at Blackjack Campground.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 212 mi - about 4 hours 4 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 177 mi - about 3 hours 6 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 299 mi - about 5 hours 23 mins
    page created by PrestonSands on Oct 22 2008 12:17 am
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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