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Heliograph Peak from Shannon GC, AZ

Guide 29 Triplogs  1 Topic
  3.8 of 5 
142 29 1
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 3.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,998 feet
Elevation Gain 900 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,010 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.25
Interest Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
6  2022-06-12
The Raspberry Laden Heliograph Trail
42  2019-10-18
45  2016-07-17
Heliograph Peak Loop
6  2016-06-18
Heliograph Peak Loop
12  2016-06-18
Heliograph Peak Loop
7  2016-06-05 FOTG
9  2016-02-22 SkyIslander18
9  2015-07-26 FOTG
Page 1,  2,  3
Author Desertboots
author avatar Guides 8
Routes 0
Photos 114
Trips 14 map ( 68 miles )
Age Female Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
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Preferred Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep → 10 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  5:31am - 7:21pm
Official Route
6 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2017 Frye Fire48.4k
🔥 2004 Nuttall30k
🔥 View (All) - over Official Route 🔥

Ride em Butterfly
by Desertboots

Likely In-Season!
I love the Pinaleno Mountains. They are by far the best Arizona has to offer as far as the "Sky Islands". I don't want to say this too loud, as I like the serenity up there and would like to keep the riff-raff out. But, there is still plenty of riff-raff that goes up there as it is. I can never understand why people go to the wilderness to listen to loud music. They ruin my harmonious communing.

I camp out there when I go because it's a four-hour drive from Phoenix. I have been camping at the Shannon Campground, as it is one of the nicest. There are still plenty of other campgrounds, with facilities and without. There is also a slew of great hiking trails. I have only hiked Heliograph Peak, Ash Creek, Cunningham Loop, and Webb Peak. If anyone can tell me more about the trails in the Pinalenos, please let me know. I have discovered trails going off everywhere just from snooping around places in the mountains, and I have no idea where they go. I'm a little leery of just traipsing off on one of these unmarked trails, as they are unknown, and I might get lost or eaten by a bear.

From the Shannon Campground, the trailhead is at the end of the campground at the turnaround. There is a marker for "Arcadia Trail" right there next to the "doody shack", as I call it. Start in here. You'll have a beautiful and completely flat walk for about 15 minutes, and then the trail will start to climb. At the point where you start to climb, look for another trail going downhill. I placed a cairn there today but have no clue whether it will stay. This, I believe, is the "old" trail. If you take this trail and go downhill, you'll end up back at Shannon. It's a completely un-maintained trail, and you'll have a lot of fallen timber to hop over. I hiked this part from Shannon, starting at the creek and following it along the old trail. It swung around, went by a spring with water bubbling out of the ground, and climbed up to the point on the new trail I am now describing. It was interesting but pointless.

You'll switchback in the shade of conifers and aspen. Once at the top, you'll see the cut-off for the Arcadia Trail. This will take you 4 miles down to the Arcadia Campground. I have never gone this way, as I would never be able to get back up. I would say it's best done in a two-car shuttle. Keep climbing. You'll get to a rocky area where you'll actually go through a sort of pass. Then it takes you down for a little bit before starting in on more switchbacks. When you think you're at the top, think again. The trail turns south and keeps climbing. Suddenly you're in a clearing, and you can see the fire towers and some forestry buildings. It's here you see the road and think, man, I could have driven!

From here, you turn around and go back the way you came.

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2002-05-29 Desertboots
    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 $$

    Coronado Forest
    MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
    Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Shannon CG Trailhead
    From Safford, head south on SR 191. Turn west onto state SR 366 (Swift Trail) and follow 20.9mi. Turn right and follow 0.2mi to Shannon Campground.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 193 mi - about 4 hours 4 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 143 mi - about 2 hours 41 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 338 mi - about 6 hours 7 mins
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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