GET Segment 15 overview
When Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado led his expedition across the Southwest in 1540, he followed a route that ran close by today's Highway 191 from Clifton to Alpine. Coronado came in search of the storied Seven Cities of Cibola - that is, for gold - but today's visitor finds a more enduring treasure along the scenic byway dubbed the "Coronado Trail" - mile after mile of untamed natural splendor.
The GET in Segment 15 also passes this way, in turn following a route loosely described by the two-lane mountain highway. Hikers arriving at the Granville Campground trailhead to begin this segment, whether by foot or by vehicle, will already be familiar with the torturous curves for which the Coronado Trail is (in)famous; in fact there are several hundred of them en route to Alpine, the nearest town for northbound touring vehicles. Trading asphalt for dirt, the GET soon rejoins trail of the foot-traffic sort, contouring along the scenic slopes of 7000+ foot summits. Mitchell Peak, a lightly forested crest along a ridge faceted with crests, typifies the complex topography here at the southern edge of the Blue Range, itself only a portion of Arizona's vast Central Highlands region below the Mogollon Rim.
Among the Apache National Forest trails that the GET follows here are Granville Trail 572, Frye Trail 12, HL Canyon Trail 11, and Pigeon Creek Trail 465, the last of which is predominantly an old 2-track road. The segment ends at Forest Route 475, which is accessible to passenger cars in dry weather and, with the segment's starting access point, offers a convenient option for a one-way overnight trip. Forested camping is available in HL Canyon a little over half-way along, with probable water at Frye Spring and Mud Spring. Frye Spring is located along an alternate route in this segment, intended for use whenever water may be hard to come by at Granville Campground.
A detailed, mile-by-mile description of this segment is available in the official GET guidebook. See www.GrandEnchantmentTrail.org
This segment of the GET forms part of a longer trip option between resupply locations, as described below:
GET Segments 15 - 18, Morenci to Alma & Glenwood
The jumbled ridges of Arizona's Blue Range unfold northward and the GET contours along their slopes, following foot trail flanked by live oak and manzanita, interspersed with shady conifers and secluded maple groves alive with color in autumn. Views eastward extend to the Mogollon Mountains along our route in New Mexico, and to the nearer canyon system of the Blue River, toward which we now descend. Fording this small river in a remote setting, the wildness of the scene before us is truly written in the sands at creekside, where Merriam's turkey, black bear, and mountain lion leave telltale trace of their passage. Foot trail resumes en route toward prominent Maple Peak (8000'), from which a vantage of the Blue Range Primitive Area unfolds toward the Mogollon Rim. Descending to reach the Arizona/New Mexico boundary, the GET joins forest roads and heads east through classic New Mexican juniper-grassland toward the small ranching community of Alma, 4 miles north of more tourist-oriented Glenwood.
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.