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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Blue Lookout Trail #71, AZ

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68 10 0
Guide 10 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Alpine > Alpine S
4 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance One Way 3.03 miles
Trailhead Elevation 9,043 feet
Elevation Gain -2,208 feet
Accumulated Gain 28 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 3.12
Backpack Possible & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
11  2015-08-29 sbkelley
35  2014-08-02
Primitive Blue Range
10  2013-05-25 BiFrost
7  2013-05-25 slowandsteady
5  2009-09-26 hhwolf14
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
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, Aug, Jun, May
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:06am - 6:13pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Likely In-Season!
Where there's a lookout you know the views have to be good. Unsurpassed panoramas, a touch of wild history, and access into one of the Blue Area's largest side canyons are some of the attractions offered by this steep, high country trail. The trail begins about 0.6 miles below the lookout but you'll want to hike up to the summit of Blue Peak to enjoy the panorama. The Blue Range and Blue River Canyon, Eagle Creek, Mount Graham and the Pinalenos to the south, the Mogollon Range in New Mexico and the canyon of the San Francisco River are just a few of the sights you can see from this vantage point. When you hike this trail be sure to bring along a map for the Gila National Forest in New Mexico as well as an Apache-Sitgreaves map to help you identify all the landmarks. If you can get a map of southwest New Mexico and southeast Arizona, you might be better off. The views are that big.

When you can tear yourself away from the views at the trailhead and start back down the trail, you'll find you're in for a steep trip down a switchback staircase. The first stop along the descent to KP Canyon is an old cabin that was once used as a home by the lookout. It was also once used as a hideout by a bank robber. The fellow held up a bank in McNary in 1921 reportedly to secure money the bank refused to loan him to bring his mother to the US from Germany. Neither his altruistic intentions nor the fact that he was about to give himself up was enough to avert the tragic course of events the robbery set in motion. One member of the posse that came to apprehend the unfortunate soul shot him down as he stepped out of the cabin with his hands up. If you're ever on Forest Road 249 at the west end of Williams Valley you might notice his crude grave marker. The posse buried him there on the trip back to town.

From the Blue Lookout Cabin, the trail drops down a steep drainage into KP Canyon to join the DP Trail. The going gets a bit rough here, so wear some good shoes with ankle support. As you're scrambling down those switchbacks and reaching for things to steady your balance, you'll probably notice there are quite a few bigtooth maples here. That should make this a good place to visit in the fall, especially if you like to see some reds and pinks to add to the gold of the aspens in the high country.

Notes: No mechanized vehicles (including mountain bikes) permitted in Primitive Area.

Trail Log:
0.0 Trailhead at McKittrick Trail #72.
0.9 Junction with Blue Lookout Trail #321, site of old cabin.
2.9 Junction with KP Trail #70.

USGS Maps: Strayhorse

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    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
    Blue Lookout Trail #71
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Primitive Blue Range
    This was intended to be a nice and easy over-night hike with hopefully some good fishing and a nice camp site along the creek.

    The fishing turned out to be a dud, nothing like Grant Creek. I just don't see how any of the sections I fished could sustain Apache Trout. The conservation officer's grim outlook for KP Creek still supporting Apache Trout seems to have been warranted. He felt the fire had probably simply got too hot along large stretches of KP Creek and damaged to much of the valuable canopy needed to shade and keep the water cool. The lack of fish was not the end of the world to me, in fact, it was somewhat expected yet, it did change my plans slightly as I really was not ready to just set up camp at 11 in the morning, one can only do so much reading. I decided to just keep progressing on loop and maybe find a nice campsite in the higher elevations.

    I never found a nice campsite in the higher elevations and some real nasty storm clouds had me considering skipping Blue Peak for the moment and pushing for the car. I could car camp somewhere that night and hit a whole new trail the next day. I was happy I went for the car! Although, it did not take much distant thunder and light rain to expedite this decision. My scientific method of looking at the water in the dog's dishes leads me to believe the dogs and I got about 2.5 or more inches of rain dumped on us from Saturday evening until our Sunday morning retreat.

    Trail Run-Down.

    KP South Fork-Pretty good shape for Primitive Blue Range, easy to follow, ends at two beautiful waterfalls. I was a day light on really seeing them push some water.

    Blue Lookout Trail-I give this trail two emphatic :pk: :pk: based on my new unofficial Primitive Blue Range Trail rating system. The pumpkins represent a fraction of poor language used to navigate this overgrown, non-existent, and slightly steep trail.

    Blue Cabin Ruins Trail- See above trail rating guide. Missed the cabin ruins, missed a few of upper switchbacks and can't really say for sure how much of this very short trail I actually covered.

    I ended up staying at the TH for Blue Lookout Tower and Indian Peak also the beginnings of the Blue Cabin Ruins Trail and the Mckittrick Trail. However, I woke up to torrential rain and about 25 meters of visibility. At that point it was hard to justify the effort it would take to navigate the very rough looking McKittrick Trail for the 50 meter panoramic views from atop the largest peak in the Primitive Blue Range. I cancelled that mission, regrouped and headed for the first trail without rain.

    Side Notes:

    I am going to do some route manager work on my last two Blue Range trips, as there are some desperately needed official routes in there that could fill voids on some description pages for that area. The area in general is so deficient on reliable current information all the standard forest service excerpts on the description pages are pre-fire and only worth so much. However, I kind of like that aspect of making the long trek out there it certainly makes it interesting. I will have to say there are probably not too many wilderness areas in AZ rivaling the Blue Range in terms of ruggedness and challenge. Some of those trails have simply been lost to time and lack of use. Most have already given way to nature's advance or are regressing rapidly. However, I am here to tell you there are still some areas worth visiting out there, rumors of the areas demise are perhaps a little over-stated.
    Blue Lookout Trail #71
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I did this trail as part of a KP Cienega-Blue Lookout-KP Creek-KP Cienega Loop. I 'hopped' over the ridge from the KP Cienega TH to FR84 and hiked it to the real TH. From there I climbed up to the peak/tower to enjoy the breathtaking views up on top of the world and then descended down to KP creek below before hiking back out to my vehicle. On this section, I saw lush meadows, a couple deer, mushrooms, and many flowers 50-100ft pines, firs, & aspen, :)
    Blue Lookout Trail #71
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    We ascended most of this trail as part of a loop hike involving the McKittrick Trail #72, KP Trail #70 and Blue Cabin Trail #321. It was a great loop hike and I've posted detailed trip logs for all 3 of these trails on this site. The start of this trail at the bottom of KP Canyon can be hard to locate so you may want to bring a topo of the area. Basically you'll be looking for a feeder drainage into KP Creek coming in from the south. It's located 2.7 miles down canyon from the intersection of the North Fork of KP Trail #93 and KP Trail #70. I didn't come this way but looking at my topo it should be the second good sized feeder drainage coming in from the south. There's an old trail sign on the north side of KP Creek which indicates the turnoff if in question but you may have to look for it. We didn't notice it at first but we were coming from the other direction. That brings us to the up canyon side of this intersection. It's a .9 of a mile hike from the intersection of the McKittrick Trail #72 and KP Trail #70. Look for the first south feeder drainage you encounter and that'll be it. The start of the Blue L.O. trail is hard to spot probably from the occasional floods that redecorate the area but once you ascend 20' of the trail it is real easy to follow. Note 1; Interestingly all the info I read said this trail is 2.9 miles long but the above mentioned trail sign stated 4 miles. We were somewhat surprised to find that this feeder drainage which you will follow all the way to at least the Blue Cabin Trail #321 turnoff had flowing water in it in mid July. The entire trail is nicely forested with about 10 minor creek crossings to negotiate. It is all a moderate uphill climb with an elevation gain of approximately 2400', I would tend to think that the 4 miles that was posted on the sign IS the actual distance. My legs sure felt it. Note 2; We saw a large deer who stopped to watch us on this trail and noticed quite a few overturned rocks which for those of you who don't know; Bears like to flip them over on their hunt for food. After about 2 hours hiking up this trail we came to the intersection of the Blue Cabin Trail #321. There's a sign that says Blue Lookout Tower 1 mile and Trailhead 3/4 mile up the Blue Cabin Trail #321. Since we had already visited the Lookout earlier in the day at the start of our loop we unfortunately went up the Blue Cabin Trail in hopes to find the remains of it. It's not on that trail, it's located off this trail! If you continue up this trail to go to the lookout you'll encounter some switchbacks that are supposedly steep, the cabin ruins and the end of this trail. You'll meet the McKittrick Trail #72 here, go left at this intersection and hike another 1/2 mile and your there. It's worth the trip. If you go right at the intersection it will take you .8 miles to the TH parking lot at the end of FR 84 for the McKittrick Trail #72 and Blue Cabin Trail #321. One last thing when we passed the intersection of the McKittrick #72 and the Blue Lookout #71 trails earlier in the day the upper part of the Blue Lookout #71 that we could see was in great shape although there is major amounts of downfall off the trails around here. Happy Trails...

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    Map Drive

    To hike
    Drive south from Alpine 29 miles on US 191 to Forest Road 84 (Blue Lookout Road). This is the first left after the road to the Salt House Trail and it is signed "Dead End." Drive east on this primitive road about 6.5 miles to an open flat where the road is closed and there is a dirt parking lot. From this point follow the McKittrick Trail #72 one mile to its junction with the Blue Lookout Trail.

    Backcountry Access: You can also access the blue Lookout Trail via the KP Trail from KP Cienega Campground. It's a 5 mile hike from the campground to the junction of KP and Blue Lookout Trails in KP Canyon.
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