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Grant Creek Trail #74 - Blue Range, AZ

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171 17 1
Guide 17 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Alpine > Alpine S
3.5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Distance One Way 9.15 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,957 feet
Elevation Gain -3,565 feet
Accumulated Gain 50 feet
Avg Time One Way 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 9.32
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack Possible & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
14  2018-07-20
Moonshine Park - Blue Range
13  2016-09-03 friendofThunderg
9  2016-07-22 haggster
13  2015-07-20 friendofThunderg
35  2014-07-17
Primitive Blue Range East
71  2014-06-21
Blue Range Primitive Area
7  2012-04-12
Moonshine Park - Blue Range
18  2012-04-04
Moonshine Park - Blue Range
Page 1,  2
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  6:04am - 6:15pm
Official Route
5 Alternative

Likely In-Season!
Grant Creek Trail is a major travel route between the rim and the floor of Blue River Canyon. Along the way, it offers a good sampling of some of the best the Blue country has to offer, from lush alpine forests to deep red rock canyons. Trail access (via Foote Creek Trail #76 is located close to Hannagan Campground, which accounts for the fact that this is one of the most well-used trails on the District). But don't let that deter you. No trail on the Alpine District is really crowded.

Grant Creek Trail wanders among cool forests for its first few miles, before beginning to seriously slope toward the canyon. The upland part of the trail offers good opportunities to see wildlife as you walk quietly through the trees. Some just hike this section of the trail and return via the more rugged Grant Cabin and Upper Grant Creek Trails to put together a day hike entirely within the cool confines of the forest.

As the gradient steepens, beyond Paradise Park, the forest becomes more open and views broaden. Panoramas of Blue River Canyon and the surrounding mountains form the horizon. The views of the mountains across the Blue and overlooks of the red rock formations along Grant Creek continue to improve as the trail follows a sloping ridge into the canyon. Long distance views then shrink as the horizon narrows, but you won't miss them as your attention turns to the natural sculptures of colorful red rocks that form the canyon walls here. These rugged formations set a photogenic contrast with the bright green of the box elders, narrow leaf cottonwoods, and Arizona sycamores that thrive in the moist, sheltered habitat. Also nestled between these walls are the pools and riffles of Grant Creek, which flows year-round. After providing a welcome opportunity to cool off, the trail stays with Grant Creek as the canyon broadens and continues toward the Blue.

No mechanized vehicles (including mountain bikes) permitted in Primitive Area. White Oak springs and Grant Creek provide reliable sources of flowing water.

Trail Log:
0.0 Trail terminus. Junction with Foote Creek Trail #76 at P-Bar Lake. Grant Creek Trail forks to the right, Foote Creek Trail forks to the left.
1.1 Trail switchback.
1.5 Junction with Grant Cabin Trail #306. There is a gate at this point.
2.7 Junction with Paradise Trail #74.
4.1 Spur trail to the left to White Oak Spring. Grant Creek Trail continues straight and begins descending an arid ridge.
5.9 Trail crosses Grant Creek.
8.8 Gate near moth of Grant Creek.
9.1 Trailhead adjacent to Blue River Road, Forest Road 281.

USGS Maps: Hannagan Meadow, Beaverhead, Bear Mountain.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

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
    Grant Creek Trail #74 - Blue Range
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    I made another pilgrimage to the Blue Range this holiday weekend, but with company for a change. I took Jackie and the pack down to the cabin site on Grant Creek for a day of fishing and checking Moonshine Park off the to do list. The fishing was great and Moonshine Park proved to be a worthy side trip.

    We hiked in the recently cleared P-Bar Lake Trail to Foot Creek and then down Grant to the cabin site. After about 15 minutes at the site, Jackie said, "Blanco smells something," I said, "I know probably a squirrel." Then moments later a bear went shooting out of the creek bed up the steep slopes of the canyon. Jackie's main goal was to see a bear over the weekend and we checked that off the list after a mere 15 minutes at camp! Although, Jackie was a little confused about the cinnamon color, having only seen a couple black bears in PA and may have double checked google on the way home to make sure it was not a grizzly that we saw. The fishing was great and I may have caught one of the largest Apache Trout most will ever see, but did release in good health. Moonshine Park is in great shape and is a gem of a little spot out there, but the trail is in need of some work. Great over night temps a lazy start the next day, a detour to Paradise Park and trail on the way back. We did not see anyone on the trails the entire time.
    Grant Creek Trail #74 - Blue Range
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    Primitive Blue Range East
    I made another semi ambitious trek into the Primitive Blue Range. More specifically, I made my first significant indents into the more remote eastern portions. I say "semi ambitious" because I took along Cup and had to scale back some of my ambitions. However, Cup ended up doing just fine, Blanco loved carrying her food and we only had to alter our day two plans slightly in her consideration.

    Day 1: I stayed at the Foot Creek Trail head and decided to just make the quick 2-3 mile drive up 191 in the morning to the trail head for P-Bar Lake Trail. Foot Creek TH is further off road has basic restroom facilities and forest service does not mind. The P-Bar Lake Trail is literally just a pull-off on side of road, not conducive to car camping with dogs. Day one miles seemed to go by and pile up fast. Grant Creek Trail is a really solid trail with minimal areas of complete fire devastation. The Paradise Park area is certainly in recovery phase, but looking very promising, with some stubborn ponderosa still alive and healthy guarding the meadows edges and several young 3-5 feet pine starting over among a mixture of fast growing aspen. Grant Creek Trail is a tad bittersweet though, as one can't help but think that eventually 9000 feet will have to be reached again after hitting a trip low of about 5,100 feet above sea level on the first day. Made camp at the intersections of Lanphier and Largo Canyon, great spot, probably pushed cup a little hard, (16.5 miles)threatened several times to storm but no significant rain.

    Day 2I wanted to go the Bear Mountain look out, but Cup was a little beat after a tough day one, so I decided to skip Bear Mountain and return to the Blue River via Telephone Ridge Trail and Sawmill Trail. Was nice to finally get some data for this area of Primitive Blue Range. It will come in handy when I make my next trek there, hopefully to finally include a little dual state action and a quick cross over into New Mexico. Something I think Blanco and I could have knocked out with about a 55 to 60 mile trip, oh and maybe another day. Day two camp superb, had Cup off trail very early in afternoon, read some, prepped camp, cooled off in creek.

    Day 3: A pretty standard hike out, however, did make a slight detour back down to Grant Creek via Paradise Trail #74. I am just trying to accumulate as much info for this area as I can, and I had not did that trail yet. In terms of miles, small detour, however, certainly added some more AEG to hike that I probably did not need and Cup almost certainly did not want. But the trail proved to be great! A real slice of "paradise" in spots, a tad tough to pick up near creek, some dead fall and erosion have really taken their toll on this trail's once much deeper cuts along the steep hillside leading down into Grant Creek. For a good laugh see my GPS Track where I turned around to go get my nice 16 dollar map, then stopped just under two tenths of a mile to return to pack where I was now sure I put it. Nope not in pack went back for map again, found about 100-200 feet further up trail from when I turned around first time. I had set map down to move a log in trail, never picked back up, but certainly not to proud to turn around twice in an attempt to recoup a $16.95 map.

    Final Notes: AEG is probably a tad inflated, however, hard to hide from AEG in Primitive Blue Range easy to rack up out there and while it may look high, it is probably not as off as some might think.

    Had to do more road walking then what I generaly like, but spirits were brightened by seeing a random white van with no windows driving around remote back roads with a personalized plate reading AMBRLRT, my thoughts exactly! At least he comes about it honestly.

    Product Review I brought out my new Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platinum. Two thumbs up, was initially worried about durability with dogs, however, had both in tent by second night, no issues. So light and compact, found myself stopping to make sure I packed tent! I was not able to field test it in a good storm, but nice results for steady lighter drizzles.
    Grant Creek Trail #74 - Blue Range
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    Blue Range Primitive Area
    Made another pilgrimage east to the Apache-Sitgreaves, more specifically the Primitive Blue Range area, or as my map says the Blue Range Wilderness and Primitive Area. However, even the latter is a bit of a misnomer, as currently the Blue Range has not achieved wilderness status in the eyes of Congress and to this day remains the last "primitive" designated area in the United States. Not sure what any of that means, however, anyone who knows me, knows that I would have a natural attraction to any area with the word primitive in its title. Similarly, since my first visit about a year ago, this area has really intrigued me. It was in this are that Aldo Leopold (arguably the founding father in American conservationism and ecology) obtained his first position working under the federal forest service. Leopold saw much in his day, he spoke fondly of the "mountain" in fact, one of his most famous written works, "Thinking Like a Mountain" is based off of his expediences in and around Escudilla and the Escudilla Wilderness area. So the question for me: could I find what gravitated Leopold to this area and transformed him into perhaps America's first conservationists, but 100 years later and after the greatest forest fire the Southwest has seen in contemporary times? Spoiler alert the answer is a resounding yes!

    A chance encounter with a game warden around 10:00 p.m. on Friday changed my plans slightly for the three days. He had personally just conducted a "shocking" and fish count of Grant Creek and gave me some pointers on where all the trout were congregated. However, if I were to hit these areas, I would have to modify my original route of Grant Creek Trail which stays high above the creek until crossing around the lower elevations where the Game Warden officer told me all the fish had been killed or can no longer exist due to warmer water temps caused by the destroying of their natural shade and the naturally warmer water at lower elevations. So from the intersection of trails #76 Foot Creek and #75 Grant Creek I took trail #306 down to Grant Creek and decided I would just fish and hike the whole stream length off-trail to its southern intersection with trail #75. If the fishing and beauty of Grant Creek were not as great as they were, this might have turned out to be a negative experience. Movement down stream was very slow at times, however, as I stated earlier the fishing was amazing and the creek beautiful so it negated the slow moving pace of boulder hoping, and down climbing water falls complete with three day pack and pole in hand, oh and along with keeping Blanco floating and upright through some of the deeper pools and obstacles. From there I made good time to the Blue River, passed through a little bit of civilization as I walked the forest road that connected my ambitious loop. I took the first opportunity to camp at a place marked the "box" on my map. This was one of first areas where there were not a dozen no trespassing signs or signs proclaiming the owner's willingness to shoot me if I stepped foot on their property. Day one turned out to be a little over 17 miles, camping was nice, but not spectacular, ate well, slept well.

    I thought day 2 would be a much easier day, however, that did not turn out to be necessarily true, thanks in part to some of my decision making. I hate to give a negative trail description, because with trails everyone has their own opinions, and I would not want to steer someone away from an area. However, Steeple Trail #73 is probably a trail one could leave off their to do list for the time being. The upper sections of the trail have really been damage by fire and the trip across KP Mesa is enough to make one yearn for a very quick change of scenery. However, that is simply not the case as you seem to hike forever to simply cross KP Mesa's fire damaged landscape where one can easily see areas that suffered 100 percent devastation from fire. From Steeple Trail #73 I took trail #70 into the KP Creek area. However, this trail got no better! In fact, I will give a fair warning, if you do not have a G.P.S route for this trail or sound topo reading skills, I would avoid this section of trail all together. One can safely say to some degree that this trail ceases to exist in several spots, littered with dead fall, washed out and very faint in the good spots. Nevertheless, we were doing just fine, traversing the several drainages leading to K.P. when I had the great decision to cut a mile or so off route and explore some off-trail sections of K.P. Creek. The whole situation reminded me of something my friend Jim always says when I am pondering short-cuts and more direct off trail routes. He always says, "if that way is shorter or easier, that would be the way." Well in this case that held to be 100% true. I could tell from cliffs along opposite side of creek that there was potential for not being able to cut down to creek and man did that hold true, cliffed out once, then took a side drainage only to come to an impassible pour-over so intimidating that I did not even snap a photo, Blanco and I finally broke through down about a 4-5 foot wide scree shoot, hit the creek where Blanco drank profusely and I silently chastised myself. One would think at this stage in the game I was done making those kind of mistakes, but something tells me that won't be the last time. We slowly made our way up the lower section of K.P Creek where the trail is a little tough to follow and made camp at a superb location.

    The final day was just an easy hike up K.P. Creek to K.P. Rim Trail, back to the upper section of Steeple Trail and back to the TH. Everything on this hike went well except finding my short connector trail to complete my K.P. Rim loop. Similar to the hike description, the turn-off for the trail is very hard to find and the forest fire certainly did not make it any easier. In fact, the author wrote had we not had the route downloaded we would have never found the turn-off. Unfortunately, the author failed to post "said" route to description, I guess his way of adding a little excitement for the next guy, we found it but you are on your own I guess. After accepting defeat I was reserved to back-track and make the less than 2 mile trek down 191 to my TH. However, this whole thought was leaving a bitter taste in my mouth, almost like a surrender, or a walk of shame in my mind. First a small voice contemplated just going off-trail the whole way until I found something to walk on. However, this voice was quickly drowned out by about 1000 sane other voices in my head who still had yesterday's folly fresh in their minds and they quickly and probably for the better got that thought out of my head. I then looked down and could clearly see the meadow I needed to get to, but no trail to get there. I said to myself I will go exactly .25 miles to meadow look for Steeple Trail #73, if I don't find, I turn right around. As luck would have it, after about 100 feet off trail I ran into my long lost connector trail.

    The trail now ran in a complete opposite direction of the trail featured on my G.P.S! Oh well no time to curse and dwell, I was happy to be on trails and heading back to car, went through some pretty bad burnt out sections, but oddly enough found some beauty in them. Whether it was the stubborn trees that refused to burn or the half million or so 5 to 15 feet tall Aspen blowing fiercely in the wind and the numerous reinvigorated meadows and cienegas, I found beauty in it all.

    Even with the adventure in finding my connector trail, Blanco and I still hit TH by 11:30 in morning.

    Final Notes:

    HAZ Appreciation I used a hike description from Arizonaed written in 2004 and it turned out to be pretty much spot on. Which is something to say, as he obviously wrote pre-Bear Wallow Fire. Route might need some small adjustments, but overall great hike description!
    Grant Creek Trail #74 - Blue Range
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    During my 10 day camping/hiking trip to the Hannagan Meadow area, this LOOP HIKE, starting out on the Steeple Trail#73 turned-out to be the one I most enjoyed of the five day hikes I was able to complete during my stay(5/30-6/8/07) at the Hannagan Campground.

    Hiking Route: From the Steeple Tr#73 / Foote Creek Tr#76 Trailhead(off Hwy#191 near MM231.5), begin on Steeple Tr#73 for 1.3mls down to intersection with Upper Grant Creek Tr#65; hike #65 down 4mls to intersection with Paradise Tr#74; hike #74 up 1.9mls to intersection with Grant Creek Tr#75; hike #75 up 2.6mls to intersection with Foote Creek Tr#76; hike #76 for 3.6mls ~level terrain back to the beginning TH and parking area; This wonderful and manageable 13.4ml LOOP HIKE has a total accumulated elevation of: 3838ft;

    Prior to doing this hike, I spent almost half a day on 6/5 having fun looking at maps and planning this above LOOP HIKE. Prior to leaving home for the trip, I discovered this "inner trail" called the Paradise Trail#74, so I already knew that one hiking day that I HAD TO MAKE IT TO THIS TRAIL..regardless!...I figured that any trail named PARADISE had to be worth whatever effort it took to get there :) ! It turned-out that I was correct...the scenic views and old forest growth on this trail section were great! This Paradise Tr is 4.2mls long, but on this planned loop, I was only able to include the upper 1.9mls of it for this trip, but I will be back one day to do the 2.3ml balance of the South/SW trail portion. Also, this loop included a most pleasant surprise with my inclusion of the 4 mile Upper Grant Creek Tr#65 which is "not" passable during the rainy seasons(usually not a problem in June). This trail desends a beautiful steep & deep, narrow canyon with huge old growth forest, beautiful & unusual dense (almost "rain forest like"..) vegetation along a very active, running creek. This primitive trail is somewhat difficult to follow at times, crossing over the creek numerous time, and would be almost impossible to follow when the creek water is HIGH. A lucky seven of us encounted much Bear scat and Elk signs while hiking this beautiful 4 mile trail to its end at the Paradise Trail#74 intersection.

    Also, this loop hike was the same day that 81MPH WINDS were clocked on the top of the Forest Service FIRE TOWER on ESCUDILLA PEAK! (see my Escudilla Tr trip log..dtd-6/7/07). For our afternoon 3.6ml hike on the Foote Creek Tr#76 back to the TH, we were actually having to "dodge and run over/under" falling trees due to these major high winds in the forest was actually pretty scary at times, but we did all get back safely.
    Grant Creek Trail #74 - Blue Range
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    This 16 mile trail goes deep into the Blue Range Primitive Area & Wilderness from Rim Top(at 9200')to Canyon Bottom (at 5520'). I joined my AOTC group this day to do a nice, manageable "in and out" day hike to the OLD GRANT LOG CABIN and back.

    Trail Route: At the Steeple Creek Tr#73 / Foote Creek Tr#76 TH- Start on trail#76 and continue ~mostly level for 3.6mls to the intersection of the Grant Creek Tr#75 at P-Bar Lake(more like a small pond now); Continue Right and downhill on #75 for 1.5mls to the intersection (at gate) with Grant Cabin Shortcut Tr#306; Continue downhill on Tr#306 for .5ml to intersection with Upper Grant Creek Tr#65; Turn Right on Tr#65 and continue ~level for not more than .1ml to a nice lunch spot next to active Upper Grant Creek and the Upper Grant Creek Trail OLD LOG CABIN. This nice "in and out" hike is 11.5mls and +/-1800ft;

    This is a great hike to get acquainted with some of the hiking areas East of Hannagan Meadow in the Blue Range Primitive Area and Wilderness. The first 3.6mls is a nice level walk (+/-200ft) in the woods, in an old growth forest/canopy of large aspen, fir, pine, and spruce trees. You will start the downhill trek (-1600ft) after turning right at P-Bar Lake on to the Grant Creek Tr#75. Lunch at the Upper Grant Creek Tr OLD LOG CABIN is a great photo op area next to active Upper Grant Creek. It was at this lunch spot that I got the idea to plan a hike (for 6/6..see Steeple Trail trip log) to do the entire 4ml Upper Grant Creek Tr#65. While the others were having lunch and doing photo ops, I hiked about 10 minutes further UP this primitive Tr#65 and I was convienced that it would be a wonderful hike to do!

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    Map Drive

    To hike
    Drive 23 miles south on US 191 to the south end of Hannagan Meadow and turn left (east) of Forest Road 29A to the Steeple/Foote Creek Trailhead and parking lot. Access the Grant Creek Trail #75 via the Foote Creek Trail #76 to P-Bar Lake. Or, drive 3 miles east of Alpine on US 180 to Forest Road 281 (Blue River Road). Turn south and follow this scenic back road 26.5 miles to the Blue River Road trailhead for Grant Creek Trail.

    Backcountry Access: Grant Creek is also accessible via Foote Creek Trail #76, Grant Cabin Shortcut Trail #306, Paradise Trail #74, and P-Bar Lake Trail #326.
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