Steeple Trail #73 - Blue Range, AZ | HikeArizona

Steeple Trail #73 - Blue Range, AZ

Guide 23 Triplogs Mine 0 1 Topic
3.2 of 5 
no permit
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Difficulty 4.5 of 5
Route Finding 5 of 5
Distance One Way 12.68 miles
Trailhead Elevation 9,200 feet
Elevation Gain -3,970 feet
Accumulated Gain 700 feet
Avg Time One Way 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 15.01
 Backpack Possible & Connecting
 Dogs not allowed
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6  2021-07-28 FOTG
18  2020-09-05
Grant Creek Overnight Backpack
24  2020-09-05
Grant Creek - Primitive Blue Range
23  2020-09-04
Intro to Blue
10  2020-07-19
Long Cienega Trail #305
34  2020-05-22
Return to the Blue
5  2017-07-02
KP Rim Loop
5  2017-06-16 FOTG
Page 1,  2
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 0
Photos 58
Trips 27 map ( 234 miles )
Age 40 Male Gender
Location Tempe, Az
Associated Areas
list map done
Alpine Region
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Sep, Aug, Jun, May → 7 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:36am - 6:20pm
Official Route
4 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2011 Wallow Fire29
🔥 2010 Paradise Fire17.8 mi*
🔥 2008 Eagle Fire19.6 mi*
🔥 2007 Chitty Fire25.6 mi*
🔥 2006 Grant Wfu5.3k
🔥 2004 KP Fire32.5 mi*
🔥 2003 Thomas Fire10
🔥 2003 Steeple Fire20.7 mi*
🔥 1987 Park Fire12.9 mi*
🔥 View (All) - over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles
Nearby Area Water
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Man vs Mountain
by Crocodile Ryan

This trail was an unplanned detour after a torrential downpour and about 2hours of constant bushwhacking and searching for our trail. We had planned on completing a loop of the KP rim following along the trail mentioned in KP Rim Loop, which I would say is a bit longer than is marked on that page. The trail started very well, and we had a decent map of the area from the forest service; I would recommend picking up a copy. DO NOT USE National Geographic Topos of the area; they inaccurately show the trails, we had one of these as well, and the trails were always in the wrong spot on the map.
We hiked this trail from its junction with Grant Creek to the trailhead near its junction with 315. So we hiked it in reverse, I don't think I would do in and out on this trail, too steep and too much bushwhacking, and there are too many other beautiful trails to use in the Blue Range that can be used as part of a loop.

To start, the trail is relatively easy to follow, along steeple creek; this was the easiest part of the trail to follow. After about a mile or so, it becomes increasingly difficult to follow. However, it is hard to get lost as you follow the creek up to its headwaters. The trail climbs relentlessly and mercilessly as it ascends approximately 3400ft in about 6miles, not to mention that the end of the trail is at nearly 9200ft in elevation! These conditions can make for a strenuous hike without a backpack and on a well-defined trail, let alone one where you continuously create a path through knee-high fern, poison oak, and other prickly bushes and bushes. But the hike was extraordinary, with great views near the top and mushrooms and other fungus growing everywhere. All on the hike, we saw numerous birds and many signs of wildlife. Make sure you are a bit noisy when hiking in the area, as I have never seen so many bear tracks in my life. It had recently rained, very heavily actually, and we could see the remnants of dens that had caved in from the rains. There were also a few tracks that we believed to be wolf tracks as they were too large for a coyote. It becomes pointless to look for a trail near the top, as the ferns are about shoulder level, and it becomes much less rocky.

All in all, the hike was very taxing but was a welcome shortcut during a rough trip and was a chance to hike along a seldom-used trail in a lightly used area. And I would recommend trying the hike at least once if you enjoy the area. I would recommend bringing a pair of tevas and rain gear if going.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a more difficult hike. It would be unwise to attempt this without prior experience hiking.

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

2006-05-08 Crocodile Ryan

    Apache - Sitgreaves FS Details
    Once you complete the full 13 miles of this trail you'll have an excellent idea of just how a broad diversity of habitats there are to be found on the Alpine Ranger District and the Blue Primitive Area. For the first couple of miles, this trail stays in the high country, winding its way through stands of mixed conifers and aspens. These thick stands of old-growth open regularly into beautiful, boggy little meadows called ciénegas, which are invariably aglow with wildflowers and frequently boast a small stream. Such quiet hideaways are great places to surprise a herd of grazing elk or browsing mule deer as you emerge from the quiet shadows of the trees. If you're lucky, you may even surprise one of the forest's most reclusive inhabitants, a black bear. There are few better places on the Alpine District for a close encounter of this kind.

    After crossing the upper reaches of the Grant Creek drainage and passing junctions with the Upper Grant Creek and Long Cienega Trails, the trail drops into Steeple Creek where the habitat changes from aspen/conifer to a riparian community of ponderosa pine, canyon hardwoods, and scattered junipers. At Mud Springs, the trail climbs out of the drainage to the south to a junction with the KP Trail. Conditions become progressively drier and warmer as the trail continues on across Steeple and KP mesas and loses elevation on its descent into the Blue. Clumps of cactus here, scattered under a pinyon and juniper overstory, make the point that you have entered a desert woodland. The trail continues on to the shady cottonwoods and picturesque rock formations of the Blue River Canyon and ends at the Blue River Road.

    No mechanized vehicles (including mountain bikes) permitted in Primitive Area. Water is usually available at Willow Springs, Mud Springs, and intermittent pools along Steeple Creek.

    Trail Log:
    0.0 Steeple/Foote Creek Trailhead parking area, near Hannagan Administrative site, the trail crosses through a wood rail fence and turns to the right
    1.3 Junction with Upper Grant Trail #65 in the first of four ciénegas
    2.8 Junction with the Long Cienega Trail #305
    3.3 Junction with KP Rim Trail #315
    6.4 Junction with Paradise Trial #74

    USGS Maps: Hannagan Meadow, Strayhorse, Bear Mountain

    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.

     Permit $$

    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Drive 23 miles south on US 191 to the south end of Hannagan Meadow and turn left (east) on Forest Road 29A to the Steeple/Foote Creek trailhead and parking lot. 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 30.0 miles to the Blue River Road access to Steeple Trail.

    Steeple Trail is also accessible via the Upper Grant Creek Trail #65, Long Cienega Trail #305, KP Rim Trail #70, and Paradise Trail #74.

    The author writes: From Show Low, take 260 east to Springerville. Take 180 from Springerville south to Alpine, and 191 south from there. Hannagan Meadow trailhead is on the right side of the highway, shortly after you pass the Hannagan Meadow store. The trailhead is easily reached by passenger cars.

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