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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.

McKittrick Trail #72, AZ

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Guide 10 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Alpine > Alpine S
Rated
3
3 of 5 by 4
 
2
Statistics
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Distance One Way 5.95 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,893 feet
Elevation Gain -2,218 feet
Accumulated Gain 510 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 7.65
Backpack Possible & Connecting
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
50  2017-05-10
Blue Peak/LO & Indian Peak & Raspberry Peak
AZHiker456
4  2016-05-29
Blue Peak 9355
friendofThunderg
12  2016-05-29
Blue Peak 9355
chumley
10  2016-05-29
Blue Peak 9355
BiFrost
12  2016-05-29
Blue Peak 9355
John9L
8  2015-05-23
Blue Peak 9355
friendofThunderg
10  2013-05-25
Blue Lookout Trail #71
BiFrost
7  2013-05-25
Blue Lookout Trail #71
slowandsteady
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
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Preferred   Sep, Aug, Jun, May
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:05am - 6:14pm
Official Route
 
3 Alternative
 
Water

Likely In-Season!
Excellent views, a variety of trailside habitats and close encounters with some of the most notable landmarks in the Blue Primitive area provide highlights for a hike along this unique trail. Most trails in the Blue drop from the high country toward the river by either following drainages or staying with the ridges. McKittrick Trail breaks from this mold by cutting across several drainages and crossing a number of ridges in a steadily descending course to the bottom of KP Creek Canyon. The views you'll see at the high points along this trail are some of the best in the Blue.

McKittrick Trail passes near the summit of Blue Mountain in the vicinity of the Blue Lookout Tower. You'll want to walk those extra 100 yards to this highest point in the Blue Range to take advantage of the views available there. The Blue Range, Blue River Canyon, Eagle Creek, Mount Graham of the Pinalenos, the Mogollon Range in New Mexico and the canyon of the San Francisco River are just some of the features you can see from this vantage point.

Heading down the trail, you'll notice a number of down and dead aspen strewn about an area covered with healthy young stands of white fir trees. The aspen grew some time ago as the first step in a process of natural succession that brought life back to this area after it had been cleared by fire. They are being replaced by firs as the natural progression toward a climax forest of mixed conifers typical of this area and altitude.

From Blue Peak, McKittrick Trail heads east along the Mogollon Rim and the excellent views continue. Indian Peak, Rose Peak, and Red Mountain, along with other mountains and canyons to the south form the panorama. After dropping off Indian Mountain, the route cuts the drainages of a number of McKittrick Creek feeder streams. Trailside vegetation varies with altitude and exposure. The next important landmark along the trail is Sawed Off Mountain. A saddle along its northwestern shoulder provides views down into KP Canyon and farther to the northeast.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    Apache - Sitgreaves FS Details
    Excellent views, a variety of trailside habitats and close encounters with some of the most notable landmarks in the Blue Primitive area provide highlights for a hike along this unique trail. Most trails in the Blue drop from the high country toward the river by either following drainages or staying with the ridges. McKittrick Trail breaks from this mold by cutting across several drainages and crossing a number of ridges in a steadily descending course to the bottom of KP Creek Canyon. The views you'll see at the high points along this trail are some of the best in the Blue.

    McKittrick Trail passes near the summit of Blue Mountain in the vicinity of the Blue Lookout Tower. You'll want to walk those extra 100 yards to this highest point in the Blue Range to take advantage of the views available there. The Blue Range, Blue River Canyon, Eagle Creek, Mount Graham of the Pinalenos, the Mogollon Range in New Mexico and the canyon of the San Francisco River are just some of the features you can see from this vantage point.

    Heading down the trail, you'll notice a number of down and dead aspen strewn about an area covered with healthy young stands of white fir trees. The aspen grew some time ago as the first step in a process of natural succession that brought life back to this area after it had been cleared by fire. They are being replaced by firs as the natural progression toward a climax forest of mixed conifers typical of this area and altitude.

    From Blue Peak, McKittrick Trail heads east along the Mogollon Rim and the excellent views continue. Indian Peak, Rose Peak, and Red Mountain, along with other mountains and canyons to the south form the panorama. After dropping off Indian Mountain, the route cuts the drainages of a number of McKittrick Creek feeder streams. Trailside vegetation varies with altitude and exposure. The next important landmark along the trail is Sawed Off Mountain. A saddle along its northwestern shoulder provides views down into KP Canyon and farther to the northeast.

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

    Trail Log:
    0.0 Trailhead parking at end of Blue Lookout Road (Forest Road 84). Trail follows closed road
    0.7 End of old road
    0.8 Junction with Blue Lookout Trail #71. McKittrick Trail continues toward lookout tower
    1.3 McKittrick Trail turns 90 degrees to left about 100 yards below lookout tower
    2.1 Trail leaves rim and enters McKittrick Creek drainage
    3.9 Trail crosses gate on low ridge north of McKittrick Creek, helispot and good views of Sawed Off Mountain.
    5.9 Junction with KP Trail #70 at KP Creek

    USGS Maps: Strayhorse

    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
    McKittrick Trail #72
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    After our side trip to Greenlee County High Point we drove over to FR184 where we planned on car camping. At the end of this forest road is the short trail to Blue Peak. We decided it was the perfect afternoon hike before settling in for our final night in The Blue.

    We started hiking around 3:50pm and made good time over the first mile of trail. There is some sporadic downfall and thorny bushes along the way. The trail grew more dense as we continued and the final quarter mile to the summit was a bloody fight! I wish I wore pants.

    We hit the lookout tower and climbed up to the top where we were greeted with wonderful 360 degree views. The four of us spent several minutes up top taking a variety of pics. This tower hasn’t been used in a long time and it’s falling apart. Most of the windows are gone and the floor makes you think twice.

    After we had our fill we climbed back down and returned to the car at the TH. From there we drove roughly a mile back and picked a campsite right off the road. This hike was the perfect way to end our day and I really enjoyed the views up top.
    McKittrick Trail #72
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    This is a short mile-and-a-half trip from the end of the road to the summit of Blue Peak, the highest peak in the Blue Range Primitive Area.

    Finally figured out that this hike actually involves hiking a mile on the McKittrick Trail before heading up the unnamed spur trail that leads to the peak. The Blue Lookout Trail is actually a separate trail that drops from McKittrick to the Blue cabin ruins site in the drainage north of the peak that connects to KP #70. It appeared to be very overgrown and littered with post-fire deadfall.

    The views from this peak are great. The tower is old and decommissioned. The windows are broken and the first flight of stairs have been removed. There's water in the old cistern on the summit, but there is no sign of the benchmark or reference marks that should be there.
    McKittrick Trail #72
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrating optionrated 1
    This was the night cap for Cup, Blanco and myself. There is a nice little spot to camp at the TH and McKittrick and Blue were next on the list, so our day two destination became our day one destination. The register at the Blue lookout, also the highest point in the Blue Range, was full of scathing reviews of the summit and trail.

    I am just not sure who hikes that trail and expects something else, furthermore, I am not sure how someone who had such a miserable time on the trail would continue the hike the entire length, just to write how horrible the view was, and how bad the trail was. Look it is what it is, the tower is located in a severely burned area. There is a huge dead tree blocking access to the trail from the TH, there is a giant yellow sign that says the trail is destroyed and to use at your own risk, so how did it come as a shock to these people when the trail was less than ideal? My favorite message, "trail full of dead trees, can't find benchmark, can't climb tower, utter disappointment."

    Speaking of tower, it can be climbed ;)
    McKittrick Trail #72
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    This was our first trip into the Blue Range and very memorable. To reach the trailhead one must venture south on US 191 29 miles from Alpine to FR 84, the turnoff is on the East side of the road. I had gotten info that it was a 6 mile drive on FR 84 to the TH which proved to be wrong. It wound up only being a 4.5 mile drive on a very scenic but remote FR, although we had an SUV I would deem this as drivable by car except in wet weather. Once the road comes to an end in a clearing your at the TH. From the clearing you can see the Mogollon Rims dropoff thru the trees but we didn't explore the area for a vista. There's a TH board here but all the info was stripped off and stuffed into the registry box. The register showed an average of 6 people a week using this trail for the months of June and July! All entry's had their destination as either the Blue L.O. tower or cabin ruins which I'll explain later. We were going to be different and hike down the entire McKittrick trail into KP Canyon, join up with the KP #70 trail, hike it .9 miles to the intersection with the Blue Lookout trail #71 then follow the Blue L.O. trail back up 2.9 miles to McKittrick closing the loop hike of about 10.5 miles with an elevation loss and then gain of 2700'. Adjacent to the right side of the trailhead board is the start of the McKittrick trail, if you look closely there is an old trail sign posted to a tree. There also is a gap thru some trees to the left of the board which we thought was probably trail #321 the Blue Cabin trail and later confirmed it by hiking out on it. The first .7 of a mile of McKittrick follows and old Jeep road which has been blocked off at the trailhead, not much elevation gain here as you pass thru forest. When the Jeep road ends it turns into a trail, .1 of a mile further from here is the turnoff to descend the Blue Lookout trail. We decided to opt for the longer decent and then suffer climbing back up the much shorter route. Good choice. After passing by this intersection you have a 1/2 mile hike with a gain of 350' to reach the intersection for the L.O. tower. To this point the trail is in great shape but there is a major amount of deadfall off the trail. It's a short side trip of about 100 yards to the long abandoned lookout on top of Blue Mountain. The tower looks manned at first since it's in pretty good shape but as you approach you see some of the stairs have been removed to prevent access into it. I've seen some recent photo's of the inside :) and have to say it still has the stove, desk, bed and other objects in it but it's trashed with graffiti symbols?, knocked out windows and the effects of time and weather. The person who took the pictures was impressed with the view down into the Mogollon Rim, Mount Graham and into New Mexico but couldn't see much because of smoke from at least 3 visible forest fires filling the sky. He did say it would be an awesome view under good skies. Note #1; There's 3 covered pits at the base with 2 containing water of unknown origin, my guess is at least 1 is a spring. After our little side trip we headed back to McKittrick to continue our trip. For the next half mile or so you hike along the Rim heading toward unseen Indian Peak passing thru nice forest with not much in the way of views before descending to Indian Mountain. Note #2; Care must be taken crossing 2 small burn area's along this stretch since grass and ferns are well established, I found go with your instincts and the well worn tread will come right back after you cross these area's. On your descent to Indian Mountain you will pass thru a long ago burn which has cleared the forest nicely, the trail remains easy to follow with a few downed trees to negotiate here and there. I must of blacked out during this part of the hike since I don't remember seeing or being anyplace that I would call Indian Mountain. I only remember the trail gradually descending here to a dry drainage that we would follow for about 2 miles but the mountain is shown on my topo and mentioned on the Apache N.F. trail sheet. The hike down along the drainage was great with lots of pine forest with little if any downfall on great tread which surprised us greatly. Note #3; This section along the creek had signs of bear activity, most impressive were BIG rocks that were pulled out of the ground and some monster sized bear scat. I've seen bear signs on trails before but this one or more had to be enormous! At 3.9 miles into the hike and shortly after leaving the dry creek the trail levels out for a short distance. The trees are replaced by higher desert vegatation here and you will arrive at a fence with a heli-pad next to it after a few minutes hike. From here you will have a great view of Sawed Off Mountain from below it and this would be a good turn around point for inexperienced hikers since the trail can get a little confusing after this. From here you pass thru the gate and begin descending again into another forested dry drainage which I guess your supposed to follow but after hiking this part for 10 or 15 minutes we must of missed a 180 degree switchback and followed some cairns to a bluff. We knew something was wrong but searched in vain without backtracking too far to find the trail. We did find a faint trail and descended that a little ways into a drainage which we thought was the right one we needed to be in from our topo. WRONG! I then made the not so wise or wise decision to have my girlfriend stay and I'd scout it out. I had left for about 5 to 10 minutes before encountering the trail again but lost the way I came down since I bushwhacked. I then called out to her several times without a reply from her. OH SHIT!!! What a weird feeling, next I took out my ear piercing whistle and gave it several hoots but still no reply. I started to panic but snapped out of it quickly by remembering to S.T.O.P. (Stop, Think, Observe and Plan) REMEMBER IT! I gathered my thoughts and simply headed back up the trail for 5 to 10 more minutes knowing she was above me until I reached the bad cairns we had followed and hollered out once again. I immediately heard a happy voice. She had said she to had called out numerous times and was getting nervous but she stayed were I left here. I had gone into the adjacent gulley which was the right one but the bluff came between us thus blocking our calls to one another. We wound up losing an hours time during this melee. Reunited once again we still had a hard time finding the trail I just found! I don't know where it went but knew the general direction I came up from so undeterred we headed down that way and found the wide unobstructed trail once again. We continued heading down the increasingly warming trail for another 10 minutes before entering desert brush and rock, somewhere along this stretch a faint trail came in to join the trail from the direction from our misadventure so I know this must of happened to others. Once on the rock the trail can get faint at times and care must be taken finding the correct route. Well placed good sized cairns are found here and there but they looked like the same one's that threw us off before. We referenced our topo quite a bit from this point on and made it down into the bottom of KP Canyon to the intersection of the KP Trail #70 for the next leg of the trip. Go to KP Trail Summary for this part, Blue Lookout Trail #71 and Blue Cabin Trail #321 for rest of summaries, Happy Trails... Afterthought; Even thought we had some problems on this trail I thought it is one of the best trails that I've done and would love to do as a backpack loop.

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    Directions
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    To hike
    Drive south from Alpine 29 miles on US 191 to Forest Road 84, the Blue Lookout Road. Forest Road 84 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. Hike the closed road as it becomes a trail about 0.5 miles to the McKittrick Trailhead. Don't forget to walk another 100 yards to the top of the mountain to take in the views.
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