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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.
Granite Mountain Trail #261, AZ
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997 164 4
Description 164 Triplogs  4 Topics
RatedFavorite   Wish List 23  AZ > Prescott > Prescott W
Rated
3.9
3.9 of 5 by 53
 
0
0
 
Statistics
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 8.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,650 feet
Elevation Gain 1,487 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,700 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 16.7
Interest Peak
Photos
feature photo
Viewed All Mine Following
8  2018-05-12 Nightstalker
12  2018-04-14 whycoyote
2  2017-12-16 arizona_water
7  2017-11-11 Nightstalker
19  2017-10-03
Coyote Canyon Trail - MSPN
RowdyandMe
28  2017-03-24 KBKB
10  2016-10-20
Granite Mountain Peak 7295
mazatzal
3  2016-09-24 DallinW
12  2016-08-27
Granite Mountain Circumference
joebartels
13  2016-08-27
Granite Mountain Circumference
The_Eagle
8  2016-06-26
Granite Mountain Peak 7626
astrobrewer
17  2016-05-22 astrobrewer
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6
Associated Areas
list map done
100 Hikes in AZ - 1994 Scott Warren
Prescott Forest
Granite Mountain AZ Wilderness
100 Hikes in AZ - 2007 Scott Warren
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
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Forest Restrictions / Closures Check Fire Restrictions / Closures
Forest Prescott
Backpack   Yes & Connecting
Preferred   May, Jun, Sep, Oct → 8 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  5:18am - 7:47pm
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
Route Scout App Import ID
52
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Official Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Granite Mountain Peak 7295
0.0 mi away
6.9 mi
1,695 ft
Clark Spring Trail #40
0.2 mi away
2.1 mi
791 ft
Little Granite Mountain Loop
0.3 mi away
7.0 mi
1,193 ft
Metate Connector Trail #353
0.3 mi away
0.3 mi
50 ft
Granite Mountain Peak 7626
0.3 mi away
9.2 mi
2,241 ft
Surprise Springs #350
0.7 mi away
1.3 mi
274 ft
[ View More! ]
Fauna
Arizona Black Rattlesnake
Arizona Mountain Kingsnake
Black-tailed Rattlesnake
Checkerspot Butterfly
Gopher Snake
Plateau Fence Lizard
Plateau Striped Whiptail
Red-spotted Purple Butterfly
Tarantula
Two-tailed Swallowtail Butterfly
Unidentified Fauna
White-Breasted Nuthatch
Flora
Alligator Juniper
Arizona Thistle
Century Plant
Claret Cup Cactus
Common Yarrow
Golden Flowered Agave
Juniper
Machaeranthera
Palmer's Penstemon
Prickly Pear
Silverstem Lupine
Skunkbush
Yellow Pond Lily
Geology
Granite
Meteorology
Rain
Named place
Alkali Spring
Blair Pass
Granite Basin Dam
Granite Basin Lake
Granite Mountain
Granite Mountain Wilderness
Little Granite Mountain
Culture
Benchmark
Cadastral Survey Marker
HAZ - Selfie
Informational/Interpretive Trail Sign
Intrepid Back Shot
johnr1
Reference Mark
Big Boulder Bash!
by Sande J

Likely In-Season!
Note
Mileage reflects data collected via GPS. The description below is going by old FS stats.

If you enjoy a real rock concert, then this is a hike for you. As part of the Prescott National Forest, Granite Mountain Wilderness (appropriately named) is a picturesque area containing a little bit of everything that great Arizona hiking has to offer. The cooler temperatures and shady juniper forest make for a perfect combination of beating the heat. Heading out of Prescott on Iron Springs Rd, you will reach FR 374 at about the 3.5 mile mark, where you will make a right turn. This is a paved road for easy access to the Granite Basin day use area. After about 3 miles on FR 374, you will see an entrance area to the small lake on your right, then continue a short distance ahead for access at the Metate Trailhead. There is ample parking with plenty of shade, including a restroom, water and a self pay station for the fee. The trailhead is directly across the entrance drive to the parking lot, and it is clearly marked with a large information board. Take trail #261, Granite Mountain Trail ( not to be confused with the Little Granite Mountain Trail which is a loop connection you will see later ) and you will get the best direct hike to Vista Point Overlook which is 3.45 miles. Just follow the #261 signs all the way up and you will be fine.


The hike begins as a shady wonderland with immediate views of the vertical rock ledges of the Granite summit to your right. This wilderness is a protected area for the nesting of Peregrine Falcons which were almost extinct just a few years ago. This is a popular area for rock climbers and repellers, but I didn't see any the day I was there, as the protective order keeps the cliffs closed through July 15th out of respect for the falcons. Fine by me... that means no crowds on the trail! Shortly after the initial view you will come to the trail register, sign in ,and forge ahead. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow. The dirt is smooth and solid and graced with pine needles which makes the trek quite enjoyable.

Shortly after you exit the shady section, elevation begins in the form of well graded and gradually ascending switchbacks. It is nice seeing all types of desert vegetation living together in harmony. Large boulders serve as guardians to the picture perfect landscape scenery that only nature can create. I saw a few boulders that are bigger than some of the new tract homes in Phoenix. At the 1.6 mile mark, you will come to a wooden gate at Blair Saddle. Here trail # 261 intersects with the other connecting trails in the system. Here you will take a right turn to stay on #261. It is clearly marked by a sign. The switchbacks continue for close to a mile and the next major stop will be Granite Mountain Saddle. Here you can do one of two things, continue on the #261 to the Vista Point Overlook, or (not included in the distance above) take a quick jaunt down then up the trail to your left to get a great N/NE view of the Verde Valley , Sedona, and the San Francisco peaks. After you soak in the beauty of those views, backtrack to #261 and forge ahead .8 miles to the Vista Point which is on the S/SW side of the peak.

The trek on the way to the point offers more shady pines and some magnificent level rock slabs carpeting the ground. Coming from the valley in the summer, it is awesome, like someone turned the air conditioning on outside.

Once you reach the overlook, it will actually put you near the vertical ledges that you saw on the first part of the hike. The wind gusts pick up considerably towards the overlook , so proceed with caution if your climbing urges need to be fulfilled. One big gust could knock you off stance pretty easily if you are not paying attention. From this viewpoint, you can see the lake which looks like a puddle from 7,186 ft. There are lots of extremely large boulders, rocks and huge stone slabs in the area. It would be easy to spend an entire afternoon just climbing the rocks and exploring. For early June on a weekend , I was surprised to see only a few people on the trail. Have fun and enjoy the serenity and solitude at the top. You can return the way you came on #261. This hike is fairly challenging and the quest for the summit would be geared towards experienced hikers. As always, hike smart , be aware, and take plenty of water !

After the adventure, turn left out of the parking lot (it is one way) and you can drive around the loop road back down to the lake area for a little R & R or a picnic...sorry guys, but there is no swimming allowed! Enjoy this beautiful area ,especially the CLEAN AIR.

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.

Sande J
  • book
    area related
  • 100 Classic Hikes - 2007
    area related
    100 Classic Hikes - 2007
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 $$
FS

Prescott Forest
Prescott National Forest Pass

Only trailheads with six "amenities" have fees. Amenities are picnic tables, trash, toilet, parking, interpretive signing and security.


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Paved - Car Okay

To Metate Trailhead
Take I-17 North to the St Rt 69 Prescott exit, turn left (north) When entering Prescott stay Left on SR89 which is Sheldon St. Follow Sheldon St. to the 'T' intersection at Montezuma St. and turn right. Montezuma turns into Whipple which turns into Iron Springs Rd. (St Rt 10). Continue on this road. At about the 3.5 mile mark turn right on FR 374( You will see the brown recreation sign marking the Granite Basin Day Use area including the Metate Trailhead.) Follow the road about 3 miles back to the trailhead parking area at the end of the loop road.

2011-09-16 Garry Milo There is no sign for FR374. There is a sign for Granite Basin Road. Once you turn on to it, the FR374 sign is a few hundred feet down the road.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 2 hours 18 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 3 hours 46 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 2 hours 1 min
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
use an umbrella to block the sun
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