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Blue Jay Ridge Trail #314 - 3 members in 7 triplogs have rated this an average 4.7 ( 1 to 5 best )
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May 26 2018
chumley
avatar

 Guides 78
 Routes 679
 Photos 14,868
 Triplogs 1,537

47 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Blue Jay Ridge LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 26 2018
chumley
Hiking7.27 Miles 2,334 AEG
Hiking7.27 Miles   3 Hrs   16 Mns   2.26 mph
2,334 ft AEG      3 Mns Break
 
Partners partners
BiFrost
John9L
With reports of the entire state being closed being greatly exaggerated, we opted for a quick overnight in the mountains with some good hiking, no crowds, and no holiday traffic. This loop fit perfectly into those requirements.

We arrived after noon and set up camp before beginning the hike, heading to Blue Jay first and then down the ridgeline in a ccw loop. The mile climb up the road wasn't as bad as I had told myself it would be, and the reward views from the West Peak lookout followed immediately by a cold beer back at camp made the road walk a distant memory.

This place doesn't seem to get much hiking traffic, and I'm ok with that! The trail is in pretty good condition.

It was surprisingly overcast and breezy with some occasional very strong gusts.
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Championing breakfast since 1994.
May 26 2018
BiFrost
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 356
 Photos 7,656
 Triplogs 911

51 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Blue Jay Ridge LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 26 2018
BiFrost
Hiking7.27 Miles 2,334 AEG
Hiking7.27 Miles   3 Hrs   16 Mns   2.26 mph
2,334 ft AEG      3 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
chumley
John9L
Nice loop over Blue Jay Peak and then out Blue Jay Ridge Trail. The ridge was a fun hike with excellent views most of the way and some aspens mixed in. We then hiked some road and hit West Peak/tower on the way back to our car camp for the night.
Culture
Culture
Point
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1 archive
Aug 27 2017
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,781

50 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Blue Jay Ridge LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 27 2017
SkyIslander18
Hiking8.75 Miles 2,375 AEG
Hiking8.75 Miles
2,375 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
PrestonSands
FINALLY!
Definition: after a long time, typically involving difficulty or delay.

After talking with Preston for years now about hiking Blue Jay, we finally got it done!
Preston picked me up in Safford and together we took off up Tripp Canyon road to the Pinaleno's west side.
With this mountain range being my backyard wonderland and love, I really don't know why I haven't been up this side in well over a decade. I was just blown away with the scenery on the drive up including Bear Springs Flat down low and the road's beauty going up high. There is so much along the way I never knew about.

We arrived and parked at the Turkey Spring trailhead under the lush forest. We chose to do the loop counter clockwise which IMO is the way to do this one. Up the steep & rocky road we headed :next: side trip up to West Peak and the lookout tower at 8670 elev :next: back down and around the south side :next: then looped Blue Jay peak :next: back down to Turkey Spring on the north side.

I loved every second & step of this hike!
West Peak, the lookout tower, the views over to the east side range, Taylor Pass (next trip for sure), expansive views down to the north & east, Blue Jay Peak, the mossy green north side forest, ferns, ferns & ferns throughout, endless amounts of summer flowers & butterflies and a lot more that I would just end up rambling about.

The drive back home down Tripp Canyon road was the cherry on top with an amazing sunset/storm scene back at Bear Springs that I won't soon forget.

Blue Jay was well worth the wait, the long wait won't happen again. The eastern range will Always be my heart, but right now she needs time to recover ..... I shall return to West Peak and continue to explore all it has.

I rarely use this word, but on this day with this good friend and on this trail ..... Epic!
:D
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Moderate throughout - Substantial in places.

dry Turkey Spring Dry Dry
Did not see water, but ground was wet.
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1 archive
Aug 27 2017
PrestonSands
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 Guides 168
 Routes 149
 Photos 5,560
 Triplogs 1,349

43 male
 Joined Apr 12 2004
 Oro Valley, AZ
Blue Jay Ridge LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 27 2017
PrestonSands
Hiking8.75 Miles 2,375 AEG
Hiking8.75 Miles
2,375 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners partners
SkyIslander18
After talking about it for years, Chad and I finally made the long dirt road trek out to West Peak for the Blue Jay Ridge Loop, with some photo stops along the way. Tripp Canyon Road was in great condition across the flats and mesas, and has been improved going up to West Peak. We parked at Turkey Spring switchback, where the road turns steep, and started hiking up the road. The sun was hot and we were thrilled to have a strong breeze greet us as we made West Peak. Chad and I cooled off in the shade on top and then began our walk through the mountain top garden that is Blue Jay. Waist high ferns and a scattering of wildflowers covered the slopes in between stands of pines spared from wildfire decades ago. The main mass of the Pinalenos loomed large to the south, and we could plainly see some of the areas with crown fire damage. The Pinalenos are still beautiful though. I was reading the map wrong, and we blew well past the ideal turnoff for summitting Blue Jay Peak. There wasn't enough time to back track, so the summit would have to wait until next time. A big rock promontory on the east side of the ridge provided us an amazing view of the Pima-Safford area, and an angry thunderstorm parked across the valley. We passed a family of hikers once the road transitioned into trail, and began a long descent on Blue Jay's north ridge. The hairpin turn into Sawmill Canyon's bowl brought a return of the heat from lack of wind, and overgrowth of oak brush along the trail. The last couple of miles contouring across the steep, forested slopes was longer than I remembered, but just as beautiful and green. Deep green grass and clover covered the impossibility steep slopes on the last mile to Turkey Spring. Back at the trailhead, we took a much needed hydration break on the tailgate before voyaging back down the road. Storms and setting sun aligned perfectly on the drive across the mesas to give us some great photos over the badland canyons below. A great day of adventure, Mr. C!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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"As soon as I can I’m sneaking back in them mountains..." -Johnny Paycheck
Jul 11 2015
chumley
avatar

 Guides 78
 Routes 679
 Photos 14,868
 Triplogs 1,537

47 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Blue Jay Ridge LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 11 2015
chumley
Hiking7.02 Miles 2,320 AEG
Hiking7.02 Miles   3 Hrs   41 Mns   2.37 mph
2,320 ft AEG      43 Mns Break
 
Partners partners
BobP
sbkelley
Scott had this peak in his sights. I think it's pretty high up on Arizona's prominence list. I had been up on West Peak earlier this summer and was very interested in a return trip. Somehow we roped Bob in on it too. Instead of making it a long day trip, we decided to head out on Friday afternoon and spend a night camping ahead of the loop and peak.

The weather was magical ... and at times, downright cold. Stuff I love in mid-July! :y:

We spotted the biggest turkey I've ever seen, followed shortly thereafter by a very healthy black bear. Both nice sightings! Friday's sunset was spectacular, and we enjoyed the views from the West Peak Lookout tower. Saturday we hiked down the road to the 314 trail and followed it the 2 miles out to the end of the ridge. This part of the trail was very recently maintained and in pristine condition.

From there, the trail climbs very steeply and relentlessly switchbacks through some overgrown oak, but the trail cut is easy to find and follow. The trail drops down to the end of the road, which circles the peak about 500 feet below the summit. You can follow the road back to your car, or if you want to bag the peak as we did, it's a steep off-trail scramble. Pick your route and claw your way to the summit.

It took us several minutes to find the register, but it was well represented with many of the usual names. As we were enjoying a break on the peak, it became apparent that a storm was quickly developing and heading our way. We cut our break a few minutes short and huge drops of rain began to pelt us on our way back down to the road. The shower passed quickly and we were back at camp a few minutes later.

This is a beautiful area to visit, and I'll be back for sure.
Fauna
Fauna
Black Bear
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Championing breakfast since 1994.
Jul 11 2015
sbkelley
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 13
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

36 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Blue Jay Ridge LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 11 2015
sbkelley
Hiking7.02 Miles 2,320 AEG
Hiking7.02 Miles   3 Hrs   41 Mns   2.37 mph
2,320 ft AEG      43 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
BobP
chumley
It's always a blast checking out new areas in this state, and this mountain is a good reminder to continue doing that. For starters, the campsite was beyond spectacular. We had a great time watching the storms in the distance mixed with the setting sun while having a brew atop West Peak, then a nice campfire to wind down the night.

Woke to clouds rolling over the ridgetop, and headed out on our loop. Though the stats are modest, they pack quite a wallop as flat ground is rarely found, and well worth the effort. The trail leaving the main road was in good condition for a bit before fading out a bit in the brush, though the track was never hard to find. Steep climb after steep climb put us beneath Blue Jay's top, and it was one more steep push to the summit. Dark clouds didn't let us linger long, but the views on this mountain are absolutely ridiculous in every direction. Rincon and Bruno had a good time and were worn out by day's end: success!
Named place
Named place
Blue Jay Peak Mount Graham
Meteorology
Meteorology
Rainbow
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Jul 11 2015
BobP
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 Guides 2
 Routes 183
 Photos 3,861
 Triplogs 2,304

59 male
 Joined Feb 26 2008
 Scottsdale, AZ
Blue Jay Ridge LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 11 2015
BobP
Hiking7.02 Miles 2,320 AEG
Hiking7.02 Miles   3 Hrs   41 Mns   2.37 mph
2,320 ft AEG      43 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
chumley
sbkelley
On the ride down, I saw flashing lights in my rear view mirror. This was my second time searching thru the glove compartment looking thru the myriad of insurance cards. Never found the current one because the new one just came in Wednesday and was sitting on the counter. Second time getting off with just a warning :y: .

Things just got better from there. The weather was perfect and BrunoP was well behaved and the company and area was first rate...no pumpkino. The new terms I learned were :yuck: :--: :-k and I was glad to shower them off Saturday night. Thanks for the invite Chums and thanks for setting this up Scott. Ringtone is an awesome dog and it was fun to see Bruno and him get along so well. Read the other triplogs to learn about the hike.
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Always pronounce Egeszsegedre properly......
If you like this triplog you must be a friend of BrunoP
average hiking speed 2.32 mph

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.

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