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Blue Cabin Ruins Trail #321 - 3 members in 3 triplogs have rated this an average 2.3 ( 1 to 5 best )
3 triplogs
  All Months
3 Triplogs
May 15 2021

 Routes 85
 Photos 1
 Triplogs 59

40 female
 Joined Oct 21 2016
 Tempe, AZ
Hannagan Meadow Grant/KP Creek LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar May 15 2021
Hiking13.66 Miles 3,441 AEG
Hiking13.66 Miles   9 Hrs   43 Mns   1.45 mph
3,441 ft AEG      19 Mns Break
no photosets
1st trip
I THINK this was a really pretty hike. My memory is a little clouded by all the thorns stuck in my body but that's another story. I remember thinking how beautiful KP Creek was. There were some areas with downed trees to navigate but the trail was in pretty good shape & never difficult to find. There were a couple springs flowing out of rock, cool caves with water flowing through, and tons of little waterfalls!

And then...Blue Cabin trail happened.

The connection from KP Creek & Blue Cabin trail is non-existent. I scrambled up where the map showed the trail starting but there was no sign of it from KP. The Blue Cabin trail is mostly not a trail anymore (until about 3/4 of the way up). Honestly, there were a few times where I just stopped & thought "I can't do this anymore. I'm just going to stay here. No way I can make it to the top." And this is coming from someone who is generally unfazed by barreling straight through thorn bushes. The thorn bushes were so thick, and the trail so non-existent, that I had to commit to whatever path I choose since the thorns really wouldn't allow me to turn back & look for another route. I'm grateful for the footsteps left ahead of me. They were pretty faint but at least they gave me some indication of a path to take. Sometimes that path was up high, side-stepping along steep loose dirt, just to come back down to the creek. It seemed like the footsteps I was following were trying to find the best route too. The hike up Blue Cabin trail is a constant choice between downed trees so thick & piled up that they are almost impossible to cross or a deep dive through thick thorn bushes. The view looking up towards Blue is incredibly beautiful though so that kept me going (also I was listening to the book Grandma Gatewood's walk driving up & kept telling myself if she could do it, so could I!). Lots of water along this canyon as well with beautiful cold little waterfalls to escape the thorns for a minute. The trail finally clears around 1.7 miles up. It was a heavenly feeling. If I were smart, I would have continued up Blue Cabin trail to meet up with McKittrick trail. But I didn't do that.

There is an unnamed side trail shown on maps that shoots off east from Blue Cabin trail & appears to be a shortcut to Blue Peak trail. I told myself before starting my hike that I wouldn't take it because it was probably too overgrown & I would stick with the main trail. Then I saw it as I was coming up Blue Cabin (and had just exited the thorny hell) and it looked so clear & nice & apparently my brain was foggy from thorns because I took it anyway. My advice: don't take this trail. Stick with Blue Cabin trail to McKittrick & put in the extra miles.

Finally made it to Blue Peak trail & sailed right up the clear lovely trail to the top. Cool lookout tower but the lower steps have been removed so no one can go up. The views go on forever. Signed the summit register at the top & found my friends' names on the 1st page! Very cool! Continuing along McKittrick the views continue to be fantastic. Trail eventually turned to road & I hiked the 3.5 miles of dirt road until the KP Campground was below. Went down towards the campground over a low sloping area that was surprisingly easy-going.

This area is so gorgeous but I'm bringing gardening clippers for Bear Wallow next month. The thorns are next level around here! Temps were low 70's but it felt hot. I drank about 3L and apparently needed more because I was super thirsty driving home. I had a couple bear bells connected to me & whistled tunes when I wasn't breathing too heavy and didn't see any bears. The bear bells weren't loud enough to scare away birds that I came upon & frightened a couple times though so idk how effective they are. Hopefully we are able to keep our distance from each other in Bear Wallow too!
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Wildflowers Observation Light
Aug 02 2014

 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,127
 Triplogs 867

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
Primitive Blue Range, AZ 
Primitive Blue Range, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 02 2014
Hiking13.03 Miles 4,062 AEG
Hiking13.03 Miles
4,062 ft AEG
This was intended to be a nice and easy over-night hike with hopefully some good fishing and a nice camp site along the creek.

The fishing turned out to be a dud, nothing like Grant Creek. I just don't see how any of the sections I fished could sustain Apache Trout. The conservation officer's grim outlook for KP Creek still supporting Apache Trout seems to have been warranted. He felt the fire had probably simply got too hot along large stretches of KP Creek and damaged to much of the valuable canopy needed to shade and keep the water cool. The lack of fish was not the end of the world to me, in fact, it was somewhat expected yet, it did change my plans slightly as I really was not ready to just set up camp at 11 in the morning, one can only do so much reading. I decided to just keep progressing on loop and maybe find a nice campsite in the higher elevations.

I never found a nice campsite in the higher elevations and some real nasty storm clouds had me considering skipping Blue Peak for the moment and pushing for the car. I could car camp somewhere that night and hit a whole new trail the next day. I was happy I went for the car! Although, it did not take much distant thunder and light rain to expedite this decision. My scientific method of looking at the water in the dog's dishes leads me to believe the dogs and I got about 2.5 or more inches of rain dumped on us from Saturday evening until our Sunday morning retreat.

Trail Run-Down.

KP South Fork-Pretty good shape for Primitive Blue Range, easy to follow, ends at two beautiful waterfalls. I was a day light on really seeing them push some water.

Blue Lookout Trail-I give this trail two emphatic :pk: :pk: based on my new unofficial Primitive Blue Range Trail rating system. The pumpkins represent a fraction of poor language used to navigate this overgrown, non-existent, and slightly steep trail.

Blue Cabin Ruins Trail- See above trail rating guide. Missed the cabin ruins, missed a few of upper switchbacks and can't really say for sure how much of this very short trail I actually covered.

I ended up staying at the TH for Blue Lookout Tower and Indian Peak also the beginnings of the Blue Cabin Ruins Trail and the Mckittrick Trail. However, I woke up to torrential rain and about 25 meters of visibility. At that point it was hard to justify the effort it would take to navigate the very rough looking McKittrick Trail for the 50 meter panoramic views from atop the largest peak in the Primitive Blue Range. I cancelled that mission, regrouped and headed for the first trail without rain.

Side Notes:

I am going to do some route manager work on my last two Blue Range trips, as there are some desperately needed official routes in there that could fill voids on some description pages for that area. The area in general is so deficient on reliable current information all the standard forest service excerpts on the description pages are pre-fire and only worth so much. However, I kind of like that aspect of making the long trek out there it certainly makes it interesting. I will have to say there are probably not too many wilderness areas in AZ rivaling the Blue Range in terms of ruggedness and challenge. Some of those trails have simply been lost to time and lack of use. Most have already given way to nature's advance or are regressing rapidly. However, I am here to tell you there are still some areas worth visiting out there, rumors of the areas demise are perhaps a little over-stated.
3 archives
Jul 11 2003

 Guides 8
 Photos 48
 Triplogs 62

51 male
 Joined Mar 07 2003
 Apache Junction,
Blue Cabin Ruins Trail #321Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 11 2003
Hiking0.75 Miles 620 AEG
Hiking0.75 Miles      30 Mns   1.50 mph
620 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Hiked up this short but steep trail as the last leg of a 4 trail loop hike incorporating the McKittrick Trail #72, KP Trail #70 and Blue Lookout Trail #71. We accessed this trail at the lower end of it were it meets the Blue Lookout Trail #71. Although it's short (3/4 mile) it does gain about 450' in elevation on a good trail. The entire trail is wooded but there is a major amount of downfall off the trail. The name of this trail is misleading since the ruins are not on it, it's a shortcut trail to them. We didn't know this and missed seeing the ruins :cry: The ruins are located somewhere between where we turned off the Blue Lookout Trail #71 and the junction of the McKittrick Trail #72 at the upper end of the Blue Lookout Trail #71 (1/2 mile hike). The trailhead for the Blue Cabin Ruins Trail #321 and McKittrick Trail #72 is located at the end of remote FR 84 in a small clearing. This road is in good shape and suitable for cars in dry weather, it's a 4.5 mile drive off of US 191. In this clearing there's a blank TH board with all the info that was on it stuffed into the registry box. The start of the Blue Cabin Ruins Trail #321 is unmarked but is just left of the TH board thru a gap in the trees. It is possible to do a short loop of 2 to 2.5 miles by utilizing the McKittrick Trail #72 which starts to the right of the TH board and is marked. You'll go .8 mile then have to descend on the Blue Lookout Trail #71 and come back up on the Blue Cabin Ruins Trail #321 or vice versa. These trails get very little use going by the lack of entries on the registry, no cars at the TH, far from any town and not seeing a person all day but are wonderful to hike. This IS BEAR COUNTRY so keep that in mind. I've posted detailed trip logs on this site about the 4 trails we hiked to complete this loop, it was about 10.5 miles. Happy Trails...
average hiking speed 1.48 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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