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Cunningham Loop Trail - 10 members in 30 triplogs have rated this an average 3.8 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Jul 12 2019
kingsnake
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 Guides 83
 Routes 184
 Photos 7,987
 Triplogs 639

57 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Cunningham Loop TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 12 2019
kingsnake
Hiking6.43 Miles 757 AEG
Hiking6.43 Miles   2 Hrs   46 Mns   2.32 mph
757 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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I was going to hike Cunningham Loop Trail #316 last week. I only made it to Gold Canyon: [ triplog ] .

This week, I not only made it past Gold Canyon, but all the way to Cunningham Trailhead on the west slope of Mount Graham. Yeeee-HAH! 🥳

Because of the long drive, I did not start hiking until 10:45 a.m. I wish I was riding, rather than driving, as the views along AZ-366 were spectacular!

At the intersection, I went left, hiking clockwise. I figured by doing the Cunningham half of the trail clockwise, and the Grant Hill half counter-clockwise, I would do both Grant Creek crossings downhill. As I was expecting both crossings to be bushwhacks, I sure didn’t want to be fighting brush up a steep slope! ✋

One of the things I’ve noticed on my hikes through old wildfires is that even though a burn area may encompass some number of acres, what is actually burnt in that area varies from moonscape all the way to not at all. In other words, fire hopscotches around, varying with wind, topography, type of fuel, etc. Also, brush, shrubs, flowers & groundcover recover much faster than even small trees. This hike was no different.

2.3 miles into the hike, I arrived above Grant Creek, where I found a trail sign that seemed to indicate I should descend to the creek. (That sign coincided with the route I had downloaded from Haz.) I was expecting it to be a bushwhack, and it did not look like anything more than some bent brush. Certainly not a purpose-built trail. Meanwhile, though somewhat overgrown, FR 4535 continued and seemed more obvious. So, I followed FR 4535. 🧭

It ended in a ¼ mile. Totally disappeared. Due to fire damage, I could see the far side of Grant Creek, and there was no obvious trail of any sort on, above or below the 9400 ft. contour. Rather than double back to the wood sign, I headed down.

The effects of heavy post-Fry Fire erosion were obvious in Grant Creek. It was very rocky, with quite a bit of deadfall. It took me 30 minutes to canyon crawl a ⅓ of a mile. On the positive side, Grant Creek had good flow even though the first rains of the summer monsoon had yet to arrive. 🌤

A ¼ mile east of Grant Creek, FR 4539 was cut in half by a weed-choked gully. It was 1:30 p.m. I calculated it would take me two hours to hike the FR 4539 / FR 4541 half of the “figure 8”, plus another 90 minutes doubling back to Cunningham Trailhead on FR 4538. I had promised my wife I would be back around 3:00 p.m., so I bailed.

Heading back, FR 4538 crossed a number of small gullies, gradually eroding their way upslope with each passing monsoon. There were good-size patches of grass, weeds & other small greenery surrounding each gully. One grassy area even had a seep. All the gullies were easy to cross.

There was also more shade on FR 4538 than there was 200 ft. upslope on FR 4535, and that was despite the afternoon sun, which rotated to Mount Graham’s western slope. The shade was welcome, despite the temperature being only 72℉, as I had gotten burnt pretty good hiking through the Frye Fire burn area. Burnt from the sun, that is. 😁

Hike Video: [ youtube video ]
Named place
Named place
Grant Creek
Meteorology
Meteorology
Fire Burn Area & Recovery Sunburst
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Overall, isolated. Maybe a dozen species total. Western Wallflowers were the most common species, and were spectacular.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Grant Creek Light flow Light flow
Loud flow between 9200-9400 el. Also found seep on east flank of Hill 9323.
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Jul 10 2019
markthurman53
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 Guides 83
 Routes 487
 Photos 5,758
 Triplogs 404

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Cunningham Loop, AZ 
Cunningham Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 10 2019
markthurman53
Hiking8.91 Miles 1,617 AEG
Hiking8.91 Miles   4 Hrs   29 Mns   2.58 mph
1,617 ft AEG   1 Hour   2 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
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Second hike for day two was the Cunningham Loop trail from the Grant Hill Trail Head. This is a fairly easy hike with a little bit of distance and AEG without realizing it. The trail is mostly along old logging roads with a short section of actual trail between the Lower and Upper Cunningham trail near Grant Creek and a section of non existent trail from the upper to lower Cunningham Trail along a side creek of Grant Creek. I did this in a counterclockwise direction. Beautiful hike along the western slopes of Mount Graham. The trail passes through some burn areas and some pristine areas. This trail takes you about as close to Mount Graham as you are allowed (staying below 9800 feet), don't want to irritate the Red Squirrel, they have had it with being counted and recounted and then burnt over the last 20 years. If you are in the area and want a fairly easy and scenic hike this is it. This hike can be broken into pieces for shorter loops with access in a couple places along the Swift Trail (Forest road). The only difficult part of this hike was the half dozen or so creek crossings. The fires have lead to massive erosion of the streams and where the logging roads use to cross these creeks with ease there are now deep ravines with unstable soil. A little bit of planning is required to find the safest and best route across. Watch out for the stinging Nettle plant at some of the crossings. It has been a long time since I encountered these buggers so at one of the crossings my hand had an encounter with them. Boy does it burn. The burning ended after about 15 minutes and left some welts but 24 hours later my fingers were still numb. As I write this almost two days later my fingers are just getting back to normal. As I recall this lengthy reaction is not a normal reaction to the plant though. I have a question someone might have an answer for, What are the little white bags stapled to some of the trees (about 3 x 5 inches). Some trees have one bag others have two or three.
Flora
Flora
Cow Parsnip
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Sep 18 2017
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,684

49 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Frye Fire 2017 Aftermath, AZ 
Frye Fire 2017 Aftermath, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 18 2017
SkyIslander18
Hiking11.00 Miles 1,500 AEG
Hiking11.00 Miles
1,500 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
On Thursday 9/14 the top portion of the Swift Trail (366) was opened back up to the public.
This was the first opportunity for the Gila Valley residents to drive up and view the effects from the Frye Fire.

I drove up and parked at High Peak road. Completed a big loop to & through the above linked trails/campgrounds.

I've only got 2 thoughts -

#1 - The fire was good for the overall future health and growth of the Pinaleno Mountain range for the decades and more to come, I do not deny that fact.

#2 - For myself ..... the 40+ year hiker, backpacker, camper, fisherman & photographer of this magnificent mountain range ..... I am totally devastated and heartbroken by the destruction I viewed on top.
The Pinalenos will never be the same for the rest of my life.
I am shook, I am bitter & I am angry, but I am also very thankful that I got to see and share with my family and friends the incredible beauty of what once was. There will be many more great memories made on this mountain ..... just in a different way now and in different locations.
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May 14 2017
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,684

49 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Cunningham SpurTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 14 2017
SkyIslander18
Hiking8.40 Miles 850 AEG
Hiking8.40 Miles
850 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners none no partners
Parked at Grant Hill where I spotted a turkey hiking up the trail.
Crossed the Swift Trail to the Cunningham TH where I found a nice wool blanket hanging in a tree :-k
Hiked up the Spur trail to it's end :next: Off-trailed down the drainage to upper Cunningham trail :next: Took Cunningham back to the start completing the "short" loop. Excellent start to the day.
Next up was a drive back down and around the mountain to Twilight.
Hiked along the road and up/down to Twilight Spring. Still a little early for berries & flowers at Twilight.
I then off-trailed across the canyon and up to cabin road and took it to it's end to visit my family's old cabin.
A mile walk back on the cabin road & Swift Trail completed my 2nd loop for the day.

Perfect cool mountain weather - 4 deer, 2 turkey, 5 Abert's - New wool blanket & a stroll down memory cabin lane.

Mountain hiking then dinner with my visiting Mom on Mother's Day = :y:
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cunningham Spur Creek Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Twilight Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
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May 07 2017
friendofThunde
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 Guides 18
 Routes 280
 Photos 7,723
 Triplogs 716

37 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Cunningham Loop TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 07 2017
friendofThundergod
Hiking7.93 Miles 1,138 AEG
Hiking7.93 Miles   3 Hrs   7 Mns   2.77 mph
1,138 ft AEG      15 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
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I usually don't get too excited about old road bed trails like this, but this one is very nice. The loop goes through some very nice stands of old growth pines and firs and there was running water at most of the drainage crossings. The trail is in great condition and easy to follow. A very nice leg stretcher, or stroll if in the area. The highlight of the hike was the very large black bear that greeted us before we even reached the closed gate marking the start of the loop.
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Oct 04 2016
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,684

49 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Cunningham SpurTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 04 2016
SkyIslander18
Hiking10.25 Miles 1,010 AEG
Hiking10.25 Miles
1,010 ft AEG
 no routes
Autumn aspen chasing trip up high today.
Cunningham Spur :next: Cunningham Loop :next: Grant Hill Loop :next: Moonshine Creek :next: Swift Trail was the order.
Aspens are in all stages of turn, but mostly not quite golden there, should be peak in 1-2 weeks.
Cunningham Spur / Cunningham Loop / Grant Hill Loop / Swift Trail were all uneventful, but always nice trails.
Moonshine Creek was the highlight! It was like someone flipped the switch once I got headed down the trail. The aspens looked good, creek was flowing good and wildlife came out around every bend including 5 deer, a dozen turkeys in the meadow, 3 Abert's squirrels & something big running down the canyon breaking tree limbs (bear or elk?). I added the climb out onto the overlook of Ft Grant prison and Moonshine falls before leaving.
:D
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cunningham Spur Creek Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Moonshine Creek Medium flow Medium flow
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Nov 04 2015
mcdobbs
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 Triplogs 20

65 female
 Joined Jan 22 2013
 Safford, AZ
Cunningham Loop TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 04 2015
mcdobbs
Hiking7.60 Miles 1,212 AEG
Hiking7.60 Miles
1,212 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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The Cunningham Loop Trail is currently closed to hiking due to forest thinning project in the area.
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Sep 02 2014
Craigbhikin
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 Photos 321
 Triplogs 42

56 male
 Joined Apr 11 2011
 Mesa, AZ
Cunningham Loop TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 02 2014
Craigbhikin
Hiking7.60 Miles 1,212 AEG
Hiking7.60 Miles
1,212 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
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Great hike, yes it was an easy hike but it was fun all the same. If you are looking for a trail that is easy, but not to short this is a good hike. Seen little sign of other hikers, actually never even seen another hiker all weekend. Some great views along the way there are also side roughs along the way to explore.
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Craigbehikin
Jun 17 2014
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,684

49 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Grant Hill LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 17 2014
SkyIslander18
Hiking13.25 Miles 1,485 AEG
Hiking13.25 Miles
1,485 ft AEG
 no routes
Tuesdays have quickly become my favorite day of the week.
It's the full day that I get to spent with not only 2 great co-workers, but 2 Awesome friends!

Addie, Lauren & Myself chose for this Tuesday a figure 8 hike combining the Grant Hill & Cunningham loops high up on Graham.
We started with Grant Hill Loop - Wonderful greenery, the aspens are coming in nicely this year and both of the big overlooks were excellent. The sunflowers are just starting to bloom and all of the small creek crossings had some light flow.
We then crossed over to the Cunningham Trails - We headed up the spur to start then off-trailed back down to the main loop. Again, very green with the flowers starting to do their thing. IMO this is still the best looking strand of forest that the Pinalenos has to offer!
After completing the figure 8 with a short stroll down the Swift Trail, we decided on a quick bag of Ladybug Peak on the drive back down to get Addie's name in the register (tag Mr Sands, your it).
Wildlife spotted on the day - 3 Abert's squirrel, 6 white-tail does, 1 mountain turkey & hundreds of unidentified caterpillars all over the trees & ground.

Very enjoyable & entertaining day once again on the big island, Thanks AD & LM
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Jun 05 2014
wha
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 Photos 88
 Triplogs 338

male
 Joined Feb 10 2012
 Arizona
Cunningham Loop TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Backpack avatar Jun 05 2014
wha
Backpack23.37 Miles 4,833 AEG
Backpack23.37 Miles4 Days         
4,833 ft AEG
 no routes
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With record highs in the forecast I decided it would be a good time to go up high for a few days. It's been years since I was in the Pinalenos, so time to get reacquainted. Many of the trails are up and down and I was looking for some easier hiking. The Cunningham and Grant Hill trails looked ideal.


Day 1 - Arrived at the Grant Hill TH mid afternoon. Previous triplogs had people hiking up Cunningham Spur and then bushwhacking down to the lower trail. A map at the TH showed both upper and lower trails were complete, so I crossed Swift Trail and headed out on the upper trail (Cunningham Spur). The TH map is wrong. Where people went cross country is where the road ends. There was sort of a trail for a ways after that but I eventually lost it, and so I too headed down to join the lower trail. With the late start, I just went another mile and then found a spot to camp.


Day 2 - Cunningham Loop isn't that long, so to stretch the trip to 4 days I planned to explore some of the old roads shown on topo maps. I took a "trail" down to Moonshine Creek, got some water, and spent a couple hours hiking the long abandoned roads above here. One way gets you very close to the squirrel refuge boundary. The other countours around to Post Creek. The roads were badly overgrown in places, and booby-trapped by ground squirrels in others. Not easy hiking.

Returned to the Cunningham and explored a few more side roads reaching the high point of the trip, 9600+ feet. Finished the upper loop, took the connecting trail down to the lower, and finished that. Followed a side road near the end to find a campsite for the night.


Day 3 - A short hike and I was back at the Grant Hill TH. Met a FS employee who was checking the Grant Hill trails with a couple YCC kids. I asked about water and he said it was dry. He asked about condition of the Cunningham trails and mentioned that plans for a connector between Cunningham and Hospital Flat were in the final stages.

I wish there were more connectors or longer trails or ways to do loops for multi-day hikes. I also met a large group of backpackers at the TH, scouts maybe. They were out for a multi-day trip and had come from Snow Flat over to Grant Hill yesterday and would go through Cunningham today. They had started at Turkey Flat a couple days ago and I had passed them on the road when I drove up. After Cunningham they had more road walk over towards the Columbine area. How much nicer that would be without all the road walking.

I did a loop out the 322D trail first to see if I could find any water down that drainage. There were some stinking slimy puddles a few hundred feet down off the trail but I decided to cheat and fill up from jugs in my car. I then did a big loop, stopping at both viewpoints looking out over Sulphur Springs Valley. Amazing view. Took the obligatory panorama shots. Returned to my car for more water then hiked back out to the intersection of 322A and 322B where there was a nice open area with flat spots to camp.

It was early so I sat up against a tree and read for a while. I heard a noise from the road and looked up. My first thought was "That's a huge dog.", wondering where the owner was. That lasted a second and I realized it was a bear. Not even 50 feet away. In surprise I exclaimed softly, "Geez". That was enough though. The bear heard me and took off, crashing up the hill.


Day 4 - In the morning did another loop around Grant Hill, covering the sections not done yesterday. Took a sidetrip up to the top of Grant Hill and found the cairn and register. Two actually. An older one with a spiral notebook crammed inside was damp and smelled moldy. I didn't try to remove it figuring it might rip apart. The new one was a couple slips of paper in a jar, with just one entry from last November when it was placed by two SAHC members. Took a long break at the viewpoint enjoying the view, then returned to my car and headed home.
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Oct 11 2013
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,684

49 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Grant Hill LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 11 2013
SkyIslander18
Hiking10.30 Miles 1,020 AEG
Hiking10.30 Miles
1,020 ft AEG
 no routes
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Went searching up high for autumn aspens. Found a few good patches of gold along with 14 Abert's squirrels, 6 turkeys & 4 white-tail does.
Awwwwwesome possum squared day on the Big Island!
Fauna
Fauna
Red-tailed Hawk
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Moonshine Creek Light flow Light flow
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Aug 22 2013
drwells14
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 Photos 141
 Triplogs 19

47 male
 Joined Sep 02 2002
 Mesa, AZ
Cunningham Loop TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 22 2013
drwells14
Hiking4.50 Miles 350 AEG
Hiking4.50 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   1.80 mph
350 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
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Completed the upper portion of the loop.
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"Not all those who wander are lost." - JRR Tolkien
May 20 2013
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,684

49 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Cunningham Loop TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 20 2013
SkyIslander18
Hiking14.00 Miles 2,100 AEG
Hiking14.00 Miles
2,100 ft AEG
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fricknaley
PrestonSands
The Yeti rolled into town last night and after a text & call, I found myself 12 hours later heading up the Swift Trail with Preston & Nick for my first hikes up high on Graham for 2013 :y:

We first hiked up and to the end of Cunningham Spur then off-trailed down along the creek until we dropped onto the Cunningham Loop Trail which we then completed counter-clockwise.
Next we drove a couple of miles down to Columbine where we split with Preston & Nick heading up to loop Webb Peak/Blair-Ash Ridge/Ash Creek and myself going solo down the Ash Creek Trail for the out-n-back to the falls. All the trails looked great and there was good creek flow throughout.

We then met back up at Columbine and drove back down the Swifty ending a great day of hiking on the upper Pinalenos!

Thanks for the invite guys, good times on the big Island !!!
Flora
Flora
Claret Cup Cactus
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Ash Creek Falls Medium flow Medium flow
Good flow today, falls looked spectacular!
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May 20 2013
fricknaley
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 Guides 93
 Routes 383
 Photos 3,724
 Triplogs 2,762

44 male
 Joined Jun 20 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Cunningham Loop TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 20 2013
fricknaley
Hiking7.58 Miles 1,212 AEG
Hiking7.58 Miles   3 Hrs   13 Mns   2.36 mph
1,212 ft AEG
 
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PrestonSands
SkyIslander18
preston and i had planned on getting up on graham while he was back in safford and we got chad to join us :)

i've always wanted to check this trail out and the guys didn't need any extra convincing so we started on the cunningham spur then off trailed down to the loop and hiked that too. this high country loop is the kind of trail you could hike all day. easy grades, smooth sailing, high country views and big trees like only the sky island king mt. graham can deliver...sensational!!
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May 20 2013
PrestonSands
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 Guides 168
 Routes 149
 Photos 5,534
 Triplogs 1,317

42 male
 Joined Apr 12 2004
 Oro Valley, AZ
Cunningham Loop TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 20 2013
PrestonSands
Hiking7.58 Miles 1,212 AEG
Hiking7.58 Miles   3 Hrs   13 Mns   2.36 mph
1,212 ft AEG14 LBS Pack
 
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fricknaley
SkyIslander18
After meeting up with Nick and Chad at Mount Graham Market, Nick drove us up the Swift Trail for a Pinaleno Party. First up was Cunningham. We took Cunningham Spur to its end, then went off trail downhill to Cunningham Loop, which we hiked in its entirety in a counterclockwise direction. The aspens were wearing fresh new leaves, the creeks were flowing cold and strong, and a few patches of snow lingered on shady north facing slopes. Trees with freshly shredded bark and torn up patches of soil indicated bear season had arrived. Having completed the entire Cunningham complex, we studied the topo, then drove further up the Swift Trail for more fun...
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"I'm going for a coffee, but you never know when a hike might break out." -Jim Gaffigan
Sep 03 2012
paulhubbard
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 Guides 4
 Routes 11
 Photos 2,715
 Triplogs 161

61 male
 Joined Jun 01 2010
 Mesa, AZ
Cunningham Loop TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 03 2012
paulhubbard
Hiking4.50 Miles 350 AEG
Hiking4.50 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   1.80 mph
350 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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kplumaz
After seeing Outdoor Lover's triplog of the Cunningham Loop trail we knew this was a "must do" hike. It certainly didn't disappoint - What a wonderful trail! Taking the upper loop first (clockwise) you get all the climbing out of the way at first, and at ~9200 ft elevation that's welcome! The trail starts out as an old road, but narrows down to a nice strolling path through the beautiful pines of the Pinalenos. Wildflowers galore, beautiful mountain views, springs and creeks, it has it all!

We can't wait to go back and explore more of this sky island!
Named place
Named place
Grant Creek Post Creek Riggs Lake
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
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Jul 14 2012
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,684

49 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Cunningham Loop TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 14 2012
SkyIslander18
Hiking8.00 Miles 921 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles
921 ft AEG
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outdoor_lover
Day 2 of mine & Pam's overnight on Graham. Awoke early to cold 48 degree temps and decided on a short solo hike around Snow Flat lake before sunrise to warm up. After Pam woke up (Geez, sleep in til 5:30am why don't cha :lol: ) we packed up camp and drove first up to the Columbine visitor center where we spent about an hour. The visitor center was closed all of last year and it was real nice to see it back open again, this is a must stop for anyone traveling on top of the mountain! We then drove back down the Swift Trail and started the Cunningham hike from the east TH first taking the Cunningham Spur trail up. At the spur's end we then off-trailed down along the drainage and onto the lower Cunningham loop. Hiked the upper & lower trails returning back to the east TH to complete the big loop.

What a great forest hike!!! IMO - This loop goes through the finest section of forest to be found anywhere on the Pinaleno mountains! This loop lacks the big overlook views that most of the upper mountain trails have, but more then makes up for it with just a beautiful lush, green walk through thick forest that has none of the fire & bark beetle damage that so many of the other trails on top have! Most of the many creek & drainage crossings had water flow and lush flora throughout and we also spotted a few white-tails crossing the trail towards the end of the loop.

Pam then took me back down the Swift Trail just below Wet Canyon where I had parked my truck the day before and I continued back down home as she headed back up for another night on the mountain. Great trip with Great company on a Great mountain!!!
Flora
Flora
Cow Parsnip
Named place
Named place
Pinaleno Mountains Snow Flat
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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Jul 14 2012
outdoor_lover
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 Guides 5
 Routes 8
 Photos 11,098
 Triplogs 508

56 female
 Joined Aug 19 2011
 Scottsdale, AZ
Cunningham Loop TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 14 2012
outdoor_lover
Hiking8.00 Miles 921 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles
921 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
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SkyIslander18
Another nice Trail by a Water Rat! We woke up to a nice Sunrise at Snow Flat where we camped, got packed up and on the road in short order. Went up the Swift Trail to the Cunningham Visitor's Center, which was actually open for a change, so we checked it out, along with the beautiful Flower laden Meadow there.

Drove back down the Swift Trail for a short distance to the TH for this Loop. Chad had already done the "traditional" Loop, so we took a Spur Trail up, and planned on doing the Upper Cunningham Trail when we got to that intersection. This allowed us to Hike the entirety of all of the Trails with the exception of a 1/4 mile of the Lower Trail where it intersects with the Swift Trail.

The old bod was really starting to protest a little about "more uphill" since this was my 4th Hiking day in a row, but I pushed through it and enjoyed the old Forest and Wildflowers along the way....After crossing a couple of trickling drainages, we came to the end of the Spur and had to off trail downhill to meet up with the actual Lower Cunningham Trail. There was a Drainage here too, that had a light flow, so I opted to go down the hard way, following the Water and Drainage.... :D Chad opted for a slightly easier route, around the deadfall and lush foliage surrounding the Creek. I hurried a little because I knew Chad would beat me to the bottom and didn't want him to wait too long, but as it turned out, he only beat me by about 15 minutes and I got some pretty Water shots, so it was all good. The legs got some new Arizona Pinstriping, but nothing that they're not used too.... :)

We continued on, arriving at another Creek area, where I got a few more Water pics, then we found the intersection that takes you up to the Upper Cunningham Trail. Up we go, and once at the top, it levels out nicely. This was a beautiful area and the Hike was thoroughly enjoyable. Eventually, we arrived at the Lower intersection of the Cunningham Loop and took the Lower Cunningham Trail back around to the TH we started at.

We were the only ones on the Trail for a Saturday and you got a wonderful feeling of total isolation in an Old Growth Forest. Nice choice Chad, enjoyed this one quite a bit, even though, by the time I got back to the car, the bod was saying "enough already".... :sweat:

Another good day in the Pinaleno Books!!! Dropped Chad off at his vehicle and then I camped at Twilight, having the huge, isolated campground to myself on a Saturday night! Unbelievable!!! :y:
Flora
Flora
Bluebells
Fauna
Fauna
Honey Bee
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Cunningham Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
At intersection of Lower Cunningham Trail.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cunningham Spur Creek Light flow Light flow
At both the End of the Cunningham Spur Trail and the Intersection of the Lower Cunningham Trail.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Upper Cunningham Creek Medium flow Medium flow
At the Intersection of the Lower Cunningham Trail.
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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"
Sep 05 2011
nonot
avatar

 Guides 93
 Routes 236
 Photos 1,969
 Triplogs 476

male
 Joined Nov 18 2005
 Phoenix, AZ
Tour de Mt Graham, AZ 
Tour de Mt Graham, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 05 2011
nonot
Hiking17.90 Miles 3,500 AEG
Hiking17.90 Miles   7 Hrs   36 Mns   2.36 mph
3,500 ft AEG25 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Started off on the Cunningham Loop Trail, apparently took a wrong turn and was long past a missed junction before I realized my mistake. Turned out to be a great loop anyways! Cool breezes, great forest, no rain, abundant flowers and water.

Could not find the Crazy Horse Trail, the area has received major burn damage and is heavily overgrown.

Big Creek Trail is not marked, but was in great shape.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!
2 archives
Mar 31 2011
SkyIslander18
avatar

 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,684

49 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Cunningham Loop TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 31 2011
SkyIslander18
Hiking8.24 Miles 1,150 AEG
Hiking8.24 Miles   3 Hrs   22 Mns   7.85 mph
1,150 ft AEG   2 Hrs   19 Mns Break
 no routes
Partners none no partners
With the back half of the Swift Trail (Hwy 366) still closed until April 15th, I decided that I just could not wait anymore for it to open and mountain biked my way in to the trails. I first biked in to the Grant Hill TH and hiked the lower Cunningham Loop, jumped back on my bike and rode down to Hospital Flat and hiked the nature trail, then back on the bike down to Treasure Park and hiked down the Big Creek Falls trail. Spent about an hour at Treasure Park before jumping back on the bike and riding back up to my truck parked at the High Peak Rd TH.
All 3 trails still have a few patches of snow on them and I was up to my knees on one short stretch along Cunningham Loop. Weather was perfect and all the trails were beautiful!!! I really thought by biking in I would be the only person on this side of the mountain for the day, but I must have been passed by 10 vehicles driving up that I assume were Mt. Graham telescope workers. This was the first time I have ever mountain biked on the Swift Trail and it ended up being one of the funnest day trips I have ever had on the Grahams!
Fauna
Fauna
Checkered Beetle
Culture
Culture
HAZ Rides
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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2 archives
average hiking speed 2.29 mph
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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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