Upcoming Events

Generally, hike meet-up is at 8:00am on the day of hike.  Meet-up for hikes on Mt. Graham and east of Safford is at the main gate of the Graham County Fairgrounds.  Hikes west of Safford will meet-up at the Pima Town Hall parking lot in Pima, Arizona. Hikes east of Safford will meet-up at DRG Technology parking lot (300 E 4th St. next to Safford Bowling Alley.)   From the meet-up point carpools are organized and driving directions are shared.

Check the calendar below for dates of future hikes or download our calendar of events by clicking on this link: 

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzUswbhetKhZU2JodU8xNm92M0k


Scheduled Hikes & Events

Snow Flat to Hospital Flat
May 20, 2017
Easy Moderate

As you enter Snow Flat near the lake, an old Jeep trail marked by a "closed to motor vehicles" sign marks this hike.  Follow the road uphill as it lead into the trees.  After a quick climb, the road levels off and arrives at a junction 0.4 miles near a campsite.  Continue to the left.  The road turns south and travels through mixed conifers and towards Treasure Park.  Keep and open eye for wild turkeys and deer.  They are abundant in this area, but rather elusive.

At 1.2 miles, the trail enters the largest meadow on the mountain, Treasure Park.  Make sure to locate the interpretive sign on the east side of the meadow explaining the history of this spot.

At the bottom of the meadow, near the road junction, cut up the hill and continue west.  You will soon find an old logging road. You can continue either direction and find Hospital Flat.  Just watch for the Forest Service sign denoting the trail if you go north.  An interpretive sign near the restrooms in Hospital Flat shares history of this area.

You can continue up through the meadow on the west side of the campgrounds to the road and then  0.1 mile on the road to the Grant Hill Loop trail system.  Follow the trail (road) to the left for .25 mile to the junction with a road to the left.  This road will take you back to Treasure Park on an alternate route.  Then you can retrace your steps back to Snow Flat.
 

Ash Creek Mill Site

June 3
Challenging



In the late 1800s, the Gila Valley needed lumber to build homes, businesses, barns, wagons and furniture, so the early founders of the community looked up to the towering pines of Mount Graham and built a sawmill. . . or six.

The trailhead is located 25 miles up the top of the mountain near the Columbine Visitor Center, about 9,300 ft in elevation. 

This is a challenging but beautiful hike. As you start out, the trail descends the north side of Mount Graham through pleasant tall pines and fields of grasses dotted with wildflowers.  The trail passes through a large area of deadfall aspen and in the first .25 miles there are a few deadfalls to climb over or negotiate around.  Soon you'll come to the remains of an old boiler at a trail junction.  Turning right you will move down to a wide logging area and see lots of leafy green plants. It's almost like a tropical rainforest if it wasn't 9,000 ft high. Ash Creek trickles by the side of the trail and you'll have the distinct privilege of crossing it many times along the hike.

Follow the trail another mile and you will come to an open grassy meadow where the Mt. Graham Mill sent logs down a flume to Cluff’s Ponds.  Little remains of the mill site—an old boiler, the rock foundation of a building, some metal spools and cable--nothing remains of the flume.  But this is a great hike.     Just be aware the trip is downhill to the mill site and uphill to get home.


Webb Peak/Chesley Flat  CANCELLED DUE TO FIRE
Alternate Hike:  Ladybug Saddle to Turkey Flat 

June16
Moderatly Easy 3 miles  

 It’s just a short half mile from Ladybug Saddle to Ladybug Peak, but before we reach the peak, we head down the trail #329 towards the cabin area at Turkey Flat. It’s a short climb from the parking lot to the ridge line, then a long series of switchbacks await a hiker.

As a hiker walks through the dense fir forest, there are glimpse of the Chiricahua Mountains, Sulphur Springs Valley, the Galiuro Mountains, and Mt. Graham itself. Shortly after reaching the ridge, a trail to the left is marked by two old metal signs nailed to the tree heads down Veach Ridge to the cabin areal. As a hiker moves down this trail, a mixed woodland is encountered with gamble oaks and aspens scattered among the firs.

 
Several rock promontories provide excellent views of Heliograph Peak, Swift Trail, and the Gila Valley below. At one point, a vertical knife-like cliff looms above hikers. Not much further and a marked side trail taking off to the left heads a short tenth of a mile to Swift Trail and Turkey Flat cabin area.



Blue Jay Trail

July 8
Challenging  4.9 miles



 This little-known trail forms a nice day loop around Blue Jay Peak, in the remote northern end of the Pinaleño Mountains. The trek begins near the top of West Peak as an old road passing through clumps of tall Ponderosa pines left untouched by a wildfire in 1973.  The burn scar is now covered with ferns, brush, and wildflowers. There are great views of Clark Peak, Mt. Graham and the telescopes.  The road finally gives way to a trail. The trail moves north through pines to a large out cropping of rock providing a wide view of the Gila Valley below.

The trail then encounters a tangle of young Gamble Oaks and may require some trail finding skills.  Eventually the trail encounters a forested bench, of firs and ponderosa pines before changing to west facing slopes of oaks and brush.  The last half mile of the trail drops down through shady white firs and aspens ending at the Turkey Spring trailhead.  Now it is a steep walk back up the road to your vehicle unless you have shuttled with a friend.



Grant Hill Loop Tentative due to Frye Fire--alternate hikes being planned. 

July 22
Easy to Moderate


Heliograph Tentative due to Frye Fire--alternate hikes being planned. 

August 5
Moderate



Clark Peak Flat Loop Tentative due to Frye Fire

August 19
Easy  3.1 miles


The hike begins at the Clark Peak Trailhead, at the end of the Swift Trail. Follow the four wheel drive road that takes off from the south side of the trailhead parking area. The road  loops through the forest passing through pines , firs, aspens and a couple of grassy meadows.  Along the way there are sweet views towards the Galiuros in the south and Nuttal Canyon to the north.  There are a couple of side roads that allow options to travel to another outlook or explore a stream that meanders into the forest to suddenly disappear.  But eventually the road leads us back to our starting point.



Soldier Creek Ice Caves

September 9
?????

Many local residents have heard of the Ice Caves near Mt. Graham, but not known the exact location.  We now have a guide who will take us down the trail to explore the ice caves.  How far?  Not far.   How difficult?   Hmmm--are you afraid of the dark?   This should be a great exploration and at least an excuse for a day on the mountain and a picnic.

The ice caves were known by early summer residents of Columbine.  Until the recent drought, there was always snow and ice in the cave.  Early residents relished the cold stuff in the hot summers.  

The cave entrance is a simple slash in a cliff side that is easily overlooked unless you know where it is.  It open into a large cavern that in turn open into one below it.  When a rock is dropped into the darkness of the cave, the sound echoes off the wall for quite a while.  No one is known to have reached the bottom. 


Seep Canyon Trail

September 23
Moderate 3.3 miles


This short and scenic loop near the Arizona-New Mexico border takes in the rolling hills and forested valleys of the Big Lue Mountains. Solitude is almost a certainty in this out of the way country. Colorful wildflowers and verdant hills make late summer an ideal time to hike this loop.
Beginning at Forest Road 212's crossing of Seep Spring Canyon, a very faint old jeep road heads west up Seep Spring Canyon into ponderosa pine forest. The old road soon disappears in the narrow canyon bottom, but one only needs to follow the creek bed to stay on route.


 
High Creek Trail

October 7
Moderate



High Creek Trail is one of the major access routes to the East Divide Trail #287 which runs along the east ridge of the Galiuro Range. From the trailhead at the end of Forest Road 159, the trail follows the High Creek drainage through an area of grassy, oak dotted foothills. Trailside vegetation changes from oak and juniper woodlands to riparian species as the gradient steepens, and views of Sulphur Springs Valley and the Pinaleños broaden to the east. The last of the climb is the steepest as the trail switchbacks its way to the ponderosa pine forests of the Galiuros’ east ridge.


Grant Falls

October 21
Challenging   8 miles


have located it. And it is a true gem--a 200 foot granite wall with a trickling falls and pool--and something to see. This is the hike you don't want to miss.

This used to be the source of fresh water for Fort Grant, and you'll see the old pipes and pumping stations along the way. The trail begins as an old road up to the pumping station. The road parallels and crosses the Grant Creek as one hikes up the canyon. Hikers travel from the high desert environment of cactus, yuccas, and grasses to lower mixed conifers.

Once hikers reach the end of the old road, the trail into the falls crosses the stream and follows the pipe line towards the falls. Shortly, hikers will encounter a large rock in the stream creating a sluice. When you get to the sluice, a new ladder and catwalk have been installed by Forest Service volunteers. At this point, you will know you are close. You'll hear the falls just a short distance away. Another turn or two and you'll be treated to one of the best kept secrets in southern Arizona. The water is cold and clear, and the falls are beautiful.


 Negro Slot Canyon

November 4
Easy   2.5 miles

We learned of Negro Slot Canyon from a guest speaker Dan Best who shared his knowledge of the Morenci Southern Railroad at a club meeting.  There was a picture of a large railroad tie hung up high in a very narrow slot canyon.  We had to find it--and did, along with two old steel bridges.

This hike begins along the Gila River near Clifton, Arizona.  There a Negro Canyon empties into the river.  Walking up the sandy canyon the walls loom high above you along with the remains of the railroad bridge.  Slowly, the walls narrow in until you squeeze over a large bolder blocking the mouth of the canyon to climb out in the open space on the mesa top.

Returning to the Gila River, you climb the mesa's side to walk the train bed high above the river's edge to find the remains of another bridge.    Return the way you came.




Galiuro Ash Creek Fall Colors

November 18

Easy to Difficult rating depending on distance you hike

One of the seldom visited areas near us in the Galiuro Mountains southwest of Ft. Grant and Bonita. But they hold some real treasures. Best known is the Powers' Cabin, site of a famous old west shoot-out. (But that's another trail.) Diverse plant and animal communities are found in this rugged terrain. The mountain peaks rise out of golden grasslands, through thickets of evergreen oak, to stands of ponderosa pine. Ash Creek Trail moves though big tooth maple and a small stand of aspens on the north side of 7, 671 foot Bassett Peak. In the fall, the maples along Ash Creek put on a real show making this one of the best fall color hikes in southern Arizona.













       

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