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Wednesday, July 22, 2009


GRANITE MOUNTAIN TRAIL Granite Mountain Wilderness West of Prescott, the unmistakable, monolith of Granite Mountain dominates the horizon. Meandering through a wilderness of billion-year-old granite boulders and colored with a mosaic of wildflowers and blooming shrubs, trail #261 leads to a scenic, cliff lookout area 2,000 feet over Granite Basin Lake. Junipers, pines and oaks, shade parts of the trail but most are exposed to the sun. Between the months of December and July, the cliffs are closed (the maintained trails in the area remain open) to climbing due to nesting Peregrine falcons, and if you have a good eye, you may be able to see one of the fastest creatures on the planet in flight. Once at the “Vista Lookout” sign, continue hiking among the boulders as the path hugs the escarpment and opens up to a spectacle of volcanic crags, a blue horizon and distant mountain peaks. At the end of the trail, there’s an optional boulder scramble to an interesting jumble of granite spires. LENGTH: 9 miles roundtrip RATING: moderate ELEVATION: 5,580' – 7,220' GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, take I-17 north to the Cordes Junction interchange then turn left (west) onto Highway 69 toward Prescott. In Prescott, take Highway 89 south (a.k.a. Sheldon Street) and drive 1.3 miles to the “T” intersection with Montezuma Street. Keep following Montezuma Street., which will turn, into Whipple Street which will then turn into Iron Springs Road (a.k.a. SR 10). Drive 3 miles on Iron Springs Road and then turn right onto Granite Basin Road (a.k.a. FR 374). Drive 3.5 miles to the signed Metate trailhead where there’s a restroom and a water fountain. There’s a $2 daily fee per vehicle. The dirt roads are accessible by sedan. INFO & MAPS:


Anonymous said...

This hike description of the Granite Mountain trail #261 says that the high point of the hike is 7,626'. That is the top of the mountain! Not the trail. The #261 trail dose not come close to the highest point of Granite Mountain which is 7,626'. The #261 trail might have 1,500' of vertical gain, if that.

Mare said...

Thanks for calling that out, Anonymous. We did find a spur trail leading to the 7626' actual summit, but as you point out, it's not part of trail 261 and it requires some route finding and scrambling to reach.