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Monday, August 17, 2009

RED HILL

RED HILL Blue Range Primitive Area

This ambitious hike into the heart of the Blue Range Primitive Area, makes for a magnificent expedition into wonderland of rugged canyons, contorted rock formations and bountiful wildlife. The trail can be accessed from either Blue River Road at the bottom of the canyon or from the Rim off of Highway 191, making it a good candidate for a car shuttle hike. From the upper trailhead, the route is typical of trails in this area—primitive. Fallen trees, overgrown brush and exposed benches where the trail seems to disappear, make staying on track an adventure in itself. However, with good map and compass skills, experienced hikers will have little trouble navigating because landmarks such as the surreal geology of Red Bluff, Foote Creek and Blue River Canyon really stand out along the way. Much of the trail hugs the edge of steep canyon walls and stony outcroppings where vista views stretch all the way into New Mexico. At near the 10-mile point, the trail (#56) terminates at Tutt Hill Trail #105. To reach the lower trailhead, hang a left from here and follow trail 105 and then Forest Road 567P for one mile to Red Hill Road. Go right (downhill) to Blue Crossing Campground. The icing on the cake for this hike is a collection of petroglyphs located beyond the gate at the north end of the campground. UPDATE: The June 2011 Wallow Fire has impacted this trail. Check with the forest service before heading out.HIGHLIGHTS: epic views, interesting rock formations, petroglyphs LENGTH: 10 miles one-way RATING: difficult ELEVATION: 8,000 – 5,790 feet DRIVING DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 265 miles GETTING THERE: UPPER TRAILHEAD: From Alpine, drive 14 miles south on Highway 191to Red Hill Road (Forest Road 567). Follow FR 567 for one mile to Forest Road 567B, which is marked by a “Red Hill Trail” sign. Turn right and go a half-mile to the signed trailhead. LOWER TRAILHEAD: From Alpine, drive 3.5 miles east on Highway 180 to Blue River Road (a.k.a. Country Road 2104 or Forest Road 281). Go south on this good dirt road and continue 20 miles to Forest Road 567 Red Hill Road). Turn right, ford the river (usually shallow) and follow the signs to Blue Crossing Campground. There are no fees at the campground. Park here, or those with a 4x4 vehicle can continue up FR 567 roughly one mile to Forest Road 567P. Turn left and go a half-mile to the parking area for Tutt Hill Trail # 105. Follow trail 105 .5 mile to the Red Hill Trail junction and go right. INFORMATION: 928-339-4384, fs.fed.us/r3/asnf/recreation/alpine_trails/index.shtml

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