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Annual Mt Graham Camp/Hike

  • Aug 17, 2012 · 8:00 PM

Hi all,

We are once again headed to Mt Graham near Safford for a weekend of cool car camping and hiking. Mt Graham is far less crowded than Flagstaff or Payson. We'll be camping at 10,000 ft elevation in a dense forest. Even in mid august, you'll need a jacket. You'll encounter unique animals like the endangered Mt Graham red squirrels, coatimundi, maybe even a twin spotted rattler.

There are 2 hikes planned, both on Saturday 8/18.

Hike #1 is my traditional annual trek down Ash Creek Trail, a scenic creek side trail with tons of wildflowers, wild mushrooms, lush rain forest like conditions, and view of an awesome waterfall. We will be hiking down as far as anyone wants to, minimum of about 5 miles RT (moderate hike) and maximum of 16 miles RT (strenuous with over a mile elevation drop and regain), depending on trail conditions.

Hike #2 is a spooky midnight hike up to an abandoned fire lookout tower on top of Webb Peak. It's a short easy hike to the top of a hill roughly 2 miles RT and minimal elevation gain. We'll hope to catch the remnants of Perseids meteor showers.  Start making those wishes now!

Optional activities: Drive to the lake on top of Mt Graham and hike around it. Find another trail nearby. Visit Columbine visitor center.

Meeting times: 
No planned in-town meeting place.  We can caravan if there's interest
8/12, 8 pm - Columbine Corrals CG (If full, then Soldier Creek CG) (see directions) 
8/13, 8 am - Columbine Corrals CG (Ash Creek Trailhead) to begin Ash Creek hike
8/13, 11 pm - Columbine Corrals CG (Webb Peak Trailhead) for midnight hike

Driving Directions: 
US60 east to Globe (1 hr from Mesa) 
US70 east to Safford (1 hr from Globe) 
US191 south from Safford for 7 miles 
AZ366 (swift Trail) west toward Mt Graham, about 26 miles (last few on dirt, cars OK) 
Look for Columbine Visitor Center on left side, but don't turn in there. 
Go just past it and find the "public corrals" / campground on the right. 
Campsites are first come first served (self pay, $10 per night). 
If full, continue down the road for 3/4 mile to Soldier Creek CG

All your food / water for the hikes and camping. 
There is a faucet up there, but we have found it not working in the past. 
Camping gear 
Headlamps for the midnight hike 
Rain gear (monsoon season) 
Cooler full of beverages 
Don't forget a change of clothes for the long ride back. 
Dogs are welcome 
Walkie talkies (optional) - channel 6.6

Hope you can make it.



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  • Charles

    Perfect trip. Great weather for the hike and camp. Thunderstorm after we went to bed was pretty exciting.

    August 20, 2012

  • Randy

    By the way, the Forest Service RAWS weather station located across the road from where we camped recorded 0.75 inch of rain between 9-11 PM from our fantastic storm!

    August 19, 2012

  • Randy

    Awesome weekend up by Mt. Graham. Two straight nights with excitement right after bedtime: first fighting skunks, second raging thunderstorms with a lightning show second to none! Thanks Charles.

    August 19, 2012

  • Charles

    Margie, Randy, look for my blue Jeep Cherokee AZ Plates "MADHIKR" at the campsite. Or you can call me at[masked] but I'm not sure if I get reception up there. Last year I did not except at the top of Webb Peak.

    1 · August 16, 2012

  • Charles

    There will be a few more joining me who aren't part of this group. I plan to leave around mid afternoon Friday from East Mesa.

    August 16, 2012

  • Charles

    Forecast for Safford is high of 91, so expect high in the 60s on top of Graham and lows in the 40s. Remember to bring jackets. Looking forward to getting out of the heat.

    August 15, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just came from there yesterday. Stayed at Riggs lake. Was beautiful! Sorry won't be able to join you. Have fun!

    August 10, 2012

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