The upper parts of Mt Graham are only open April to October, weather permitting.
These are two short loops, about 5 miles each. Each loop has about 1.5 miles of (true) singletrack connected by old jeep roads (slowly becoming singletrack). Great views on the south Cunningham loop, take advantage of the many outlooks along the way.
Need to Know
The trails themselves warrant a ranking of easy, but the loose rocky sections make this at least an INTERMEDIATE trail, especially at speed. Watch the altitude, it is likely to get you if you don't pace yourself. GPS tracks HIGHLY recommended, many side and parallel roads.
If there have been rains, there are several creek crossings along the route.
You can start at many places along the route, including the "center" of the "figure 8" (1.5 miles in after the pavement ends) There is parking for several vehicles and you can then choose what loop you would like to do first. HIGHLY recommend GPS tracks to verify your route as there are numerous side roads. You can also start at the Cunningham Campground, or shuttle the two miles to the Grant Hill Trail trailhead. While it is only 2 miles from the campground to the trailhead, the mileage is deceiving since the ride starts at almost 9000' and goes up from there.
There is a trail map at most parking lots. If starting at Cunningham in the "middle", head off to the southeast and around the gate. The trail here is wide as you rip down a loose rocky section (stay left at the first road fork). The trail will quickly kick up and you'll climb through the pine and aspen forest on a combination of loose and rocky and packed old jeep trails. After a mile you should be able to make out a faint trail jutting off to the left. Don't miss this one, as it takes you out to a great vantage point that overlooks the valley to the west. From here you can see the Catalina Mountains, the Rincon Mountains, and even all the way to Boboquivari and Kitt Peak 100 miles away.
After soaking it all in, continue on the climb. After another half a mile, the trail comes to a T. Take the trail to the left. Again the trail widens for a little bit and gets a little rockier and continues to go up. After a little less than a mile more, the downhill fun starts. Don't miss the sharp left turn that will take you down some fun switchbacks. Keep cruising downhill, but not too fast or you may miss the raspberries that grow on the side of the trail in the summer.
The Grant Hill Loop Trail
ends on a slight uphill after a tiny creek crossing. Once back to the parking lot cross the main road and straight on to Cunningham Trail
. The trail is wide and rocky and climbs for half a mile before coming to a junction. Take the left. The right will get you back to down to the Cunningham campground, but the riding to the left is more fun.
Stay on the singletrack for the next 3 miles as it takes you mostly downhill back to Cunningham campground. The trail swoops, and turns and crosses small creeks. Enjoy the ride down. Once you hit the road, head right to get you back to the campground.
Shared By: Hillary Mathis