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black Gooseberry Trail

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3.9 mile 6.3 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 2,010' 613 m
Descent: -689' -210 m
High: 11,294' 3,442 m
Low: 9,286' 2,830 m


Avg Grade: 13% (7°)
Max Grade: 28% (15°)


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Trail shared by John Geronimo

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An outstanding out-and-back alpine trail with a 2000 foot vertical descent.

John Geronimo

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Features -none-

Snowy during winter months. Note that this is primarily a pedestrian trail. The USFS does not actively encourage MTB, but it is a permitted activity. Please be extra-courteous to hikers on this narrow trail.


This trail is a great out-and-back that is a lung-buster on the way up and quite a ride down: 2000 vertical feet in 3 miles!

The trail has lots of volcanic chunks but is in good condition. If you have the capacity, about 99.9% of it is rideable on the way up. Watch for angular rocks that can catch a pedal or wheel, especially coming down.

To reach Gooseberry Trail, take 547 (paved) north out of Grants. From the intersection with Rt 66, it will be 8.6 miles to FR 193. FR 193 is a gravel and dirt road that can be driven by cars under dry conditions, but it will get muddy during monsoon rains or snowy times of year. Follow FR 193 for 5 miles to the parking area and trailhead.

(Note the trailhead has been moved about 500 feet west from the old trailhead shown on topo maps.)

Leaving the parking area, the trail gradually climbs on narrow singletrack (instead of the old two track) and crosses a wooded valley.

Emerging into alpine meadow, the trail heads straight uphill with about a 20% grade. Eventually you'll reach a saddle and then contour along a wide valley.

Crossing another saddle, it's time for the real grind. Turning north the trail curves across a broad slope and then up a series of switchbacks. The namesake Gooseberry bush is encountered along this section. Eventually, the peak appears with its register box and panoramic views.

The north section descends switchbacks through big trees, past a loose gravelly section and then down a meadow to another trailhead.

For downhill enthusiasts with shuttle capability, it's possible to drive from the north side to within 0.75 miles of the top (4X4 may be necessary). In fact, doubletrack reaches a point 0.29 miles from the top but this road may be gated. Either way, a few minutes of steep climbs and hike-a-bike will put you on top for the 2000 ft downhill run.


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