Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
Granite Mountain Loop Day Hike
when Trip Report : January 18, 2020
where Scottsdale
the hike     This hike consists of a large (about a ten-mile) loop with several cutouts to make it a shorter loop. We are stitching together several trails in the central and northern sections of the park. The elevation in these two regions ranges from about 2300 to 3000 feet or so, as a result, this foothills region gets much more rain than the valley floor, and is, therefore, much greener and with some incredible saguaro and ocotillo and many other great cactus plants in very large concentrations. It also has great variety of terrain, with lots of boulder areas and granite mountains.
    This hike begins at the Granite Mountain Trailhead. It will be a clockwise loop around Granite and Cholla and around the technical area north of Cholla Mountain, and then back to the trailhead via the north side of Granite Mountain. This loop will also have three cut-offs for those who wish to do shorter hikes (see Map).
    We start by taking take the Bootlegger Trail to BL2, we then get on the Granite Mountain Loop Trail, and at GM9, we take the Balanced Rock Trail. We will stop at Balanced Rock for some photos and then continue on the Balanced Rock Trail to Cholla Mountain Trail. We will take a side trip to the Amphitheater and then continue North on the Cholla Mountain Trail to Cathedral Rock, another short side trail. After that stop we will continue on the Cholla Mountain Loop Trail northward to CM5. At which point we will take the Stagecoach Trail north to the High Desert Trail (HD30). We will turn eastward and continue to the Divide Trail (HD5), turning south on the Divide Trail to TD 1, where we turn east onto the Branding Iron Trail and continue (at GM1) onto the Granite Mountain Loop Trail. At GM10, we will take advantage of the Scenic View (if the timing is right, you can see the fountains at Fountain Hills shooting up into the air. We will continue on the Granite Mountain Loop Trail GM3 and then (via GM2) take the Bootleg Trail back to the trailhead. This is approximately 10.7 to 11.2 miles (there are about 30 waypoints on the map, so when I added it, the numbers varied from 10.7 miles to 11.2 miles).
    The cutouts occur (going clockwise) at GM9, one can take the Granite Mountain Loop Trail north, and then at GM7 go east and follow the Granite Mountain Loop Trail and via the Scenic View get back to the trailhead as described above This is about a 6.1 mile loop. Another cutout is at CM2. Go north on the Cholla Mountain Loop Trail and then get on the Branding Iron Trail and head east as described above form TD1. This is about an 8.2 miles loop. A third cutout is continue, as the longer loop description until CM5 on the east side of Cholla Mountain and take the Cholla Mountain Loop Trail to TD1, and the follow the route described earlier back to the trailhead via the Scenic View and GM3. This is about a 9.3 mile loop.
    We will go to lunch after the hike.
distance 11.2 miles, or 9.3 miles, or 8.2 miles, or 6.1 miles
time 4-8 hours
EC +-1500' elevation change
elevations 1900' to 2900'
type loop
starting at Granite Mountain Trailhead
on trail 100% — Bootlegger, Granite Mountain Loop, Balanced Rock, Cholla Mountain, Stagecoach, High Desert, Divide, Branding Iron, Bootleg Trails
rating "B"     Rate yourself as a hiker.
dogs allowed no
cost Sharing gas expenses with the driver.
The club also allows voluntary contributions of $5 per non-member.
weather Scottsdale
meet 8:00 AM at Granite Mountain Trailhead.
•  Take Loop 101 and get off at Princess/Pima.
Go north on Pima Road to Dynamite Blvd.
Go east on Dynamite for three miles and turn north at 136th Street.
Drive north about three miles on 136th Street and turn left into the Granite Mountain Trailhead parking lot.

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updated February 6, 2020 © Copyright 2020, Arizona Trailblazers.  All rights reserved.