Granite Mountain Trail 261

Granite Mountain Trail 261, Prescott: Address, Phone Number, Granite Mountain Trail 261 Reviews: 4.5/5

Granite Mountain Trail 261
4.5
What people are saying
Fun & Challenging hike!
Mar 2019
My husband & I (from MN) did this 8 mile round trip hike & found it really challenging & diverse. Make sure to carve out a good amount of time doing this. It took us around 4.5 hrs total (including about 45 min lunch at the top to refuel & enjoy the stunning views). We started around 9:45am at the Metate Trail head (parking lot there- plenty of parking when we went). There was a $5/day cash-only parking fee, so bring a $5 bill. We read this ahead on a previous review, so we were prepared. We also brought a small hiking daypack with plenty of water (2L each), snacks, sunscreen, hats & sunglasses. Good hiking shoes are a must... you’ll need the good grip & ones with ankle support is preferred. I wore trail running shoes, which were great for grip but my ankles were very sore the next day! Also- be sure to dress in layers, as it’s warm while you’re hiking, but chilly as you near the top. It’s more exposed to the wind & there were even snow patches on the mountain as we climbed higher! The first 1.5 miles or so takes you through a flatter forested area, then it starts to gradually incline & then it becomes a great workout as you near the top. You’ll want to be in fairly good shape to do this hike. Our kids would’ve only made it about half way, so I’m glad we didn’t bring them. It was a beautiful trail, going over several creek crossings (feet may get wet), and through an eerie & awesome area where a forest fire had been 6 yrs prior. Lovely song birds & we saw some fun tiny lizards. Snake holes everywhere but we never saw one, although I’m sure they were there! We only saw about 4 other hikers the entire time, so it wasn’t a congested trail, which we loved. Very exposed to the sun once you’re out of the forest & start to climb, so drink lots of water, cover your skin & use sunblock! Even with these precautions we still got a little sunburned. The trail was pretty easily marked all the way until you get up towards the top of a saddle... the trail appears to fork off a couple different ways. Thankfully we ran into an experienced backpacker who was really familiar with the area, right before we got there. If you take the left trail, it will bring you around the other side of the mountain where you will need to end up doing some climbing & bouldering if you want to make it to the true summit. Apparently this should only be done by expert hikers/climbers & can be dangerous- especially going back down. I’d consider ourselves more intermediate hikers, and didn’t feel we had the right gear for this,so we took the trail to the RIGHT. It’s about another 45 min from there to the top, where you weave through another beautiful forest area that seems to appear out of nowhere on this granite rock! Super cool. I gave this hike 4/5 stars only due to there’s no definitive “trail end”... no sign, no nothing. Trail just appears to stop, which makes this long challenging fun hike feel a bit deflating. Wish they had a sign showing the mountain name with elevation listed and a weatherproof box to sign your name in a notebook, like many other summit hikes have. You can, however, get to a great flat spot with an amazing view, which is where we sat & had lunch. :) There’s a few small trails that can get you there, if you look for them. Overall I LOVED this hike- it was challenging, lovely views along the way, and although the heights were awesome, there weren’t any scary sheer drops, so I felt safe the whole way. Enjoy, friends! :)

Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

4.5
29 reviews
Excellent
16
Very good
12
Average
0
Poor
1
Terrible
0

Kathryn M
Minneapolis, MN34 contributions
Fun & Challenging hike!
Mar 2019 • Couples
My husband & I (from MN) did this 8 mile round trip hike & found it really challenging & diverse. Make sure to carve out a good amount of time doing this. It took us around 4.5 hrs total (including about 45 min lunch at the top to refuel & enjoy the stunning views).

We started around 9:45am at the Metate Trail head (parking lot there- plenty of parking when we went). There was a $5/day cash-only parking fee, so bring a $5 bill. We read this ahead on a previous review, so we were prepared. We also brought a small hiking daypack with plenty of water (2L each), snacks, sunscreen, hats & sunglasses. Good hiking shoes are a must... you’ll need the good grip & ones with ankle support is preferred. I wore trail running shoes, which were great for grip but my ankles were very sore the next day! Also- be sure to dress in layers, as it’s warm while you’re hiking, but chilly as you near the top. It’s more exposed to the wind & there were even snow patches on the mountain as we climbed higher!

The first 1.5 miles or so takes you through a flatter forested area, then it starts to gradually incline & then it becomes a great workout as you near the top. You’ll want to be in fairly good shape to do this hike. Our kids would’ve only made it about half way, so I’m glad we didn’t bring them.

It was a beautiful trail, going over several creek crossings (feet may get wet), and through an eerie & awesome area where a forest fire had been 6 yrs prior. Lovely song birds & we saw some fun tiny lizards. Snake holes everywhere but we never saw one, although I’m sure they were there! We only saw about 4 other hikers the entire time, so it wasn’t a congested trail, which we loved. Very exposed to the sun once you’re out of the forest & start to climb, so drink lots of water, cover your skin & use sunblock! Even with these precautions we still got a little sunburned.

The trail was pretty easily marked all the way until you get up towards the top of a saddle... the trail appears to fork off a couple different ways. Thankfully we ran into an experienced backpacker who was really familiar with the area, right before we got there. If you take the left trail, it will bring you around the other side of the mountain where you will need to end up doing some climbing & bouldering if you want to make it to the true summit. Apparently this should only be done by expert hikers/climbers & can be dangerous- especially going back down.

I’d consider ourselves more intermediate hikers, and didn’t feel we had the right gear for this,so we took the trail to the RIGHT. It’s about another 45 min from there to the top, where you weave through another beautiful forest area that seems to appear out of nowhere on this granite rock! Super cool.

I gave this hike 4/5 stars only due to there’s no definitive “trail end”... no sign, no nothing. Trail just appears to stop, which makes this long challenging fun hike feel a bit deflating. Wish they had a sign showing the mountain name with elevation listed and a weatherproof box to sign your name in a notebook, like many other summit hikes have. You can, however, get to a great flat spot with an amazing view, which is where we sat & had lunch. :) There’s a few small trails that can get you there, if you look for them.

Overall I LOVED this hike- it was challenging, lovely views along the way, and although the heights were awesome, there weren’t any scary sheer drops, so I felt safe the whole way. Enjoy, friends! :)
Written 28 March 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Robert S
56 contributions
Best overall trail near Prescott
Jan 2019 • Couples
This is about a 6.5 mile trail to an observation point and encompasses 2000 total elevation gain/loss. From the observation point one can see Prescott, Prescott Valley, mountains to the south, Mingus Mtn to the NE, the San Francisco Peaks in the distant NE and Williams Peak to the N. The fire 7 years ago pretty well denuded much of the mountain exposing the huge granite boulders which compose the peak. The final 1/2 mile round trip to the actual peak is rather strenuous and includes some boulder hopping and bush whacking. No water available so take plenty of liquid, especially in summer.
Written 25 January 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Maura C
Havertown, PA49 contributions
Great long views
Oct 2018 • Couples
Moderately difficult climb (the first mile is flat- the rest are an incline). Beautiful vistas all the way to Flagstaff and the San Francisco peaks, the Prescott and Chino Valleys. We were fortunate to cross a very large snake on the trail down, so be aware! Wildlife is live and wild! It was a bull snake and a beauty...
Written 31 October 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Amy L
Flemington, NJ17 contributions
Beautiful hike
Oct 2018 • Family
Loved it! Saw so many interesting plants and critters, such as tarantulas, lizards, purple beetles! Was about a 10 mile hike, met some really nice people on the trail. Beautiful views! Bathrooms available at trail head.
Written 20 October 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Esty666
Wickenburg, AZ6,169 contributions
Magnificent, but only for the fit
May 2018 • Couples
This is a majestic and magnificent hike. From the parking lot you start out in the woods, with little elevation change, but soon enough turn right onto the side of the mountain, where it is exposed. Thus on a hot day thus will make it very strenuous, which it is in any case as there is now a lot of up, and up and up involved till you reach the lofty overlook like an eagle's eyrie. Near the end of the trail it levels out and you've reached old stands of trees, many of them blackened by fire. The view from the lookout is amazing for sure. However, the last bit involves scrambling over some boulders. This hike is only for fit and sure-fotted people; take lots of water and wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots. If you fit that bill, don't miss this!
Written 28 August 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Greg P
Prescott Valley, AZ721 contributions
Great Overlook and View at End of Trail
Mar 2018 • Couples
This trail was on my To-Do list for some time and finally made the time for the hike. I was very impressed. It was over 4 miles to the overlook from where I parked and the terrain was varied. You pass some very large and old Juniper trees a short distance from the end of the trail on some granite outcropping overlooking the valley and Prescott below.
Written 13 June 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

CJSArizona
Scottsdale, AZ861 contributions
Good hike for scenic views and exercise
Apr 2018 • Friends
This was an enjoyable hike on a straight-forward, well-maintained trail. We wish we had seen it before the 2013 Doce Wildfire wiped out most of the trees on the slopes and near the top. This trail (#261) is one of several in the Granite Mountain Wilderness a few miles south of Prescott. Trail length round trip is 8.2 miles, with an elevation gain about 1500 feet. Your starting point at the parking lot is 5600 feet, so consider this a moderate hike for people in good shape.

Nice pine trees still provide shade at the Metate parking lot (bathroom and fee station). Look for Trail #261 signage at the trailhead, which leads towards a creek bed. Then it parallels the creek through shady trees for the first mile. No water was flowing in early April because very little winter rain fell in the area.

Gradually you climb out of the shade onto a scrubby open hillside. At roughly 1.5 miles you reach a low hill called Blair Pass, where several trails split off (good signage). For Granite Mountain Trail continue on #261 heading uphill. A steady series of switchbacks take you past granite boulders and tree skeletons. At this point you start seeing good views of mountain topography looking west, south and east.

After a mile you’ll reach the Granite Mountain Saddle. Pathways go left and right. Stay right and continue climbing past more huge rocks and burned trees. Then you level out into an interesting basin with boulders, grass, live and dead trees. This would have been a pretty area with wildflowers if there had been good winter rain. Work your way through the basin and in another quarter mile the trail ends at Vista Point at 7100 feet.

No signs say Vista Point, but the steeply sloping granite slabs make it the defacto end of the trail. There are good views here looking south and southeast. There is no trail through the huge granite boulders above you. After enjoying the views, retrace the same route back to the parking lot.

The sun is intense at this elevation. There is no shade on the hillsides. Use sunscreen and carry plenty of water and electrolytes. Trekking poles are handy on the steeper downhill sections. Don’t take dogs past Blair Pass from late spring through summer because the ground gets too hot for them, and the potential for snakes is everywhere.
Written 21 April 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

HaveFunWillTravel76
Prescott, AZ89 contributions
Just Wow, so many secrets to find
May 2017 • Family
My wife and I love to go hiking. This is one of the best places to hike. It is one of those places where you find things you did not expect to find. We heard that there were ancient ruins and some cool petroglphs but, the best part is that they are not marked. You actually have to find them. We knew where to go somewhat by the help of google earth and gps points. The ancient ruins could be missed if you don't look up or know what your looking for. We were impressed by its size. The petroglphs were not disappointing. cool rock overhand marks the spot and we found some familiar designs like the ones found at Beaver creek near Montezumas Well. The trails could be a little better marked. If you don't know your inner compass & bearings you could get lost. There are other places to see but, we just needed more time. We will be back when its cooler
Written 5 July 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jeff P
Prescott, AZ338 contributions
Beauty Everywhere
Apr 2017 • Solo
Hiking partially and enjoyed hugely. Took the dog along too. Not too many people on a Friday but one other with their dog as well. Very scenic through the portion I was on with Granite Mountain rising sharply nearby. Don't forget, you'll need a five dollar bill to park at the trailhead.
Written 22 April 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Anne T
Surprise, AZ303 contributions
Beautiful hike with great views!
Apr 2017 • Couples
We only went in 3 miles since the wind was really picking up, and we knew it would be worse at the top. We have been to the top other times, and really enjoyed it. But even cutting it short, it is a beautiful hike with great views. There were actually quite a few wildflowers, which was nice. We saw lupine, stemless daisies, desert paintbrush, verbena, and several other species. This is a highly recommended hike, and I hope to do it again!
Written 13 April 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 29
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing