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Lanphier Canyon-Blue River Loop

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Blue Range Primitive Area

Lanphier Canyon-Blue River Loop is a 30.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Alpine, Arizona that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 30.9 miles Elevation Gain: 4,950 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

river

views

Hiking season is March to May and Sept-November- spring & fall.

hiking
2 months ago

This loop consists of three trails, the Lanphier where you launch from. This trail takes you to the top of the mesa mostly following the stream. Plenty of water on this sectiin. Once you reach the top of the mesa you connect with the Cow Flat trail which takes you across the mesa through beautiful old growth ponderosa pine. Great camping spot is Bear Valley at mile 9. Water may not be able here during summer months. Once you leave the forest around mile 11 you begin your decent to the Blue River. This stretch is rough desert and very hot with little shade. The Blue River trail has lots of river crossings and getting wet is unavoidable, with hiking on river rock and sand bars, very difficult at times. Beautiful eddy pools everywhere to cool off and incredible riparian ecosystem with diverse wildlife. You finish with an 8 mile hike out on Forest Road to get you back to the trailhead. Boring but places to camp along the Blue river, watch out for private property.

hiking
flooded
muddy
no shade
off trail
over grown
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

Do this counter clockwise- route find by using a balanced combination of cairns and all trails. Bring way more water than you think.

hiking
no shade
off trail
Fri May 04 2018

Did this May 4th of 2018. I thought I had written a review, but it isn't here. This was on my bucket list for hikes in Arizona. I had read about it on backpacker magazine. This fluff piece by Elisabeth Kawk-Hefferan. "Leave the desert heat and hike along side Lanphier Canyon Blue River Loop, take a dip in the cool Arizona water when the sun gets too hot." My review was too long for this... by quite a bit. To read the entire experience, I posted it in the Backpacker website for the article about this hike, http://disq.us/p/288s1kh But if you don't want to. Here's the take-away. If after all that, you still think "nah, he's probably just inexperienced, I'm gonna do it anyways". Here are my suggestions. 1) Check the precipitation. If it's been low, I would say each person should be able to carry 5 liters each. Hike the first 3 miles, and then fill up everything before you start the ascent. 2) Bring something to bushwack with, either a Machete or an entrenching tool. I'm rather partial to the Cold Steel 92FS. It works for chopping, and you could potentially dig down to the water table at the first spring if you wanted to. 3) Hiking up that road sucked. Either bring two cars and drop one off, which is difficult if you're driving from Phoenix. OR bring a bike. Drop your friend off at the trailhead with both your packs, and then drive the car down, drop it off, and bike back up to the trailhead, without having to wear a pack, and lock your bike up. There is more than one tree you could chain it to. 4) I wouldn't do it in May, even with water, it was hot. Beginning of April maybe. Lastly, if I HAD to do it again. I would do it in reverse- counterclockwise on a map. I would hike the river downstream, etc etc. I think the whole thing would be easier. Guaranteed water until mile 15ish, compared to mile 3. You also get to enjoy the cool greens woods and creek for your last couple miles. The river was not green, and the water was luke-warm, it wasn't really refreshing. Also, you get to walk DOWN the never ending road, while your body is fresh. OR you could chain bikes up at the original trailhead, park your car at the river, pick your bikes up as you loop back around and coast down the road (9 miles) to your car. Be safe and good luck.

Mon Oct 30 2017

Dylan didn’t read the NPS right. The hiking season is March to May and September to November.

Tue Jul 04 2017

DO NOT GO INTO THIS TRAIL WITHOUT A MAP. The trail is poorly marked. Cairns are abundant when you don't need them and nowhere to be found when you do. Several people and even other sites have mentioned water but be careful water is not as plentiful as it might seem. Ladorne Spring is the only viable water source and you will likely reach it on day 2. Bring plenty of water the NPS has this trail's 'season as March through October we went in July. Although the nights are comfortable the days are hot with lots of sun exposure. Be wary of wildlife as well. Lots of bear and puma country out there. We saw a bear and lots of scat. No puma sightings but plenty of prints. Especially near Auger canyon Long story short be extra prepared for this loop. bring extra water.

backpacking
Fri May 12 2017

Great trail! You get to see everything from mountains, desert, forest, and the Blue River Canyon. Expect to get wet once you hit the Blue River

hiking
Mon Jun 17 2019