OverviewRising high above the southwestern deserts, majestic Mount Graham ranks as southern Arizona’s highest mountain. Located in the towering Pinaleno Mountains, Mount Graham rises over 7,800’ above the nearby town of Safford, and is Arizona's most prominent mountain. With a prominence of 6,320', Mount Graham makes an impressive appearance on the Ultra-Prominent Peaks List, coming in at No. 20, and surpasses such notables as Mount San Antonio, Humphreys Peak, Borah Peak, and Pikes Peak. The biggest of the desert southwest’s “sky islands”, the Pinaleno Mountains contain more life zones than any other mountain in North America. The Pinaleno Mountains are located in the Coronado National Forest.
The Pinaleno Mountains are the most dominating landmark in southern Arizona. However, Mount Graham itself is really just the highest bump on the lofty Pinaleno range crest. There are a number of other high peaks in the Pinalenos, such as Webb Peak, Hawk Peak, Plain View Peak, and Heliograph Peak. The Mount Graham International Observatory is located near Hawk Peak. In June 2004, the Nuttall Complex fire ravaged much the Pinaleno Mountains, and many of the trails were damaged. The higher elevations of the Pinaleno Mountains, including Mount Graham itself, are located within the Red Squirrel Refuge. Therefore, the summit of Mount Graham is officially closed to hikers, although many people still hike up to it. The high range crest of the Pinaleno Mountains offers many recreational activities. The scenic 37-mile long State Highway 366, also known as the Swift Trail Parkway, travels all the way from the desert flats to the range crest.
Getting ThereFrom Safford, drive eight miles south on US 191. Turn right onto the paved AZ 366, otherwise known as the Swift Trail Parkway, and start driving up the mountain. The road is straight at first, but becomes winding after a few miles. After 11.5 miles, you’ll reach the Arcadia Campground at 6,700'. This is where the Arcadia Trail begins. If you want to climb Mount Graham from the bottom, this is where you want to start. Otherwise, you can continue driving all the way up to the closure boundary on Forest Road 507.
Mountain ConditionsContact the Coronado National Forest, Safford Ranger District, at 928-428-4150 for the latest information.
Forest Service Map: Coronado National Forest (Safford and Santa Catalina Ranger Districts).
Topo Map: Mount Graham.
CampingThe Forest Service maintains several developed campgrounds in the Pinaleno Mountains.
- Swift Trail Parkway
- Red Squirrel
- Nuttall Complex Fire
- Mount Graham Observatory
- Coronado National Forest
- A view of the Pinaleno Mountains.
- Arizona Prominence Map
- Ultra Prominent Peaks List