From the Arcadia Campground
, start hiking up Forest Trail 328, also known as the Arcadia National Recreation Trail. It’s five miles from here to the Shannon Campground. The trail immediately starts climbing up the mountain. After two miles, you’ll reach the signed trail junction with Trail 318 that comes in from Noon Creek. Continue climbing up the trail as it traverses below Heliograph Peak. After two more miles, you’ll reach the signed Heliograph Trail junction at a 9,520' saddle. You’ll soon discover that you’re in for an unpleasant surprise – you must descend about 540' to reach the Shannon Campground. Descend the trail as it switchbacks down the slope, then turn left and descend gradually down to the Shannon Campground
at about 8,980'.
Walk through Shannon Campground. Just as the access road starts heading uphill, leave the road and turn right, and start heading straight up the steep, forested slope. There’s no trail to follow, but the route isn’t difficult. At 9,200', you’ll reach an old primitive road. Continue climbing up another 100' until you reach Forest Road 507
. You can also reach this road by walking through Shannon CG all the way to the main highway, then turning right and walking up the main highway until you reach the turnoff to Forest Road 507. However, this will add about another mile to the hike. This shortcut only takes a few minutes.
Once on the road, turn right and start walking up the uneventful but scenic road as it gradually climbs up towards Mount Graham. You'll get a few good views every now and then, but the walk is mostly in the trees. After a mile or so, you will reach the Red Squirrel closure sign
. Many highpointers will simpy want to drive all the way up to this point. This is where you’re supposed to stop, but if you decide to press on, continue on the road as it heads north. You'll get a good view of Hawk Peak
along the way. The road will swing by Plain View Peak
just before heading to Mount Graham. Just below Mount Graham, the road splits. The main road goes left, and a rough primitive road forks right and heads for the summit. Take the right fork, and start climbing up the rough road. You can either stay on the road as it circles around the peak to the summit, or you can leave the road and head straight for the top. Either way, make the final push to the forested summit, where there are no views.
Hiking Distance: About 19 miles round trip.
Elevation Gain: About 5,100'.