The road now has a bright orange "NO TRESPASSING" sign stating this is a California ecological study area:
Orange sign . The route described in this page has been illegal from the period of at least 2006 to 2015. It MAY be legal in the future. See this map.
Here is the last communication from the folks who run the preserve (GMDRC):
Even though Granite Peak is just inside the reserve boundary, we don't mind if people climb the peak, as long as you are accessing it from outside the reserve. You can get up to the peak via Willow Springs Basin, Budweiser Canyon, or Bull Canyon, all of which are beautiful areas
So DON'T use the DPS route (Cottonwood Wash), as indicated on SP currently (Apr 09, 2009). I specifically asked them about Willow Springs Basin, and that really looks like a better route.
Do you have a good route description for the Willow Springs route? I took the usual DPS route and saw no evidence (besides the sign) that the area had any one out there. There was evidence that an ATV had been up there, though. We saw the tracks, as well as a fair amount of foot prints on the road through the Cottonwood area.
Go to Willow Springs campground and head up the nearest ridge!
The UC Center gets sporadic checks by the police, and that is it. But they are trying to run experiments in that area, on the assumption that there will be no people to disturb the native plants and animals. They were nice and helpful, and I hope we give them reason to stay that way.
If you do a google search on DPS and "Granite Mountain," you will find some reports of recent trips, and even photos of the route. Add "^ina ?owman" (^=T, ?=B) to the search and you will likely see the most relevant reports.
On January 11, 2013, Dennis Poulin said on peakbagger.com that the register was not be found. I was up there with Lorraine Wajda in March, and she found the register. There was a Pringle's can with a few sheets of notebook paper in it serving as a substitute for the register. We signed it, and put the Pringle's can inside the ammo box and returned it to the summit cairn. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-rgU2O_H0X5U/UT3e8XFszJI/AAAAAAAAFDE/jv4kD_cTxgI/s1600/P1010294.JPG
March 15, 2015 I confirmed, by contacting the head of Sweeney Reserve, that they view the routes through Cottonwood Basin as closed. They want to develop a permit system for hikers, but have to wait for NPS approval.
See this map.