KP Trail - # 70

Area Status: Open
This area is Open


The Northwest portion of the Blue Range Primitive Area where this trail is located has been severely affected by the Wallow Fire of June 2011. The area is currently open to public use and entry - HOWEVER trails may not have been recently assessed or maintained for hazards associated with the fire, so plan your trip accordingly.

Please keep in mind that any area affected by the wildfire can be prone to hazards such as falling trees, flooding and burned out stump holes. The environment you are entering is highly susceptible to rainstorms and wind events. Any time you enter the forest, you should be aware of your environment and changing weather conditions. You are responsible for your own safety! Always look up, look down, and look all around.

In the lush alpine meadow that serves as the setting for KP Trailhead, there is little indication you could possibly start here and, in a reasonably short time, find yourself deep in a desert canyon.But that's exactly what happens.

Like all Wilderness and Primitive Area trails, the KP Trail (# 70) is open to hiking and livestock use, but all types of motorized and mechanized transport are prohibited.

From KP Cienega, with its stately spruces and emerald grasses, this 9 mile long trail traces the wandering course of the South Fork of KP Creek as it drops toward the Blue. As the trail switchbacks from meadow to stream, upland vegetation gives way to riparian community of Douglas fir and moisture loving hardwoods. About 3 miles into the trip, the trail drops sharply into a picturesque canyonscape where the South Fork and the North Fork join to form KP Creek. Each tributary celebrates this get-together with its own ten foot waterfall.

Below the confluence, the canyon deepens as steep cliffs rise from the floor of the gorge. Stream and trail descend together here, between red and gray rock walls, as clear pools alternate with shallow riffles. Crossings become too many to count. At a few points, the trail climbs out of the inner gorge to avoid difficult going, and in the process offers access to broad views and a number of prospective campsites.
For its last three miles, the KP Trail climbs out of the canyon to offer more great views. Riparian vegetation is replaced by high desert plants including prickly pear, cholla, yucca and scrub oak as the trail leaves behind the sheltered environment of the canyon for dryer, more exposed surroundings. Higher ground also brings broader views of Sawed-Off Mountain as well as of KP Canyon The vista widens to include Bear Mountain and the surrounding ridges of the Blue Range as the trail tops the ridge that separates KP and Steeple Creek Canyons. Views stretching into New Mexico form a panorama as KP Trail ends at its junction with Steeple Creek Trail atop the red, stony mesa.
Trail Log:
  • 0.0 KP Cienega Trailhead. Trail crosses meadow into the timber. 
  • 0.9 Trail crosses creek after two switchback descent. 
  • 2.7 Trail climbs out of canyon on north side. 
  • 2.9 Junction with North Fork KP Trail (# 93). Two waterfalls are directly downstream. 
  • 5.6 Junction with Blue Lookout Trail (# 71). 
  • 6.5 Junction with McKittrick Trail (# 72). 
  • 6.6 Trail crosses creek for the last time as it contours out of drainage bottom to the north. 
  • 9.4 Junction with Steeple Trail (# 73) at a gate. Mud Springs Corral is 1/8 mile away in Steeple Canyon. 

At a Glance

Area Amenities: Toilets,Parking
Usage: Medium
Best Season: May through October
Restrictions: No mechanized vehicles (including mountain bikes) permitted in Primitive Area. 
Closest Towns: Alpine, AZ - 30 miles
Water: No
Restroom: No
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Alpine Ranger District
(928) 339-5000
TTY: (928) 339-4566

General Information


Drive south from Alpine 28 miles on US 191 to the 1.3 mile road leading to KP Cienega Campground and the trailhead marked by a parking area and information kiosk.

General Notes:

There are trout big enough to fish for in the pools downstream of the confluence.

The KP Trail is accessible via a number of trails, including the North Fork KP Trail (# 93), the Blue Lookout Trail (# 71), and the McKittrick Trail (# 72), all of which provide additional access from US 191. The Steeple Trail (# 73) ( offers access from either US 191 or the Blue River Road, Forest Road 281. The first three trails combine with KP Trail to provide strenuous but manageable day hikes. A Steeple Creek/KP hike in one day would be long for most hikers at 17.2 miles.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Day Hiking


Elevation desc8,960 feet to 6,560 feet

Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Difficult

Horse Riding & Camping

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Toilets In the nearby Campground
Areas & Activities


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  Elevation : 
6,560 feet - 8,960 feet