S-Canyon Trail - # 53

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

The S-Canyon Trail (# 53) is 5.9 miles long, beginning at Blue Camp Administrative Site Trailhead and ending at its juunction with Cow Flat Trail # 55.

The trail is open for hiking and horse use, but like all Wilderness and Primitive Area trails, all types of motorized and mechanized travel are prohibited.

The high, ridge-top course of this trail offers a steady display of western Blue Range panoramas as it climbs from river bottom to canyon rim. As a matter of fact, you’ll see a number of memorable views along the S-Canyon Trail, including an overlook into a unique, sheer-walled, tight-turning stretch of the Blue River. The trail also offers continuous overlooks into S-Canyon, one of the steeper side canyons dropping into the Blue from the east. S-Canyon is so named because it drops from the rim down a course cut into the eastern slopes of the Blue River Canyon that roughly duplicates the shape of the curliest letter of the alphabet.

            From the mouth of S-Canyon, the trail climbs to a high vantage point that enables you to look 100 feet straight down on the cottonwood-lined meanders of one of the most picturesque stretches of the Blue. From that bird’s-eye perspective, the trail stays with the high ground as it follows the ridge that separates S and Cow Canyons for the rest of its course. You’ll enjoy views into both canyons as the trail wanders back and forth across the ridge line. And as the trail climbs higher, the panorama to the west broadens to include a good portion of the Blue River Canyon and the Blue Range. Blue Peak, Indian Peak, and Raspberry Peak stand tall over Foote Canyon.
            Pinyon/juniper stands are the predominant vegetation here, where sun and wind create conditions too dry for other species, although a few ponderosas and Gambel oak have managed to set up housekeeping in some sheltered northern exposures. After climbing 2,000 feet through this rocky, semi-arid landscape, S-Canyon Trail ends at its junction with Cow Flat Trail # 55 near an old corral and a stock tank on Cow Flat. The tank provides water for any riding stock you might have, and other four-legged companions as well.


Trail Log:

0.0       Trailhead at Blue Camp Administrative Site. Trail goes through gate to river, and then follows river upstream.

0.5      After Crossing mouth of S-Canyon Trail, ascend the ridge to the north side of S Canyon.

1.0      Junction with old roadbed that leads down to private property, trail ascends ridge

5.2      High point of the trail, rough switchbacks descend from here to Cow Flat.

5.7       Cow Flat – corral located to the left.

5.8      Trail terminus at junction with Cow Flat Trail # 55.

At a Glance

Usage: Light-Medium
Best Season: April to November
Closest Towns: Alpine - 29 miles North
Information Center: Alpine Ranger District - (928) 339-5000

General Information


Drive 3 miles east of Alpine on US 180 to Forest Road 281 (Blue River Road). Turn south and follow this scenic back road 23 miles to the Blue Camp Administrative Site and Trailhead.



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  Area/Length : 
5.9 miles