McKittrick Trail - # 72

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.

Excellent views, a variety of trailside habitats and close encounters with some of the most notable landmarks in the Blue Primitive area provide highlights for a hike along this unique trail.

Like all Wilderness and Primitive area trails, McKittrick Trail (# 72) is open to hiking and horseback riding, but motorized and mechanized travel is prohibited.

Most trails in the Blue drop from the high country toward the river by either following drainages or staying with the ridges. McKittrick Trail breaks from this mold by cutting across several drainages and crossing a number of ridges in a steadily descending course to the bottom of KP Creek Canyon. The views you'll see at the high points along this trail are some of the best in the Blue.

McKittrick Trail passes near the summit of Blue Mountain in the vicinity of the Blue Lookout Tower. You'll want to walk those extra 100 yards to this highest point in the Blue Range to take advantage of the views available there. The Blue Range, Blue River Canyon, Eagle Creek, Mount Graham of the Pinalenos, the Mogollon Range in New Mexico and the canyon of the San Francisco River are just some of the features you can see from this vantage point.
Heading down the trail, you'll notice a number of down and dead aspen strewn about an area covered with healthy young stands of white fir trees. The aspen grew some time ago as the first step in a process of natural succession that brought life back to this area after it had been cleared by fire. They are being replaced by firs as the natural progression toward a climax forest of mixed conifers typical of this area and altitude.
From Blue Peak, McKittrick Trail heads east along the Mogollon Rim and the excellent views continue. Indian Peak, Rose Peak, and Red Mountain, along with other mountains and canyons to the south form the panorama. After dropping off Indian Mountain, the route cuts the drainages of a number of McKittrick Creek feeder streams. Trailside vegetation varies with altitude and exposure. The next important landmark along the trail is Sawed Off Mountain. A saddle along its northwestern shoulder provides views down into KP Canyon and farther to the northeast.
Trail Log:
  • 0.0 Trailhead parking at end of Blue Lookout Road (Forest Road 84). Trail follows closed road 
  • 0.7 End of old road 
  • 0.8 Junction with Blue Lookout Trail (# 71). McKittrick Trail continues toward lookout tower 
  • 1.3 McKittrick Trail turns 90 degrees to left about 100 yards below lookout tower 
  • 2.1 Trail leaves rim and enters McKittrick Creek drainage 
  • 3.9 Trail crosses gate on low ridge north of McKittrick Creek, helispot and good views of Sawed Off Mountain. 
  • 5.9 Junction with KP Trail (#70) at KP Creek 

USGS Maps: Strayhorse

At a Glance

Usage: Light
Best Season: May through October
Restrictions: No mechanized vehicles (including mountain bikes) permitted in Primitive Area. 
Information Center: Alpine Ranger District
(928) 339-5000
TTY: (928) 339-4566

General Information

Directions: Drive south from Alpine 29 miles on US 191 to Forest Road 84, the Blue Lookout Road. Forest Road 84 is the first left after the road to the Salt House Trail and it is signed "Dead End." Drive east on this primitive road about 6.5 miles to an open flat where the road is closed and there is a dirt parking lot. Hike the closed road as it becomes a trail about 0.5 miles to the McKittrick Trailhead. Don't forget to walk another 100 yards to the top of the mountain to take in the views.

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  Area/Length : 
6.0 miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
6,560 feet - 9,266 feet