Arcadia #328

Because of the notable views it offers, Arcadia Trail has been designated a National Recreation Trail, placing it among the most outstanding trails in the nation. Most people travel this popular pathway from Shannon Campground to Arcadia because it’s mostly downhill in that direction. The course it follows winds in and out of stands of trees that are made up mostly of Douglas-fir, Engelmann spruce and quaking aspen on the upper end, while changing gradually to ponderosa pine and silverleaf oak on more southern facing slopes as the trail nears Arcadia Campground. Near the upper trailhead there is an area that has been logged and remains relatively open where you may find some tasty wild raspberries if you come in late summer. Beyond a series of switchbacks at about a mile from the trailhead, Heliograph Trail #328A climbs to the top of Heliograph Peak where the rugged landscape of southeastern Arizona forms a sweeping, unbroken panorama. Many who use this trail take this spur and follow the Heliograph Road back to Shannon Campground for a loop of about 4 miles. As the trail drops toward Arcadia it provides good views of distant peaks and nearby canyons. Just above Arcadia Campground, the trail crosses a small drainage shaded by riparian species such as box elder and bigtooth maple. There are usually some colorful wildflowers here as well. Watch for black bears and white-tailed deer along the trail, and for Aberts squirrels scurrying among the trees.

At a Glance

Usage: Light
Restrictions: Vehicles (including trailers) longer than 22 feet are not recommended because of the difficulty negotiating the switchbacks on AZ 366.
Closest Towns: Safford, AZ
Information Center: Safford Ranger District 928-428-4150

General Information

Directions: To the Shannon Campground Trailhead, drive south from Safford 8 miles on US 191 to AZ 366 (the Swift Trail).  Turn right (southwest) onto AZ 366 and drive 22 miles to the campground entrance on the right side of the road.  Follow the road through the campground to the trailhead at the turnaround.  The lower trailhead is at the Upper Arcadia Campground and Picnic Area 11.5 miles from the AZ 366/US 191 intersection.  The trailhead is at the rear of Upper Arcadia Campground.


Mountain Biking

Day Hiking

Elevation desc 6,700 - 9,500 feet
Difficulty Level: More Difficult


Viewing Wildlife

Viewing Scenery

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
5.1 miles

  Elevation : 
6,700 feet - 9,500 feet