The Baby Granite Loop is a 10.5-mile trek through grasslands, cottonwoods, juniper and pinyon. Hikers get a 360-degree view of Baby Granite Mountain.
Meadows of wildflowers draw enthusiasts during the spring, and it’s prime birdwatching territory, too.
The Tin Trough Springs Trail, No. 308, is the backbone of this circuit, starting from the Williamson Valley trailhead and heading west through chapparal grasslands, prickly pear and yucca. There are stunning views on the horizons before sloping downward into junipers and pinyons as it approaches Mint Wash.
The terrain throughout this section of the loop is gently rolling and easy to tackle for most people. Rows of leafy cottonwoods greet you at the unbridged crossing at the wash about 2 miles from the trailhead.
When reaching the junction with the Baby Granite Trail (No. 320) you can choose to bear right to get onto that trail and have a flatter ascent to the loop’s high point, or go left to stay on No. 308 for the heart-pumping benefits of sharper cardio exercise. Either way you’re bound for some spectacular views.
If you take No. 320 you’ll first get a roller-coaster walk through more boulder-strewn fields and beautiful views of the northeast face of the mountain before ending at a former forest service road, now the North Granite Trail (No. 671). This path loops around the
north side of the mountain and takes you through a passage between it and a couple of smaller hills farther north for more eye candy.
After about a half mile, you reach the north branch of No. 308 and start navigating down the most technical part of the loop — remember to pause long enough to see what’s probably the best viewshed of your whole trip,
of the southwest side of Baby Granite Mountain and those pinyon-forested slopes to the west before completing the loop and taking you back the way you came to the trailhead.
The Baby Granite Loop doesn’t have much shade, so it’s particularly important to carry an adequate amount of water with you in the summer.
Most of Trail No. 308 and nearly all of No. 320 and No. 671 are within the Granite Mountain Wilderness, so remember bicycles, as well as mechanized vehicles, are prohibited within the wilderness. Dogs are allowed but must remain on a leash. Other wilderness area regulations include:
- Hiking groups limited to 15 people, equestrian groups limited to 10 animals.
- Rock climbers may use and maintain existing fixed anchors, but no new ones are allowed. Seasonal closures affecting climbers are typically in effect between Feb. 1 and July 15 to protect peregrine falcon nesting sites.
- Campfires prohibited, but stoves using propane or white gas are permitted.
To reach the Baby Granite Loop take Iron Springs Road to Williamson Valley Road, turn right and travel north for 6.4 miles until reaching the Williamson Valley Trailhead, which will be on your left. The Willow Trail (No. 347) also starts here.
Parking fees: None
Uses: Hiking, horseback riding Distance: 10.5 miles
Level of difficulty: Moderate Elevation: 5,079 feet to 5,545 feet
Photo by Kelly Tolbert