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Lanphier Trail - # 52

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Trail Ratings
Overall Trail Rating
1 = Poor 5 = Outstanding

Scenic Views
Route Finding
1 = Poor 5 = Excellent
Technical Difficulty
1 = Easy 5 = Very Difficult
Trail Access
1 = Easy 5 = Hard to get to

Lanphier Canyon provides a scenic access route into the northeastern section of the Blue Primitive Area.

Like all Wilderness and Primitive Area trails, # 52 is open to hiking and livestock use, but all types of motorized and mechanized travel are prohibited.

The trail follows Lanphier Canyon for most of its 5 mile course winding in and out of that shallow gorge providing scenic views as it reaches high ground and offering the pleasant surroundings of rich green riparian vegetation as it descends back to the streambed. At its high points, views of Bear Mountain, Lanphier Peak, and overlooks of Lanphier Canyon are the reward for the climb. About 2.7 miles from the trailhead a major tributary called Indian Creek shelters an exceptionally lush riparian area which you may want to stop and enjoy.

Beyond Indian Creek Canyon the trail slants up the canyon slopes to offer even broader panoramas to the south and west. About one half mile beyond the confluence of Lanphier and Indian Creeks, the trail climbs the north slope of the canyon and meanders through a series of secluded basins before dropping back into the canyon. Vegetation varies as the trail gains and looses altitude and the area through which it passes becomes more or less exposed.

Trailside trees vary through the entire range found in the Blue with ponderosa pine and white fir holding the high ground and cool sheltered areas, while pinyon, juniper and scrub oak claim the hotter, dryer south slopes. Maples, walnuts, alders and box elders thrive in the streamside oases.

As the trail nears its end, it crosses the creek one last time at a pleasant spot marked by pools of water bordered by moss covered rocks. From that point the trail heads up slope to its junction with the Cow Flat Trail (# 55).

Trail Log:

  • 0.0 Trailhead at Blue River. 
  • 0.6 Junction with Largo Trail (# 51). 
  • 1.5 Red rock pillars. 
  • 3.2 Junction with Indian Canyon 
  • 5.0 Cashier Spring. 
  • 5.6 Junction Cow Flat Trail (# 55). 

USGS Maps: Bear Mountain, Blue

At a Glance

Usage: Medium
Best Season: April through November
Restrictions: No mechanized vehicles (including mountain bikes) permitted in Primitive Area.
Water: Reliable water can be found at Blue River and in Lanphier Creek downstream of Indian Creek.
Restroom: Restrooms available at trailhead
Information Center: Alpine Ranger District
(928) 339-5000
TTY: (928) 339-4566


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 Administration Site and a trailhead marked Largo Canyon.

Elevation desc 5,600 feet to 7,360 feet
Best Season: April through November
Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Difficult


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