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Steeple Trail - # 73

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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

Once you complete the full 13 miles of this trail you'll have an excellent idea of just how broad a diversity of habitats there are to be found on the Alpine Ranger District and the Blue Primitive Area.

Like all Wilderness and Primitive Area trails, the Steeple Trail (# 73) is open to hiking and horse use, but all types of motorized and mechanized travel are prohibited.

For the first couple of miles this trail stays in the high country, winding its way through stands of mixed conifers and aspens. These thick stands of old growth open regularly into beautiful, boggy little meadows called cienegas, which are invariably aglow with wildflowers and frequently boast a small stream. Such quiet hideaways are great places to surprise a herd of grazing elk or browsing mule deer as you emerge from the quiet shadows of the trees. If you're lucky, you may even surprise one of the forest's most reclusive inhabitants, a black bear. There are few better places on the Alpine District for a close encounter of this kind.

After crossing the upper reaches of the Grant Creek drainage and passing junctions with the Upper Grant Creek and Long Cienega Trails, the trail drops into Steeple Creek where the habitat changes from aspen/conifer to a riparian community of ponderosa pine, canyon hardwoods and scattered junipers. At Mud Springs, the trial climbs out of the drainage to the south to a junction with the KP Trail. Conditions become progressively drier and warmer as the trail continues on across Steeple and KP mesas and loses elevation on its descent into the Blue. Clumps of cactus here, scattered under a pinyon and juniper overstory, make the point that you have entered a desert woodland. The trail continues on to the shady cottonwoods and picturesque rock formations of the Blue River Canyon and ends at the Blue River Road.

Trail Log:

  • 0.0 Steeple/Foote Creek Trailhead parking area, near Hannagan Administrative site Trail crosses through wood rail fence and turns to the right
  • 1.3 Junction with Upper Grant Trail (# 65) in the first of four cienegas
  • 2.8 Junction with the Long Cienega Trail (# 305)
  • 3.3 Junction with KP Rim Trail (# 315)
  • 6.4 Junction with Paradise Trial (# 74)
  • 13  Lower Steeple Trailhead on FR 281

USGS Maps: Hannagan Meadow, Strayhorse, Bear Mountain

At a Glance

Usage: Medium
Best Season: May through October
Restrictions: No motorized or mechanized vehicles (including mountain bikes) are permitted in Wilderness 
Water: Water is usually available at Willow Springs, Mud Springs and intermittent pools along Steeple Creek
Information Center: Alpine Ranger District
(928) 339-5000
TTY: (928) 339-4566

General Information

Latitude: 33.53780278

Longitude: -109.2013889

Length: 13.2 miles

Elevation: 5,280 feet - 9,200 feet


Steeple/Foote Creek Trailhead: Drive 23 miles south on US 191 to the south end of Hannagan Meadow and turn left (east) on Forest Road 29A to the Steeple/Foote Creek trailhead and parking lot.

Or -

Lower Steeple Creek Trailhead: Drive 3 miles east of Alpine on US 180 to Forest Road 281 (Blue River Road). Turn south and follow this scenic back road 30.0 miles to the Blue River Road access to Steeple Trail. 

General Notes:

Steeple Trail is also accessible via the Upper Grant Creek Trail (# 65), Long Cienega Trail (# 305), KP Rim Trail (# 70), and Paradise Trail (# 74).

Day Hiking

Elevation desc  


 9,200 feet to 5,280 feet

Best Season: May through October
Difficulty Level: More Difficult


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