Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blue Grade

I did a screen shot from a Google Map to show were we are hiking these days.  We park in that little drainage near the lower "X" and then hike up to Blue Grade Tank at the upper "X".  It's somewhat over a 500 foot elevation gain.  We're not sure about the distance--probably a mile and a half or less.  Our time two days ago was 32 minutes up and today it was 31 minutes.  We're trying to break 30 minutes.  Round trip hike time is 1:04 to 1:02. Round trip Door-to-door total time is about 90 minutes, maybe a little more.  Here's a Google map of the Blue Grade hike in proximity to our home.  No one we know calls it "Beaver Creek Road."  How it got its name of Blue Grade is a story lost in the dustbin of history.  Susun's Grand Pa actually worked on this road back in the 1950's.  Prior to the construction of I-17 in the 1960's, it was one of the few ways to get out of the Verde Valley heading north onto the Coconino Plateau and Flagstaff.  The other route was Highway 89 up through Oak Creek Canyon.  Back in those days, Highway 260 didn't exist and you had to take the Fossil Creek Road to get to Strawberry and Payson.  So, the Blue Grade was one of the major routes.  Today, it's very lightly traveled.  If you see two vehicles, that's crowded.
View Blue Grade in a larger map

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lora and I used to hike here quite a bit. From Blue grade tank if you go east and drop of the cliff, we found what seemed to be a red ochre mine(more of a spot where they dug), along with a petriglyph. it is rather thick with cactus but worth a look. Deano