“An outstanding out-and-back alpine trail with a 2000 foot vertical ascent.”
— Tom Robson
Snowy during winter months.
This trail is a great out-and-back that is a lung-buster on the way up and quite a run down: 2000 vertical feet in 3 miles! The trail has lots of volcanic chunks but is in good condition.
To reach Gooseberry Trail, take 547 (paved) north out of Grants. From the intersection with Rt. 66, it will be 8.6 miles to FR 193. FR 193 is a gravel and dirt road that can be driven by cars under dry conditions, but it will get muddy during monsoon rains or snowy times of year. Follow FR 193 for 5 miles to the parking area and trailhead.
(Note the trailhead has been moved about 500 feet west from the old trailhead shown on topo maps.)
Leaving the parking area, the trail gradually climbs on narrow singletrack (instead of the old two track) and crosses a wooded valley.
Emerging into alpine meadow, the trail heads straight uphill with about a 20% grade. Eventually you'll reach a saddle and then contour along a wide valley.
Crossing another saddle, it's time for the real grind. Turning north the trail curves across a broad slope and then up a series of switchbacks. The namesake Gooseberry bush is encountered along this section. Eventually, the peak appears with its register box and panoramic views.
The north section descends switchbacks through big trees, past a loose gravelly section and then down a meadow to another trailhead.