Blue Grade Road

4.2/5 (7 reviews)
Camp Verde, Arizona (Yavapai County)
Last Updated: 12/25/2022

Trail Information


In 1864, President Lincoln tasked Lieutenant Colonel J. Francis Chavez to escort the new territorial governor of Arizona from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Prescott, Arizona. Unfortunately, there was no road between the two cities. One major obstacle was the descent off Arizona's Mogollon Rim into the Verde Valley. Chavez's navigation skills led to a stage route and thus was born the path of the Blue Grade Road. Today's hearty traveler can exit the interstate and climb the scenic Blue Grade in far more comfort than those who once negotiated the rocky passage in a rickety stagecoach. With excellent views along the way, the road leads you up from the lush Wet Beaver Creek area into a pine and juniper forest. Located in the Coconino National Forest, be on the lookout for elk, deer, bear, and wild turkeys. And yes, this is also cattle country, so watch out for cows on the road as well as where you step.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4.3/5 (7)
Seasonal Closure
Visited: 04/01/2023

Well, I would love to review this trail, but about a mile in it was closed with a warning sign. **** it!!!
Rated 4/5
Visited: 01/16/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Quite pleasant, easy, no mud or other issues (two or three weeks after heavy rainfall). Very short though. Tried for more fun north off I-17 but both Exit 315 and Exit 320 east were closed - still too snowy and muddy no doubt.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 11/05/2021
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

There should be an additional rating to identify the scenic value of a trail … if there was such a rating, this trail would score very high. We ran it from north to south. The first impression was “oh damn” this is just an abandoned highway with cracked asphalt. Then it changed to a dirt two track and the views of the mountains and valleys off to the east greatly improved. Then we came around a curve where the trail turned into a hanging ledge trail … and then the views off to the side became fantastic. Of course, the fact that the sun was setting greatly enhanced the image. My only complaint is that the trail is too short. So, if you’re coming down I-17 in the evening and the traffic is frustrating, give this parallel trail a try … you won’t be disappointed.
Official Crew
Visited: 07/09/2021

Coconino National Forest has lifted the Stage 3 closures. Trails are now open.
Official Crew
Temporary Closure
Visited: 06/22/2021

The Coconino National Forest has issued a closure order for all recreational use of the Coconino National Forest due to extreme fire danger. This order will be in effect at 8:00 AM on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, and shall remain in effect until September 1, 2021, or until rescinded, whichever occurs first.

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