This short trail provides access to one of the Blue Range's better known wild west landmarks. It leads to the burned out remains of an old cabin that was once used to house personnel to man the lookout tower at the top of Blue Peak. Like all Wilderness and Primitive Area trails, # 321 is open to hiking and horseback riding, but motorized and mechanized travel is prohibited.
This short trail provides access to one of the Blue Range's better known wild west landmarks. It leads to the burned out remains of an old cabin that was once used to house personnel to man the lookout tower at the top of Blue Peak. It was also once used as a hideout by a fellow who allegedly held up a bank in McNary in 1921.
The man was a German immigrant who reportedly was desperate to secure money to bring his mother to the US from Germany. When the bank refused to grant him the loan, he re-proposed the deal in terms the bank couldn't refuse. He took refuge in the ranger's cabin. Neither his altruistic intentions nor the fact that he was about to give himself up was enough to avert the tragic course of events the robbery set in motion.
One member of the posse that came to apprehend the unfortunate soul shot him down as he stepped out of the cabin with his hands up. If you're ever on Forest Road 249 at the west end of Williams Valley, you might notice his crude grave marker. The posse buried him there on the trip back to town. Today, all that remains of the old cabin are some of the metal fixtures which withstood the fire that destroyed it in 1980.
Once you've visited the ashes of the old cabin and meditated on whatever history happens to linger there, you may consider not returning by the way you came, but taking a detour to one of the best views in the Blue Range. If this sounds appealing to you, and you don't mind a few extra steps, you can climb up the Blue Lookout Trail (# 71) and the McKittrick Trail (# 72) all the way to the summit of Blue Peak.
The view here is no less than sublime, stretching well into New Mexico and encompassing much of southeastern Arizona. After seeing how many features in the panorama you can name, you can head back down the McKittrick Trail to the trailhead for a loop hike of 3.7 miles.
Notes: No mechanized vehicles (including mountain bikes) permitted in Primitive Area.
0.0 Trailhead at end of primitive road.
0.6 Junction with Blue Lookout Trail (# 71) (The ruins of Blue Cabin are just downhill of this junction.
USGS Maps: Strayhorse
At a Glance
May through October
No mechanized vehicles (including mountain bikes) permitted in Primitive Area.
Drive south from Alpine 29 miles on US 191 to Forest Road 84, the Blue Lookout Road. This is the first left after the road to the Salt House Trail and it is signed "Dead End." Drive east on this primitive road about 6.5 miles to an open flat where the road is closed and there is a dirt parking lot. From this point the Blue Cabin Ruins Trail heads northeast down a steadily deepening drainage toward KP Canyon.
Backcountry Access: Blue Cabin Ruins Trail is also accessible via the Blue Lookout Trail #71.