A long, open meadow or cienega bordered by tall spruce, fir, and aspen trees invites you to explore this upland backcountry trail.
As with all Wilderness and Primitive Area trails, Long Cienega Trail (# 305) is open to hiking and horse use, but all motorized and mechanized travel is prohibited.
The moist environs of this pleasant forest grassland support a diverse community of wildflowers and provide a good place to see just about any species of wildlife that lives in the Blue Country uplands. Elk, mule deer, black bear, and other animals known to inhabit the Alpine District are seen here about as regularly as anywhere on the district.
As the trail and the small stream it follows leave Long Cienega for Grant Creek, the forest closes in and the streambed drops into a shallow but steadily deepening canyon. Moisture loving tree species cluster along the canyon floor to mark the completion of the transformation from upland meadow to canyon riparian area. As the stream and trail continue their course toward Grant Creek, the canyon narrows even more and the trail becomes rough and rocky. At 3 miles from the trailhead, the trail climbs to the top of a juniper studded bench of conglomerated bedrock and tops off the hike with an overlook of Grant Creek and beyond.
0.0 Junction with Steeple Trail (# 73) in Long Cienega.
2.8 Trail climbs out of drainage to the left.
3.0 High point of trail overlooking Grant Creek
3.3 Junction with Upper Grant Creek Trail (# 65) after a very steep descent.
USGS Maps: Strayhorse
At a Glance
May through October
No mechanized vehicles (including mountain bikes) permitted in Primitive area.
The Long Cienega Trail is NOT recommended for horse use.
Long Cienega Trail is accessible only via other backcountry trails. Steeple Trail #73 leads to its upper trailhead. Upper Grant Creek #65 and Grant Cabin Shortcut #306 lead to its lower trailhead. For the most convenient access, drive south on US 191 to the south end Hannagan Meadow and turn left (east) to the Steeple Trailhead. Hike Steeple Creek Trail about 2.9 miles to Long Cienega Trailhead.