This trail has only been partially surveyed at this time. Length and other trail data may be incorrect or missing. Please consult other resources before planning any trips based on this page.

Turtle Mountain Trail #219

Current Trail Conditions

As of June 2019, all fallen trees have been cleared from the Turtle Mountain Trail between its junction with the Morse Canyon Trail and its upper terminus with the Monte Vista Trail. Below that section, deadfall has been removed and tread improved between Morse Saddle and the junction with the Pole Bridge Trail.

Length: ~5.48 mi


The Turtle Mountain Trail is accessible from multiple locations, not all of which have been surveyed at this time.

The Pole Bridge Trail climbs out of West Turkey Creek to hit the Turtle Mountain Trail on the southwest corner of Johnson Peak. (31.82812, -109.33342)

The Morse Canyon Trail does the same at Morse Saddle, on the east side of Johnson Peak. (31.83113, -109.32735) The junction sign here incorrectly suggests that the Pole Bridge Trail starts here instead and does not identify the Turtle Mountain Trail in either direction.

On the east side of Monte Vista Peak, the Crest Trail connects in from the northeast. (31.82548, -109.31326)

The higher elevation northeastern terminus of the Turtle Mountain Trail is 80 feet southeast of the Crest Trail junction at a junction with the Monte Vista Trail. (31.82530, -109.31313)

Trail Description

Sycamore Canyon Road (FR 4244) to Sycamore Cub Trail

This segment has not been completed at this time.

Sycamore Cub Trail to Cottonwood John Long Trail

This segment has not been completed at this time.

Cottonwood John Long Trail to Pole Bridge Trail

This segment has not been completed at this time.

Pole Bridge Trail to Morse Saddle

The Pole Bridge Trail connects in from the northwest at a signed junction (31.82812, -109.33417) just above an unnamed saddle. From here, the Turtle Mountain Trail briefly heads east-southeast along the southern slope of Johnson Peak before gradually swinging around to the northeast. Excellent views can be had along here of both Monte Vista Peak with its lookout tower to the southeast and deep, lush Brushy Canyon below to the south. After nearly four tenths of a mile, the trail comes to a rock outcrop (31.82959, -109.32758) and drops down slightly, curving around to bypass the rock, before swinging north to Morse Saddle a little over a tenth of a mile beyond. (31.83113, -109.32735) Here, the Morse Canyon Trail connects in from the west while the Turtle Mountain Trail continues to the northeast. There are two signs at this junction, but the sign pointing along the Turtle Mountain Trail does not identify it as such and incorrectly suggests that it is the Pole Bridge Trail to the right, and only identifies that Monte Vista is to the left.

Morse Saddle to Monte Vista Trail

Beginning to climb almost immediately, the trail heads up the top of the ridge out of Morse Saddle. Over the next two thirds of a mile, it gradually arcs to the southeast, with several ups and downs as it climbs over hills and drops into saddles along the ridge. Continuing to curve southeastward, it drops off the ridge and begins to contour along a steeper sideslope, entering an area of increased burn approaching the northern face of Monte Vista Peak. After 1000 feet, the trail swings to the southeast and begins climbing for 0.15 mile to a switchback. The next quarter mile is largely spent climbing through the most heavily burned area on Monte Vista—though as you continue, grass and flowers have grown in thickly, making the scene somewhat more pleasant.

The Crest Trail connects in from the east at a signed junction. (31.82548, -109.31326) This is its southwestern terminus. It is two thirds of a mile to the Raspberry Ridge Trail.

The Turtle Mountain Trail's upper terminus is 80 feet beyond the Crest to the southeast, at the Monte Vista Trail. (31.82530, -109.31313) To the right you can climb 0.17 mile to the top of Monte Vista Peak and its fire lookout tower, while to the left it is 3.92 miles down to the end of North Fork Rucker Canyon Road.

Last updated August 23, 2019.