“Once a hospital for soldiers, now a campsite”
Hospital Flat is so named because in the 1880’s it served as a site for a field hospital for ailing soldiers from Fort Grant. That frontier outpost is located along Grant Creek on the south slope of the Pinaleños. The restorative powers of this cool mountain meadow, carpeted with wildflowers and traversed by a small creek, were sufficiently notable that it also became a summer retreat for officers and their families trying to escape the heat of their desert outpost. Fort Grant was closed in 1905 and now serves as an Arizona State Prison Facility. Hospital Flat still serves as a popular refuge for forest recreationists who come to its pleasant surroundings for much the same reason as did those soldiers of a hun. Hospital Flat offers a 3/4 mile self-guided nature trail constructed by the Safford Rotary Club in 1985. A printed trail guide available at the trailhead tells how this meadow was formed, what plants and animals live in and around it, and how they interact with one another and with their habitat.
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