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Hike Arizona: Tucson and southeast
Tucson: Butterfly Trail
Tucson: Hutch’s Pool, Sabino Canyon
Tucson: Mint Spring Loop
Tucson: Mt. Lemmon
Tucson: Seven Falls, Sabino Canyon
Tucson Mountains: Wasson Peak
Catalina Mountains: Aspen Trail
Catalina Mountains: Blackett’s Ridge
Catalina Mountains: Green Mountain
Catalina Mountains: Finger Rock
Florence: Coke Ovens
Oracle: Oracle State Park
Rincon Mts: Turkey Creek Trail
Willcox: Bassett Peak
Sierra Vista: Leaf Peeper
Saguaro NP: Douglas Spring Trail
Saguaro NP: Hope Camp/Quilter
Saguaro NP: Garwood-Carillo Loop
Saguaro NP: King Canyon Trail
Romero Canyon, Pusch Ridge
Kelvin, Gila River Canyons
Madera Canyon, Mt. Wrightson
Santa Rita Mts., Gardner Canyon
Kitt Peak National Observatory
Safford: Aravaipa Canyon
Arivaca: Buenos Aires NWR
Safford: Mt. Graham
Hunter Trail, Picacho Peak
Chiricahua National Monument
Miller Peak, Coronado Nat. Forest

Leavengood, Betty, Tucson Hiking Guide (3rd. ed.), Pruett Publishing Co., 1997.
The hike descriptions include topographic maps and elevation profiles.

Sabino Canyon to Hutch’s Pool, Tucson

Hike: After taking the Sabino Canyon tram ($5 per person RT) for 3.8 miles to the end of Sabino Canyon Road, the network of trails starts. The trail climbs steeply for 0.8 miles. A few more switch backs and the trail levels off along the top of the ridge. The city is out of view. To the left and far below is Sabino Creek. There are a few uphill, rocky spots, but for the most part, the trail is a gradual and easy climb until it begins meandering along the side of the ridge down to Sabino Basin.
    After 1.5 miles, the trail makes a sharp curve to the right and begins descending quickly. At this curve there is a partially barricaded side trail to the left that leads to a lookout point providing an excellent view of Sabino Creek, worth the side trip. As the main trail approaches Sabino Basin, a metal sign gives directions and mileage to several points. 12 miles to Mt. Lemmon, 2.5 miles back to Sabino Road, and 1.6 miles to Hutch’s Pool.
    Blue jays are popular in this area. From here, cross a rocky, sandy area and enter a meadow, hiking away from Sabino Creek for nearly a mile. A quarter mile ahead, the trail begins to parallel Sabino Creek along a narrow ledge. Soon, the trail descends and crosses Sabino Creek. Cairns mark the trail which now follows the left (west) side of the creek. A quarter mile, several paths lead down to the creek. The first side trail leads to a large pool, but is not Hutch’s Pool. Hutch’s Pool can be reached either by descending the next path farther along the trail and boulder hopping upstream, or by descending the 3rd path which is fairly steep and leads along the side of the creek past a large camping site. Hutch’s Pool is long and narrow and has a waterfall at the north end. It will take 2-3 hours to reach Hutch’s Pool depending on how long you linger along the way.
  • Best Time of Year to Hike: spring, summer, fall
  • Distance: 8.2 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: +-3500'
  • Difficulty: Moderate – steep switchbacks for the first 0.8 mile
  • Weather Conditions: Tucson
Drive: Take I-10 east to Tucson. Exit I-10 at Speedway Blvd. Go east on Speedway for 5 miles to Wilmot Rd. Turn left. Wilmot becomes Tanque Verde at the Pima intersection. Continue on Tanque Verde to Sabino Canyon Road. Turn left and follow the signs to the Visitor Center parking lot. The trail head is 3.8 miles from the Visitor Center.

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Seven Falls, Sabino Canyon, Tucson

    Sabino Canyon is very rugged and beautiful! This is a very easy and popular hike to the incredible Seven Falls. There are exactly 7 stream crossings on the way to Seven Falls.
    We will take the wide trail off the southeast side of the parking lot. When you reach the road bear right. Once you reach the end of the road, you’ll spot the rest rooms and tram stop. The beginning of the Bear Canyon Trail is just to the left of the rest room. It’s nearly 2 miles from the parking lot to the trail’s beginning and then another 2 miles to reach Seven Falls.
    At most of the crossing points, the footing is stable. For those times when there is a lot of water running in the creek, it can be more challenging. You reach the seventh crossing after about 35 to 45 minutes. The seventh crossing is the hardest when the water is up. But it is usually possible. After this seventh crossing, the trail climbs up the south wall of the canyon on a couple of long switchbacks, and then heads up-canyon, gently ascending. After you round a corner, you see the rock formation that towers over Seven Falls ahead.
    About 20 minutes after the seventh crossing you are directly opposite Seven Falls, which is a gorge on the north wall of Bear Canyon with a series of small waterfalls and pools. The trail forks here, with the left-hand fork taking you down to a large pool at the base of Seven Falls and the right hand fork continuing up Bear Canyon. There is a forest service sign indicating that the Bear Canyon Trail continues on the right-hand fork. Seven Falls has a number of large pools. It’s a great place to hang out.
  • Best Time of Year to Hike: fall through spring
  • Distance: 8.2 miles round trip
  • Range of Elevation: 2700' (Sabino Canyon) to 3360' (Seven Falls)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Weather Conditions: Tucson
Take I-10 south to Tucson to Orange Grove Rd. Exit, go left on Orange Grove Rd. Orange Grove Rd. to Skyline Drive, right on Skyline Dr. Skyline Dr. to Sabino Canyon Rd. Sabino Canyon Park Recreation area will be right in front of you, take a left onto Sabino Canyon Rd. and an immediate right into the parking lot.

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Aspen Trail, Mt. Lemmon, Tucson

    This is a short 3.7 mile, gentle hike through the mountain forests. The ride up and back is spectacular, take turns driving up and down the mountain so you can sight see. There is an elevation change from 7400' to 8200' and the temperature should be quite comfortable for hiking.
    In addition to refreshing 70-degree summer temperatures, the alpine of this forested hike is further enhanced by a several stands of aspen trees along the route. For a longer hike, take a detour on the of Rocks Trail which connects to the Marshall Gulch path. If you follow the Rocks Trail a short distance, you’ll see a variety of dramatic sculpted and sheer ravines that the heart of the Santa Mountains. This is also a reintroduction area for endangered bighorn sheep.
  • Best Time of Year to Hike: fall through spring
  • Distance: 3.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 500'
  • Range of Elevation: 8500' (trailhead) to 9000' (summit)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Weather Conditions: Tucson
To access the trail head, take Speedway (in Tucson) east to Wilmont, then turn left. Wilmont will turn into Tanque Verde at Pima, continue on Tanque Verde to Catalina Highway, then turn left. You will be driving up Mount Lemon about 30 miles keeping left at the Summerhaven-Ski Valley junction. Drive through Summerhaven to the Marshall Gulch Picnic Area where the road dead ends. (There is a fee to drive up the Mount Lemon Road).

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Finger Rock, Pusch Ridge Wilderness, Tucson

    As you look toward the Santa Catalinas from metropolitan Tucson, one of the most distinctive landmarks on the Pusch Ridge skyline resembles a closed hand with the index finger extended to make a #1 sign. This is Finger Rock, a 100 foot high formation that marks the steep canyon that bears its name.
    The trail starts easy and gets progressively rougher. Because of its graduated layout, hikers can tailor an outing along this trail to fit the amount of effort they want to expend. Or, they can go for it and continue past Mt. Kimball to Linda Vista Ridge and the head of Ventana Canyon.
    Many who come here choose Finger Rock Spring as a good turn-around point. A little looking around reveals some good picnic spots and outstanding overlooks. Beyond the spring, the trail steepens and becomes harder to follow. What has been rocky, rough going becomes even more so. Not surprisingly, as the going gets rougher the overlooks get better. Dramatic vistas of Finger Rock, the sheer walls of the canyon, Tucson and the mountains beyond add to the lung busting grades to give hikers plenty of incentive to stop, take a break and look around.
    This hike starts in saguaros and climbs through the Upper Sonoran Zone into a habitat of yucca, live oak, juniper, and agave. The trail leads into the Pusch Ridge Desert Bighorn Sheep Management Area, so leave your dog at home. Finger Rock Trail ends at a junction where a set of switchbacks leads into Ventana Canyon toward Tucson and where Esperero Trail #25 leads to other trails that continue up the slopes of Mt. Lemmon.
    The trailhead is signed about 100 feet above the road’s end. Just beyond Finger Rock Spring, 1.1 miles in, follow the trail branch to the right, up the canyon wall the straight ahead route is a false trail.
    As the trail starts to climb, you are challenged by loose rocks and dim trail to the 3 mile mark, where there is a nice view of Finger Rock on your left. It is now 1.5 miles to an intersection over somewhat better trail, still climbing but not as steep. At the intersection take a left, where the trails end and the Mt. Kimball peak is only a half mile away.
  • Best Time of Year to Hike: fall through spring
  • Distance: 5 miles one way
  • Range of Elevation: 3100' (trailhead) to 6200' (top)
  • Difficulty: Tough
  • Weather Conditions: Tucson
Take I-10 south to Tucson and take the Orange Grove Rd. Exit, go left on Orange Grove Rd. Follow Orange Grove Rd. to Skyline Drive. Follow Skyline (have to make a left to stay on Skyline) to Alvernon Way and turn left (north) to the trailhead and parking lot at the end of the pavement.

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King Canyon Trail, Saguaro National Park, Tucson

    This is a hike up a canyon past petroglyphs and old mines to intersect with the Hugh Norris Trail near the top of Wasson Peak.
    The trail begins as an old jeep road and for the first mile is a wide, rocky walk along the west side of the ridge. Most of the year the canyon drainage is dry, but in times of rain the rush of water would be an awesome sight.
    As the road approaches the intersection, it drops into and crosses the canyon Off the trail and to the left about one-quarter of a mile down the canyon drainage and immediately past a small dam are many petroglyphs. As you cross the canyon bottom, a short side trail to the left leads up to the Mam-a-Gah picnic area where there are six tables and one ramada. The King Canyon trail turns to the right, past the rest rooms. The Sendero Esperanza trailed is immediately past the restroom and to the left. King Canyon Trial is straight ahead and, as the sign indicates, reaches Wasson Peak in 2.6 miles.
    Past the intersection the trail narrows and continues up the canyon. In about 200 yards the trail crosses another drainage and then goes along a low ridge between King Canyon and the side drainage before beginning to climb. The trail continues to climb along the east side of the hill and is easy to follow. In about one mile it reaches the top of the ridge and again becomes an abandoned road. The road winds around the side of the hill and comes to the intersection with the Sweetwater Trail (because there is no legal access to the Sweetwater Trail, the Park Service recommends that you go down and return from this intersection).
    From this intersection the trail climbs steeply to the west. The main obstacles on the trail are the large rocks carefully placed to prevent erosion. The peak directly above you is not Wasson. The trail becomes a series of switchbacks that climb steadily. There are several fenced mine shafts along this portion of the trail, all with warning signs. As you switchback up the trial, more nines become visible, some in paces that look totally inaccessible.
    As the trial reaches the top of the switchbacks, most of the city is visible, and Wasson Peak stands out to the north. As the tail levels along the north side of the ridge, you can see the trial intersection ahead. Another fenced mine is on the right, this time with the warning sight in Spanish. Past this mine, the trail is level briefly and then climbs in a few switchbacks to the trial intersection. This is the end of the King Canyon Trail. To reach Wasson Peak, follow Hugh Norris Trial 0.3 miles to the summit. The final section is easy and well worth the climb.
  • Best Time of Year to Hike: winter
  • Distance: 3.5 miles to intersection with Hugh Norris trail
  • Range of Elevation: 2800' (trailhead) to 4600' (trail intersection)
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Weather Conditions: Tucson
    Take I-10 south to Tucson. Exit I-10 at Speedway Blvd. Turn right and go west on Speedway, over Gates Pass to the intersection with Kinney Road. Turn right on Kinney Road to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The parking area for the King Canyon Trail is 0.1 miles past the entrance to the museum and on the right.

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Rincon Mountains Backpack Trip

    This overnight backpacking trip will hike a portion of the Arizona trail in Saguaro National Park - East. We will start at the Miller Creek Trailhead , hike up the Turkey Creek Trail to Spud Rock Campground. We will spend the night at Spud Rock campground. The first day will be 8.3 miles. For those that want to go, we will go on an optional 6.5-mile hike on top of the Rincons. On Sunday, we will descend down Heartbreak Ridge to Happy Valley Saddle and then to miller creek trailhead 9.2 miles.
  • Best Time of Year to Hike: March through November
  • Permit limit: 8 people
  • Distance: 18 miles RT plus optional 6.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: +-3200'
  • Range of Elevation: 4200' (trailhead) to 7400' (summit)
  • Difficulty: Tough
  • Weather Conditions: Tucson
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Madera Canyon, Mt. Wrightson

    The Motorola Hiking Club will be hiking Mt. Wrightson. These are difficult "A" hikes due to elevation change (over 4000 feet), and length. For experienced hikers only!
    Saturday - The Florida Canyon Trail which goes into the Crest trail. This is highly recommended and supposedly much more scenic than the Baldy Trail (which is quite beautiful). It is 7 miles each way (if you go to the top of Wrightson), is easier hiking, and less crowded than Baldy.
    Sunday - The Baldy Trail to the top, and then back the same way or the Super Trail (longer but less steep).
    We will be on the trail by 8:00 a.m. each day, so it is recommended you spend Friday night and Saturday night near Madera Canyon.

    The hike leader is staying at the Santa Rita Lodge Nature Lodge and is looking for a person to share the unit - they have no cabins left, but have 7 “efficiency units” with either double beds or king bed with fireplace, (and all have a kitchen and bathroom). There is a limit of two adults per room, and a dog is an extra $10.00 per night and MUST be kept on a leash (the katamunde(sp?) will kill dogs). Humming birds are “in” right now. Call 520/625-8746 for reservations. There is also a campground (used mostly for trailers - 13 stalls; $10.00 per night) at Box Springs, and of course you can camp in the National Forest (no bathroom, picnic table etc.)
    The Madera Kudo B&B has 3 cabins available at $75.00 per night/$15.00 per extra person. There is one bedroom with one full/double bed and a pull out couch in each cabin. No pets. It is 1/4 mile past the Santa Rita Lodge. Phone 520/625-2908.
   For additional information, see Coronado National Forest.

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Aravaipa Canyon, Safford

    Aravaipa Canyon, with its outstanding scenery, desert fish, wildlife, rich history and opportunities for primitive recreation, was preserved in 1984 by an Act of Congress (and later expanded in 1990) to remain free from the influence of man and to be protected in this condition for all future generations.
    Expect a "WILDERNESS" Experience
Because a designated wilderness area is to be affected primarily by the forces of nature, the following conditions can be expected when you visit Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness (ACW):
  1. No trails. From the West trailhead (2630'), a continuous 430' elevation gain can be expected over uneven terrain to the East trailhead (3,060'). Stream wading and numerous stream crossings (up to knee deep), as well as hiking through dense riparian brush can slow travel time.
  2. No facilities. There are no restrooms, picnic tables, or grills within the wilderness. The area is pristine and natural. Primitive toilets are located at each trailhead parking lot.
  3. No signs. Once inside the wilderness boundary, there are no directional, information, or location signs. Simply note the nine side canyons as you progress to keep track of your approximate location. Brandenburg Mountain (West ACW) and Booger Canyon (East ACW) 7.5' minute topographic maps are sold at map stores.
    Some special notes:
  • Aravaipa Creek flows year long, but water must be treated before drinking.
  • Aravaipa Canyon is home to several species of rattlesnakes. Never put your hands or feet where you cannot see. Remember snakes are generally only aggressive when provoked. They are most active during the day in spring and fall, and in the evenings during summer.
  • To avoid heat-related problems in the HOT season, always bring water, sunscreen, lip balm with sunscreen, a light hat with a brim, light cotton clothing, sunglasses, and insect repellent.
  • To avoid cold-related problems in the COOL season, always bring a jacket, long pants, rain-gear, a warm hat, gloves, sock liners that wick moisture away, wool socks, and light hiking boots. Never wear cotton since it has no insulating power, and when wet, actually cools the body.
  • Campfires are permitted unless otherwise posted, but management recommends a backpacking stove. Choose an existing fire ring, and use only dead and down wood that you can break with your hands. This will easily burn to a fine ash. No axes or saws please!
  • A small drawstring bag will hold a garden trowel and toilet paper. Hike to a location far from your camp and away from water. Using the trowel, dig a hole 6"-8" deep in which to bury your human waste. This is the depth at which soil bacteria are most active. When finished, replace the topsoil, and pack out your toilet paper.
  • Always pack out what you pack in, including aluminum foil, cigarette butts, orange peels, and leftover food.
For Further Information:
  • Aravaipa Canyon - by Dan Ichikawa
  • Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness - from GORP
  • Bureau of Land Management, 520-428-4040.
  • Gila County Historical Museum (928) 425-7385
    1360 N Broad St
    Globe, AZ 85501
    open Monday – Friday, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM; Saturday 11:00 AM-3:00 PM
Best Time of Year to Hike: April, May, October and November
Difficulty: easy
Weather Conditions: Safford
    From Phoenix (190 miles/4.5 to 5 hours): Take US Highway 60 to Globe. At Globe, continue on US Highway 70 to the Klondyke Road (8 miles east of Fort Thomas). Take this graded dirt road 45 miles to the East trailhead. Several stream crossings, suitable for passenger cars, will be encountered in the last 10 miles.

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Miller Peak Backpack trip

    Backpack the first segment of the Arizona Trail — Mexico to Miller Peak. The Arizona Trail begins near the U.S.-Mexico border in the Coronado National Memorial. The Memorial commemorates Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez Coronado’s search for the Seven Cities of Cibola in 1540, the first major European exploration of the Southwest.
    The Arizona Trail follows the Crest Trail from Montezuma Pass into the Coronado National Forest and the Miller Peak Wilderness of the Huachuca Mountains. The Crest Trail provides outstanding views of the San Pedro and San Rafael Valleys as well as prime access to a number of spur trails, including trails to Miller Peak and Ramsey Canyon.
    Miller Peak Wilderness is a land of sheer cliffs, soaring summits, and deep canyons, with diverse habitats that range from desert grasslands to mixed conifer and aspen forest. Over 170 species of birds, including 14 species of hummingbirds, live in the Wilderness, making for world-class bird watching. An amazing variety of wildlife, including animals normally seen south of the Mexican border, can also be found in these diverse life zones: over 60 species of reptiles and 78 species of mammals including coatimundi, javelina, black bear, and mountain lion.
    To reach the Huachucas/Miller Peak from Tucson, drive east on I-10, then south on Highway 90 just before the turn-off for Benson. Continue to Sierra Vista and proceed south on Highway 92 for 20 miles to Montezuma Pass Road. Turn right and drive to the parking area on top of Montezuma Pass. The Crest Trail begins across the road to the north.


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updated September 13, 2023