Entertainment Magazine: Tucson: Hiking: Hiking Spots

Popular Tucson hiking spots

By Kim Lasota

The following list includes hikes from each of the four mountain ranges surrounding Tucson as well as a suggestion of "Tucson city hikes."

The Tucson Mountains, west of Tucson, offers the Saguaro National Monument (West) and one of the easier trails, great for beginners. The Wasson Peak hike (or King Canyon Trail) begins directly across from the Arizona- Sonora Desert Museum. This hike is an approximately 8 mile round-trip that climbs from 2,600 to 4,687 feet in elevation. A panoramic view of Tucson and desert scenery make this a popular hike. Visit Gates Pass.

The Rincon Mountains, east of Tucson also offers the Saguaro National Monument (East). The Douglas Spring Trail covers a diverse vegetation ending up in an oak woodland and pine forest community at Cowhead Saddle. The trail begins at the parking lot at the east end of Speedway and is a 15 mile round-trip. The climb from 2,700 to 6,200 feet is steepest near the end of the trail. No water is available despite the name. There are seasonal springs, though it is best not to depend on their availability. This is more of a fall or winter hike, although early morning in the summer is pleasant. The wildlife can be abundant and is awesome to see so close to the paved road.

The Santa Rita Mountains, south of Tucson, are well-known for the birds that frequent the area. The Super Trail-Old Baldy Trail hike begins at Madera Canyon (exit I-19 at Continental Road/Madera Canyon) parking lot. This 16-mile round-trip climbs in elevation from 5,240 to 9,453 feet and becomes especially difficult near the top of the trail. In essence, you are climbing Mount Wrightson. Though areas of the hike are moderate, it can be quite strenuous. Bring binoculars and see all types of birds, as well as a fantastic view of Whipple Observatory atop Mt. Hopkins. Early spring can bring diversity in weather to this trail.

The Santa Catalina Mountains on the north side of Tucson offer a "lifetime supply" of hiking trails. The following four hikes are part of these mountains.

Esperero Canyon trail and Seven Falls trail both begin in Sabino Canyon from paved road (The road is closed to private cars, although a tram runs every half hour).

Esperero is about an 8-mile round-trip to Esperero Canyon. One ridge is so steep that it is unofficially called "Cardiac Ridge."

This trail leads to Bridal Veil Falls, Window Rock and Cathedral Rock as well. Seven Falls is a moderate hike that can be started at the parking lot (8.2 miles round-trip) or the Lower Bear Picnic Area by taking the tram up (4.4 miles round-trip.)

The falls offer water nearly year-round and is a quick and beautiful getaway from the city. Many people use this trail. User fees are being considered for the Sabino Canyon area, although at this time, none are in effect. Find out more about hiking around Sabino Canyon.

In the Catalina Mountains, the Marshall Gulch hike (or Aspen Loop trail) is a cool, easy hike for anyone who wants to get away from the desert. This hike begins at the end of the road (Marshall Gulch Picnic Area) in Summerhaven on Mt. Lemmon.

A 5.1 mile round-trip with less than 1000 feet elevation climb makes this a moderate hike indeed.

In October, the color changes of the leaves is extraordinary. User fees of $5 per car must be paid at a fee station before one drives up Mount Lemmon Highway.

Finger Rock Trail

Picacho Peak State Park

"City hiking" is an alternative for those who prefer the urban way of life. Most of the shopping malls offer a Mall Walkers Club that meets during the week before the stores open and "walk the mall."

More information can be obtained by calling Tucson Mall at 293-7330. Walking downtown and on Fourth Avenue is another option. The area is historical and somewhat geared to walkers. It is also a great way to familiarize yourself with the area. Something about seeing it on foot makes it more interesting. See more about Tucson shopping malls.

Many, many more hikes are availablethroughout and around the city. This information is obtainable through the SAHC and the outdoors shops here.

The idea is to hike- "a long walk for pleasure or exercise" or "to rise up" (especially at Finger Rock Trail.)

The best Tucson hiking books from amazon

Tucson Entertainment Magazine

© 1998-2011 EMOL.org / Tucson Entertainment Magazine On Line. All rights reserved.

Tucson Hiking RSS

This news fee is from the Southern Arizona Hiking Club about special events, weather announcements and other news.


Tucson Hiking Books

There are several good books about hiking around Tucson from amazon.com. These books serve as a good hiking guide with trail information, maps and even GPS coordinates.

Betty Leavengood (Author). Hiking guide to the Tucson, Rincon, Santa Catalina, and Santa Rita Mountains completely revised. Betty Leavengood's third edition of her bestselling Tucson Hiking Guide offers new routes and updated access information, detailed maps, and clear descriptions to area trailheads. Includes: 37 hikes rated easy to difficult by mountain range; revised information on precautions for desert hiking; historical notes, photographs, and anecdotes; and detailed maps and descriptions with elevation/distance. Paperback: 212 pages. Publisher: Pruett Publishing; 3rd edition (September 1, 2004).

Look inside! Best Easy Day Hikes Tucson includes concise descriptions and detailed maps for twenty easy-to-follow hikes in and around Tucson, Arizona. Discover a region of diverse scenery and natural splendors— including a beautiful cactus forest; the Sendero Esperanza Trail, a classic example of the Sonoran Desert’s lush vegetation; and the famous Seven Falls, a series of seasonal cascades in Bear Canyon. Mile-by-mile directions and clear trail maps. Trail Finder for best hikes with children, dogs, or great views. GPS coordinates. Paperback: 96 pages. Publisher: Falcon; First edition (October 14, 2009).

Camping World

Camping WorldAs the nation's largest retailer of RV supplies, accessories, services and new and used RVs, Camping World is committed to making your total RV experience better.

Check out what's on sale at Camping World! Hundreds of Items with huge online savings. Click here to shop!

Bass Prop Shops

Bass Pro Shops is an outdoor retail leader in hunting, camping, boating, and outdoor clothing, in addition to fishing.

Everything an outdoor enthusiast could need or want is here -- from the best of the national brands, to local favorites, to a large offering of quality "house-brand" specialties designed by the best outdoorsmen in the business. Bass Pro Shops