Tucked between Caliente Canyon and Canyon del Salio, Agua Caliente Hill occupies a sort of mountain no-man’s land south of the Santa Catalina Mountains and north of the Rincon Mountains. An accessible “back-yard mountain” for residents of Tucson, Arizona, this peak is not particularly high but sits alone and proud above the desert floor with over 1,000 feet of prominence.
The namesake feature of its resident USGS quad, Aqua Caliente Hill features a wide-open, grassy summit granting beautiful 360 views of the Tucson metro area and surrounding mountains. The mountain is enjoyed by hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers, and some folks even camp at the summit, but overall use is surprisingly light.
Rank: 2,709th highest peak in Arizona
Prominence: 1,069 feet
USGS Quad: Aqua Caliente Hill
Rank & Prominence: Lists of John
Agua Caliente hill is on the western edge of Tucson and relatively close to most residents and visitors of the area. Most visitors to this summit will access the peak via the Pima County trailhead providing access into Coronado National Forest. Driving directions per Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation:
From Tanque Verde Road go east until Houghton Road. Turn left onto Houghton Road and after a short distance turn right onto Fort Lowell Road. Follow this until nearly the end, into a development where Camino Remuda breaks off to the left. Take this and stay left as smaller roads go right. Eventually it ends at a paved parking area on the right.
I used 3255 N Houghton Road as my GPS waypoint – to Desert Skies United Methodist.
|This peak and the trail system accessing it are located within the Coronado National Forest’s Agua Caliente Trail system. The primary trailhead, managed by Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation, is accessible dawn to dusk. There are no fees to park at the trailhead or use the trail, though parking is limited.|
The Santa Catalina Ranger District operates several campgrounds along the Santa Catalina Highway to Mount Lemmon. These are (in distance up the highway from the valley):
• Molino Campground
• General Hitchcock Campground
• Rose Canyon Lake
Weather & Seasons
|*A trip to this summit, thanks to low |
elevation, would be most comfortable in the fall,
winter or spring.
*March and April are primo wildflower viewing months.
*Summer temperatures in this part of the Sonoran
desert can be worse than uncomfortable;
they can be downright dangerous!
*According to the United States National Weather Service,
the record high temperature for Tucson, Arizona,
set on 26th June 1990, was 117 degrees Farenheit
/ 47 degrees Celsius.