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Hiking near Tucson

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Hiking near Tucson

Postby EastcoastMike » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:34 pm

Will be visiting family in Tuscon Arizona this weekend. I have 1 day to hike. I am looking for hike recommendations or perhaps a guidebook I could get a hold of on short notice. I am looking for relative solitude (trail not packed with people), views, and the feeling of being in a remote area. Hiking a peak would be nice but not a requirement. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Edit: Ideally the drive to the hike would be reasonably short (<2 hours)

Edit 2: Would hiking Mt.Wrightson this Saturday or Sunday meet the criteria I am looking for? Or would it be very crowded? Any chance of significant snow necessitating traction aids or snowshoes?
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Re: Hiking near Tucson

Postby Bark Eater » Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:20 pm

Drive up out of the valley on Mt. Lemmon - I think it is called the Mt. Lemmon Highway. Lots of possibilities for trails up there. Been too long to give you trail specifics but I was very impressed when we were there years ago. I'm sure you can look up specifics on the Mt. Lemmon page here on SP.

Sabino Canyon is most famous and quite pretty but you won't find solitude there...LOTS of people. Enjoy!
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Re: Hiking near Tucson

Postby Clark_Griswold » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:53 pm

http://hikearizona.com/traildex.php

Set the area to Tucson, wilderness to Pusch (if you like a lot of up and down, or AEG) and month to November. Adjust the mileage and feet as desired. Wilderness of Rocks is the top of Mt Lemmon, but it doesn't appear to be in the dex.

I recommend Mt Kimball via Finger Rock.

The Catalina Highway, as it is locally known, is officially called the General Hitchcock Highway. It's a fun drive, and it is free to drive. You'll only need a pass if you stop to hike and park the car. A parks pass, if you have one, will cover you for a Catalina Pass, or Coronado Pass, or whatever the FS calls it. The Catalina Mountains are one of the best ranges in the nation. Not a Sierra Nevada or Teton Range, but beautiful and in an urban area there is a ton of stuff to chose from. Even though parking can be limited, a space will open up, and most people don't go very far past a trailhead on anything but the easiest of hikes.

Wrightson would meet the requirement of <2 hours of driving, and it is paved access. It will be somewhat crowded (it was when I did it last year at this time), but if it is cold, the crowds will be thinner. Josephine Saddle is a turn around for many a low lander, and so too is the next Saddle, Baldy Saddle.
http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=158

It is doubtful you'll require traction for Wrightson or any other hike.

If you want a peak Wrightson is your best best for 360 degree views that will extend into old Mexico. Kimball is a good one for being close to the Pueblo, and if you want a real hardcore hike, try the Catalina State Park to Mount Lemmon. You'll get at least 7600' of elevation gain if you just hike up hill, but that requires a shuttle. It's super fun, though.
Last edited by Clark_Griswold on Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hiking near Tucson

Postby Sarah Simon » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:03 pm

Mike,

I am partial to the Tucson Mountains as they really capture the essence of the region for me.

Mount Wrightson is a beautiful peak and any crowding you experience will/should be less than that experienced on the Mount Lemmon circuit in part thanks to the fact that Wrightson is further south of Tucson / requires a longer drive. An early start never hurts for increased solitude / will help you beat the largest of the casual day-tripper crowds.

Have fun,
Sarah
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Re: Hiking near Tucson

Postby Sarah Simon » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:08 pm

Sarah Simon wrote:I am partial to the Tucson Mountains as they really capture the essence of the region for me.


PS: Safford Peak (http://www.summitpost.org/safford-peak/696905) offers a lot of bang for the buck, although Cat Mountain (http://www.summitpost.org/cat-mountain/598423) is one of my favorites, as well.

Cheers,
Sarah
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Re: Hiking near Tucson

Postby EastcoastMike » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:44 pm

Sarah Simon wrote:
Sarah Simon wrote:I am partial to the Tucson Mountains as they really capture the essence of the region for me.


PS: Safford Peak (http://www.summitpost.org/safford-peak/696905) offers a lot of bang for the buck, although Cat Mountain (http://www.summitpost.org/cat-mountain/598423) is one of my favorites, as well.

Cheers,
Sarah


I was looking through the national park maps and could not find Safford Peak on the map. Is it reachable without 4WD and do you know the approximate mileage to access the peak?
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Re: Hiking near Tucson

Postby Sarah Simon » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:02 pm

EastcoastMike wrote:
Sarah Simon wrote:
Sarah Simon wrote:I am partial to the Tucson Mountains as they really capture the essence of the region for me.


PS: Safford Peak (http://www.summitpost.org/safford-peak/696905) offers a lot of bang for the buck, although Cat Mountain (http://www.summitpost.org/cat-mountain/598423) is one of my favorites, as well.

Cheers,
Sarah


I was looking through the national park maps and could not find Safford Peak on the map. Is it reachable without 4WD and do you know the approximate mileage to access the peak?


Pst! Hint: There is a route page for Safford Peak, too: http://www.summitpost.org/sanctuary-cove/702113

The route page contains all you need to know - driving directions (no 4x4 needed), land management (private but access allowed - hence not on Nat'l Park map), distance, YDS class (easy scrambling), etc.

I strongly recommend that peak - enjoy it!
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Re: Hiking near Tucson

Postby lcarreau » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:32 am

I lived in Tucson for about 2 years, and really enjoyed it.

You'll find the Rincon Mountains to the east, and the Tucson Mountains to the west.

Guess the most enjoyable hikes (for me) were the Romero Springs trail out of Santa Catalina State Park, and the Pima Canyon trail west of Sabino Canyon.

Whatever you do, have fun, Man. (Kitt Peak to the far west is also rather interesting, especially if you dig astronomy.)

8)
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Re: Hiking near Tucson

Postby EastcoastMike » Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:41 pm

So it turns out I will be taking along two novice hikers who are not looking to hike anything "too challenging". I'd like to keep them on maintained trails. I am having trouble deciding between the Tucson Mountains and Catalina Mountains because both seem so awesome. I've narrowed it down to 2 hikes:

1)Wasson peak in the Tucson Mountains via the Sendero Esperanza trail or
2)Blacketts ridge in the Catalina mountains

Are these two hikes good choices? Is either hike particularly popular? Would they be crowded this weekend?
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Re: Hiking near Tucson

Postby coldfoot » Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:15 am

From your description and fellow hikers I would suggest Wasson Peak from the King Canyon trailhead (approaching from the southwest). I believe this direction is a little shorter and better maintained trail. http://www.localhikes.com/Hikes/Wasson_King_Canyon_8520.asp The trailhead is easy to find, it's just past the Desert Museum (I think there's a sign but it's not large).

On any accessible trail on a nice weekend there will be other people, but compared to an average East coast/DC area trail it won't seem crowded.

Don't forget to carry more water than you think reasonable and wear a hat if it's sunny, even in the fall.
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Re: Hiking near Tucson

Postby lcarreau » Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:32 am

Hey Mike, are you still there ???

Just heard from a reliable news-source that RAIN is predicted for southern AZ this weekend.

Would probably be BEST to stick to the major TRAILS, then you can gauge the weather and make a quick getaway to the TH ... if so inclined. Best of luck.
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