|Lat/Lon:||31.77110°N / 111.595°W|
|Elevation:||7730 ft / 2356 m|
At 7,730 feet Baboquivari Peak dominates the 2,065-acre Baboquivari Peak Wilderness area. It is one of the few major peaks in Arizona that requires technical climbing to reach its summit. It's located on Tohono O'odham Nation land about 1.5 hours southwest of Tucson. The beautiful desert scenery located near the Mexican border supports a lot of different types of plant life. Vegetation in the higher country includes oak, walnut, and piqon; saguaro, paloverde, and chaparral grace the lower elevations. If you are interested in a technical climb of this peak, make sure you check out the Crystal Line route, and the Southeast Arete route. This website has some good info. This website also has good climbing information.
The peak can be approached from either the east or the west. If you're heading to "Babo" from Tucson, the east side approach is a shorter drive (and a shorter hike), but it may require a high clearance vehicle. The west side approach is longer (both driving time and hiking time), but the road is easily passable for any car. Only the west side approach will be described here. West Side: From Tucson, head west on Highway 86 past Kitt Peak to Sells. Turn south through Sells toward the settlement of Topowa. The ranger station on the left side of the highway marks the access road. You must purchase either a day pass ($10) or an overnight pass ($15). Turn left (east) here and follow a good dirt road for about 10 miles to a fork in the road. Take the right fork. Baboquivari camp is at the trailhead. It has water, tables, and shelters. The trail to the base of the mountain from the Camp is maintained fairly well and is pretty easy to follow. Most routes begin from Lion's Ledge. It is much easier to get to Lion's Ledge from the west side than it is from the east side. From the west, follow the trail until it ends at the Great Ramp (see photo below). At this point, bushwhack east (right). Stay high and you will end up on Lion's Ledge. Follow Lions Ledge to the South Face climbs and the South East Arete. The hike from the parking lot to Lions Ledge is NOT short. Several thousand feet of elevation must be gained over sometimes rough terrain. Leave a few hours for the approach.
The east side of Baboquivari is on BLM-administered land. The west side is on the Tohono O'odham Reservation and is under tribal jurisdiction. On the west side, there is a $3 use fee for Baboquivari Camp. No climbing permits are required.
Babo can be climbed any time of year. Although, there is sometimes snow at the higher elevations during the winter, and the days are unbearably hot during the summer. The best time is spring or fall.
You can camp at Baboquvari Camp on the west side (near the trailhead). The fee is $3. There is water here, but it's pretty nasty stuff. There are also many possible camping areas on the approach (if you feel like hauling all your camping gear half-way up the mountain).
Blacklab2020 - Oct 6, 2010 11:57 pm - Hasn't votedgood reference links
a couple of the links on the page do not work. However www.climbaz.com is an excellent reference for baboquivari
hossjulia - Dec 5, 2010 12:49 pm - Hasn't votedFee required from west
There is a user fee required to climb Babo from the Tohono O'odam nation, or west side. It is $10 for a day climb or $15 if you bivy. This fee should be paid at the information center on the way into the campground, which is $3 a night. Just because it is not en-forced does not mean it is OK to skip this!
yosemite4 - Oct 29, 2014 8:55 am - Hasn't votedCan be super cold in winter
Climbed this peak about 25 years ago with the Desert Peaks Section. What a great climb and one of the coldest I've ever done. Completely in shadow, with iced-over spring water dripping down some of the finger holds on 5th class face of the traditional route (the one with the rap off the tree). It was the first and only time I had to borrow a package of hand warmers from a fellow climber. The fee paid to the Nation to camp and do the peak are super well-worth it. Back in the day, we had to call in advance for permission to climb. It's a much easier process now. Another note, the main body of desert peaks on all of these websites are extracted from the Desert Peaks list, created by folks who went out with maps, compass and recorded the roads and routes long before GPS & Google, and certainly deserve a credit as their website provides a lot of helpful information. When I first joined, the list of peaks cost 25 cents, (which had to be mailed in as there were no websites back then--now it's posted for free). That list was the secret key to a world of desert wonder and a lifetime of enchantment: http://angeles.sierraclub.org/dps/dpslist.pdf A link with recent updates to many routes: http://angeles.sierraclub.org/dps/guideupdate.htm Happy Trails!
MDSF - Nov 29, 2021 12:10 pm - Voted 10/10Babo East Side Update--Nov2021
NOTE: Until the Papago relent on Covid, this is the only legal way to access Baboquivari. The East side route does require a bit more work to get on the rock, but the incredible 500' sheer granite faces of the East and South sides make up for it. The West/Fresnel approach gives you no views for the first miles, and then you see the much gentler ascension face the rest of the way. As long as the Papago have closed this access, Thomas Canyon is your only real option, but it could be the preferred one always , if Tucsonans put a few days work into the trail and removing boulders in the road. TheThomas Canyon post has some excellent Beta on the rock, but lacks some important details on the approach. TNC has abandoned this ranch some time ago, so the last 3.5 miles of road will demand a real 4WD truck style vehicle, and you need to bypass the first mile of the User Trail by walking in the arroyo instead. Brushy does not begin to describe the dense Catclaw (!) and Mesquite now growing in the old road, which you should avoid at all costs if you value your legs and pants. Once past the first mile, look for the User Trail cairns which show it descending the right bank, and crossing to the left. If you miss it, no worries as it is then only 30' up on the left side for at least 1/3 mile after crossing, and provides a faster way up than scrambling the rocky arroyo bottom. Regarding water, you will likely find seeps a half-mile before the last gate at an upwelling, and then above the ranch for at least a mile. These are most welcome for dogs, washing the sweat off, and providing relief from the unrelenting desert sun.