Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 32.37600°N / 110.879°W
Additional Information Elevation: 7258 ft / 2212 m
Sign the Climber's Log

Overview

Mt. Kimball is one of the highest peaks along the southern front of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The Catalinas rise just north of Tucson, Arizona, and their forested summits often carry winter snow while far below, Tucson is warm. Like many of its neighbors, Mt. Kimball is a "sky island" - its lower slopes are desert, and only as you climb higher do thicker vegetation and forests begin to appear.


Mt. Kimball from Finger Rock Canyon. Finger Rock itself is at left; Kimball is behind at right.


Although it does not present a forbidding face from most directions, Kimball still towers almost a vertical mile above Tucson and is a long, steep day trip for many hikers. The summit of Mt. Kimball also provides spectacular views into the heart of the Catalinas and of the surrounding southern Arizona desert.

Getting There

The two main routes up Mt. Kimball are Finger Rock Canyon and Pima Canyon.

For Finger Rock Canyon, take Skyline Drive, a major road that parallels the Catalinas just south of the foothills. From the intersection of Skyline and Alvernon take Alvernon north. The road dead ends at the Finger Rock Canyon trailhead.

For Pima Canyon, the trailhead starts further west. Skyline turns into Ina road here; the intersection of Ina and Christie is just west and is also on this map. At that intersection, go north on Christie. This street dead-ends at Magee. Turn right here, and park at the lot (it's called the Iris Dewhirst trailhead) straight ahead of you.

Red Tape

No dogs are allowed on either the Pima Canyon or the Finger Rock Canyon trails. Off-trail hiking is sometimes subject to seasonal closure, but given what off-trail hiking is like in this area (wading through fields of shindaggers and other sharp plants) this isn't usually a problem. Other than that there's no red tape.



The Highest Catalina Summits

Rank Peak Elevation 7.5 minute Quadrangle  
1 Mount Lemmon 9,157 Mt. Lemmon  
2 Mount Bigelow 8,540 Mount Bigelow    
3 Marshall Peak 8,300 Mount Lemmon  
4 Cathedral Rock 7,957 Mount Lemmon  
5 Green Mountain 7,904 Mount Bigelow  
6 Samaniego Peak 7,700 Mount Lemmon  
7 UN 7693 7,693 Mount Bigelow    
8 Window Peak 7,468 Mount Lemmon  
9 Rose Peak 7,303 Mount Bigelow    
10 UN 7281 "Guthrie Mountain" 7,281 Mount Bigelow  
11 Mt. Kimball 7,258 Oro Valley  
  Mule Ears 7,060 Mount Lemmon    
12 Rattlesnake Peak 6,653 Sabino Canyon  
13 Prominent Point 6,628 Tucson North  
14 UN 6512 6,512 Agua Caliente Hill    
15 Apache Peak 6,441 Oracle    
  Finger Rock 6,420 Tucson North  
16 Table Mountain 6,265 Oro Valley  
17 UN 6191 6,191 Agua Caliente Hill    
18 Airmen Peak 6,100 Agua Caliente Hill  
19 UN 6060 6,060 Mount Bigelow    
20 UN 6053 6,053 Mount Bigelow


Clicking on the small picture by a peak will take you to a picture of that peak.

Clicking on an underlined peak will take you to that peak's page on SummitPost.

An elevation in red is interpolated.

A more expansive list of the Catalina summits can be found here.


When to climb

Mt. Kimball can be climbed year-round, but hikers would be wise to avoid the summer months, when temperatures in Tucson often rise above 100. If you get an early enough start it's possible to be on the summit for good weather in the summer, but most hikers prefer to do the climb in the spring or fall. At the other extreme, snow and ice can sometimes be found high on Kimball in the winter months.

Looking at Mt. Lemmon - the...

Looking at snowcapped Mt. Lemmon - the highest peak in the Catalinas - from the summit of Mt. Kimball.


Camping

While a climb of Mt. Kimball does not usually necessitate a high camp, camping is permitted in the Catalinas and there are some good sites at the 6850' saddle just south of the peak. Many campsites in the Catalinas have suffered heavy and incosiderate use (ie; the construction of multiple fire rings) in recent years; please try to make as little impact as possible if you choose to camp here.

Conditions

Here is the website for the Coronado National Forest. You can also call them at 520-749-8700.

Warning

Around a quarter-mile from the summit of Mt. Kimball, the Pima Canyon trail intersects the short spur trail that heads to Kimball's summit and its overlook. This intersection used to be marked with a cairn; however, on my two last hikes to the summit, I noticed that the cairn was gone (most recently in February 2008). If you summit and then miss your turn here on the descent, you'll be heading down the wrong canyon. Hopefully unfamiliar views would clue hikers in to the fact that they're going the wrong way, but nevertheless it could be a grueling hike retracing your steps back up to the intersection just below Kimball's summit. Pay attention and don't miss the turn!

Miscellaneous Info

In 1931 Mt. Kimball was named after Frederick E. Kimball, a land developer who went on to serve in the Arizona State Senate. Kimball pushed for a road up Mt. Lemmon (the highest of the Catalina summits), and promoted the building of Summerhaven, the community just below the top of Lemmon. It is not known whether Kimball ever stood on the summit of his namesake peak.




Children

Children

Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.