The shortest route up Mt. Kimball is via Finger Rock Canyon, which cuts north from Tucson and leads to slopes on the south side of the mountain. From central Tucson, drive north to Skyline Drive, the major road which parallels the Catalina range just south of the foothills. From the intersection of Campbell and Skyline
, drive east on Skyline for half a mile. Here Skyline splits; the right fork becomes Sunrise. Take the left fork (which stays as Skyline) and continue for .7 of a mile to Alvernon. Go north on Alvernon to its end, where you will find parking for the Finger Rock Canyon trailhead.
The trail is a straightforward one, and the only significant danger of getting off it lies at the very beginning, where folks shortcutting or bushwhacking have created some side trails. Stay to the main trail - it receives by far the most traffic and shouldn't be hard to tell from the others. The trail covers some flat ground and then rises as it enters Finger Rock Canyon, named for the rock spire that towers above its northern terminus. There is a great page on Finger Rock here
The trail switchbacks up the east side of the canyon, staying for the most part high above the canyon floor. The climb is fairly consistent but completely non-technical. After a fraction over three miles, you reach a saddle with great views of Tucson. Continue on for almost two miles up the southern face of Mt. Kimball. The Finger Rock trail actually ends just shy of the summit, where it intersects with the Pima Canyon Trail. To reach the top you must go northeast on this trail - to the southwest it drops down into Pima Canyon. It is easy to reverse this route on the return; an additional option is to descend via Pima Canyon (if you've left a vehicle at that trailhead or don't mind hitching a ride!).
The hike is non-technical and no special gear is generally required; however, winter conditions can be present high on the mountain, necessitating cold-weather gear.
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