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6 Greatest Tucson Climbing Trails – Bearfoot Principle

Nestled within the coronary heart of the Sonoran Desert and surrounded by 4 totally different mountain ranges, Tucson, Arizona provides guests one of the iconic landscapes within the nation.  From sprawling vistas stuffed with historical saguaro cacti to seemingly secret deserts oasis’ and excessive elevation forests, Tucson has all kinds of choices for hikers trying to get outdoors.

I’ve spent loads of time in Tucson however my absolute favourite time of 12 months to go to is within the winter when the desert cools down however continues to be a lot hotter than a lot of the nation.  When it’s chilly and snowy elsewhere, Tucson is a superb place to get some solar, do some climbing, and eat a number of too many tacos. 

Listed below are 6 of my favourite Tucson climbing trails to get outdoors in Southern Arizona.

All photographs courtesy of Jono Melamed

Essential Reminder: Because it goes in the entire locations we share, please follow good path etiquette and bear in mind to Go away No Hint. Within the desert, this additionally means studying how you can defend cryptobiotic soil and the way it has a big impact on our ecosystems.

Honey Bee Canyon North

  • Size: 2.3 miles out-and-back
  • Problem: Straightforward
  • Day-use payment: None
  • Pets: Sure, on leash

I initially made my manner over to Honey Bee Canyon to take a look at the petroglyphs however have discovered myself revisiting it a number of occasions as a spot to get the canine out on mornings the place I would like one thing a bit fast and simple. The hike takes you up a sandy wash with fascinating rock formations and saguaro cacti of all sizes and styles.

A couple of mile up you’ll come to a small rock wall and only a bit additional you’ll discover some petroglyphs on a rock to your left.  They are often very simple to overlook whereas strolling up the path, In reality, I fully blew previous them my first time on the market and solely observed them on the way in which again. It being a dog-friendly path is a big plus as lots of the extra well-known trails in Tucson don’t permit canine companions to make use of them.

Observe: Please respect the world and don’t contact the petroglyphs.

Petroglyphs on the Honey Bee Cayon hiking trail in Tucson, Arizona

King Canyon 

  • Size: Varies – 2.4 or 7.8 mile loop
  • Problem: Reasonable
  • Day-use payment: $25 per week or use your Nationwide Parks Cross
  • Pets: No

I’m a giant fan of trailheads with a number of climbing choices which is why I just like the King Canyon space in Saguaro Nationwide Park, my go-to Nationwide Park for Tucson climbing.  From the trailhead, you possibly can take the King Canyon path or the decrease King Canyon Wash path to the primary junction the place they meet after which determine how lengthy of a hike you’d love to do.

From the junction, persevering with up the King Canyon Path to Wasson Peak gives you nice views of the sprawling saguaro lowlands.  In case you determine to go up there, you possibly can come again down through the Hugh Norris Path after which loop again round by taking the Sendero Esperanza and Gould Mine Trails which might put your hike at round 7.8 miles.

In case you don’t wish to make the climb up the height and would favor to remain decrease and nearer to the saguaros, you can even get on the Sendero Esperanza Path from the primary junction after which use additionally use the Gould Mine Path to loop again, which might put you in at 2.4 miles.

hundreds of saguaro cacti from above looking down on a Tucson hiking trail

Tanque Verde

  • Size: 1.9 mile out-and-back
  • Problem: Straightforward
  • Day-use payment: None
  • Pets: Sure

Positioned on the east facet of city, the Tanque Verde Falls Path is an out-and-back path that includes a collection of waterfalls that stream by means of a jagged and saguaro-lined canyon.  As you progress up the canyon, you’re handled to streams and swimming pools of all sizes, a few of that are massive sufficient for a swim, particularly throughout the wetter months.

The path ends at a wonderful 80-foot waterfall the place the stream throws itself over a ledge and down right into a deep pool – a real desert oasis.  This path can get fairly busy however I’ve had good luck with an early begin — it is a really particular place to need to your self.

a waterfall at Tanque Verde - one of the best hikes in Tucson Arizona

Desert Loop

  • Size: 1 mile loop
  • Problem: Straightforward
  • Day-use payment: $25
  • Pets: No

I’m a extremely large fan of studying about ecosystems that I hike through which is why I really like the Desert Loop positioned on the Sonoran Desert Museum.  This brief loop works its manner by means of a group of reveals, interpretive websites, and academic shows that give guests a crash course in what makes the Sonoran Desert such an fascinating and distinctive ecosystem.

Alongside your hike, you possibly can see bigger Sonoran animals like javelinas, coyotes, and mountain lions, or dip into one of many indoor reveals just like the reptile, amphibian, and invertebrate corridor to get an up-close have a look at a number of the smaller critters that run across the desert.

As you proceed across the loop make sure you look out for the informational plaques close to the cacti, bushes, and flowers that inform you all the pieces it’s essential to know in regards to the Sonoran’s plentiful assortment of flora.

dozens of people walking the Desert Loop trail in the Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson Arizona

Seven Falls Path 

  • Size: 8.2 miles out-and-back
  • Problem: Reasonable
  • Day-use payment: $8 day-use payment per car or a weekly $10 payment per car. Annual passes are additionally obtainable for $40 per car.
  • Pets: No

I’ve heard Seven Falls known as “essentially the most traditional hike in Tucson” and it isn’t arduous to see why. With 7 waterfalls and simply as many water crossings, the path provides a definite climbing expertise and has loads of alternatives to cease for a snack, picnic, or simply to marvel at how lovely the desert may be.

For the reason that path does require crossing the water, make sure you put on acceptable footwear. The crossings may be simpler within the drier months and require a bit extra of a balancing act when there’s extra water within the canyon.

a waterfall cascades down a red rock on the Seven Falls Trail in Tucson

Romero Canyon Path to Romero Swimming pools

  • Size: 5.4 miles out-and-back
  • Problem: Arduous
  • Day-use payment: $7/car. Guests coming into on foot or bicycle are $3.
  • Pets: No

It’s taken me a very long time to determine however I feel I really feel okay saying that the Santa Catalina Mountains are my favourite Tucson space vary. Catalina State Park sits on the base of the Catalinas and provides all the pieces from a fast stroll to multi-day backpacking. 

The Romero Canyon Path is a little bit of a climb however the swimming pools on the finish are value it, I promise. You’re handled to lovely canyon views the entire manner up together with views of the mountains. Components of the path is usually a little bit of a scramble so be sure you take your time.

saguaro cacti landscape with rocky mountains in the background on the Romero Canyon Trail in Tucson

Essential Observe: As with most desert places, climbing in Tucson throughout the hotter months may be harmful if you’re not ready. Earlier than leaving for the trailhead be sure you have at the least 2L of water per individual and that you’ve got ample solar safety.

Do you might have any favourite Tucson hikes that we missed or something so as to add about these trails?  Tell us within the feedback!

Discover the best Tucson hikes filled with saguaro cacti, petroglyphs, and waterfalls for your next Tucson hiking adventure.

Written by
Jono Melamed

Jono is a desert-dwelling artist, author, and designer that spends most of his time in a tiny purple pickup truck along with his canine, Leonard. The very first thing he remembers wanting in life was an olive. Subsequent, it was a canine. Then it was to go wherever and all over the place, a lot in order that his dad and mom needed to put up a fence to maintain him from wandering into site visitors. It’s been over three a long time and that also says most of what it’s essential to find out about him. You’ll be able to study extra about what Jono does on his web site or his Instagram.


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