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2-3 days of day hikes in Tucson area?

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Toronto, Canada
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for Algonquin Provincial Park
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2-3 days of day hikes in Tucson area?

Arriving next month and I have about 3 days for day hikes (no camping), long or short moderate-strenuous preferably getting away from most people, good photos etc. Should I do Saguaro NP (east or west) or Coronado Forest or all 3? Suggestions for specific trails or other areas??? I'll fill the day from sunrise to sunset! Hotels to crash nearby?

Marina, California
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1. Re: 2-3 days of day hikes in Tucson area?

Hotels depends on your price range and preferences.

For hikes, the majority of the more accessible hikes are in the Coronado National Forest Santa Catalina Ranger District. Many begin north of the city, at trailhead parking lots at the end of roads. Pima Canyon would be my first choice, but it's better to do that one on a weekday so as to avoid the crowds. Ventana Canyon is also another good option, with the reward of the Maiden Pools a few miles in (too cold to wade at this time of year though, obviously) and the actual "ventana" a few more miles up. That should also be done on a weekday or starting early in the morning. If you're looking for something more strenuous, you can try Finger Rock Canyon. All of these hikes are part of an inter-connected system, so you just have to pick a place to stop and turn around. There is no real endpoint.

If you like an endpoint though, there's a rewarding hike starting at Sabino Canyon (far northeast side of town, requires a $5 entrance fee for parking) called Blackett's Ridge. Not too strenuous or long, but you get some fantastic views.

Saguaro East has a number of very good hikes, but a few of the trails require many miles of dirt roads or are backpacking trails. You can try Douglas Spring, which starts at the east end of Speedway Boulevard. Nice hike but relatively easy. It's very pretty though. And, again, there is no real endpoint. You can trudge the 6+ miles one-way to the campground and back in one day (I did this once, including the side trip to Bridal Veil Falls, and it took me about 6 hours).

Saguaro West only has a couple of hiking trails. The best hike is up to Wasson Peak. There are two starting points, but it's really best to start on the less crowded east side, at the end of El Camino del Cerro. Nice hike, a bit strenuous (especially at the end), but very rewarding views at the top.

You should also know that the national park trails in Saguaro are open to both horses and hikers while the national forest trails are hikers only. There are also some trails in Tucson Mountain Park (run by the county) which allow both mountain bikes and hikers (that gets annoying).

A couple of notes about hiking here: dress in layers, as the temperature typically differs at least 10C from the high of the day; bring at least a liter of water for yourself but, if you're going more than about 7 miles one-way, I would take more; there is no potable water or even a reliable water source on any trail in Southeastern Arizona; you should never go off-trail for fear of getting lost and running into rattlesnakes (large population in the desert, and very dangerous); javelinas are also a danger in certain areas, especially around sunset (just don't approach them); black bears and cougars exist in the Catalinas, but are extremely rare to see; carry some food with you, just in case.

Hope that gets you started.

Tucson
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2. Re: 2-3 days of day hikes in Tucson area?

There are a lot of hikes posted at http://www.localhikes.com/MSA/MSA_8520.asp

I like Romero Pools a lot, but there are usually some people on it. Wasson Peak and Finger Rock are both good ones, as the previous poster mentioned. If you're crazy, Mt. Wrightston is good.

Marina, California
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3. Re: 2-3 days of day hikes in Tucson area?

Mount Wrightson has the "Super" trail which seems to be used mostly by the same sort of people who jog up and down the Grand Canyon: 4000' elevation gain in 4.5 miles. There's a "regular" trail up that does that same elevation climb in double the distance. But Mount Wrightson has a good chance of being snowed in in January.

This is the site I've been using for a few years, written by the Sierra Club folks: …sierraclub.org/trail_guide/WINTNDX.HTM

4. Re: 2-3 days of day hikes in Tucson area?

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