Hiking Around Tucson

Tucson, AZ

Since New Year’s Day we have been doing some fairly easy hikes in the Tucson area.  Twice we went out to the Robles Pass area of Tucson Mountain Park, where there are a number of trails that can be combined for a hike of any length.  For one of the hikes we parked on the north side of the Ajo (A Ho) Highway and hiked through a storm drain under the highway.

We spotted a nice Crested Saguaro while on the 360 View Trail.

Along the Ledge Surfer Trail we stopped to check out the ruins of an old stone house located near the trail.

Later in the week, after a day of rain, we drove east of the city to the Douglas Springs Trailhead in the eastern section of Saguaro National Park, for a hike up to the Bridal Wreath Falls.  One website described this as an easy hike, suitable for an inexperienced hiker looking to see if they would enjoy hiking.  But we found this trail to be more of a moderate hike, as it gains over a thousand feet of elevation in less than two miles..

More water than normal due to the recent rains

There is normally just a trickle of water coming down the falls but we could hear the roar of water as we approached it.

At the base of the falls we found the water flow to be very strong.

Along the trail on the return hike the nimble hiker’s keen eyes spotted an unusual Crested Saguaro just below the trail.

After two days of cold temperatures, overcast skies, and heavy rain, today dawned cool but sunny.  We took advantage of the sun to return to Saguaro National Park and hike a series of trails beginning at the Broadway Trailhead.  Snow on the Catalina Mountains to our north and the Rincon Mountains to our east provided great scenic views.

Palm trees and snowy mountains?

The Catalina Mountains

After hiking we stopped at a local coffee chain on Broadway for our reward.  We found this shop has one of the best views we have ever found in our many “coffee house” experiences.

Enjoying a coffee with the Catalina Mountains in the distanced

Originally we had planned to drive south last week to Naco, a small town right on the Mexican border near Bisbee to meet Dave and Sue and enjoy two weeks of touring and playing golf at the course adjacent to the RV park.  But with the strong forecast of rain for the week we decided to stay in Tucson during the bad weather.  With a prediction of sunshine each day in the upcoming week, tomorrow we’ll break camp and head south to meet Dave and Sue for a shortened visit to the Naco/Bisbee area.

More on that later . . .

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31 Responses to Hiking Around Tucson

  1. Love the Saguaro and the beautiful hiking photos but that storm drain looks creepy!

    • placestheygo says:

      It was very creepy especially since you couldn’t tell what was inside. I didn’t see the inside clearly til we got home and I looked at the photo. But we knew people used it to get from the trails on the north side to the south side…lots of bike tracks.

  2. harleyhawk43 says:

    We just left Tucson after a 2 month stay. We are now at South Mesa section of the BLM LTVA at Imperial Dam. We are in our 6th year of full timing. Our first year, 2010-2011, when we took the big plunge, is documented in our book, “Hawk and Red Fox-Modern Day Gypsies”, available at the link below and on Amazon.

    http://www.nstarsolutions.com/store/home.php?provider=harleyhawk

    • placestheygo says:

      We are in our sixth year of fulltiming, also! Clever idea to record everything in a book. That first year was so full of firsts in so many situations. We’ll be in Tucson for a little over two months by the time we leave. We both really enjoy the city.

  3. Ingrid says:

    I love stumbling upon old buildings. There’s a sense of history and wonder in the old stones. The desert can be fascinating after a rain storm. It seems to come alive as it sucks in all that wanted moisture. Hope you enjoy plenty of nice golfing weather with dear friends!

    • placestheygo says:

      I agree, Ingrid, about the feeling when we come upon an old structure. It’s fun to imagine what happened in the location so many years prior. I’m anxious to see the desert changes when we return in a week after they have several days of sun after all the rain. I am hoping to see lots of ocotillo with green leaves:) I’m sure we’ll get plenty of golf in as soon as the remainder of the snow melts tomorrow:)

  4. Love that you are hiking some new-to-you trails in a place you visited a few times! I remember seeing that block house ruins as we drive down the Ajo Hwy!

    • placestheygo says:

      We have really enjoyed the Robles Pass section. Each turn has the map of the area with where you are marked. So much nicer than TMP with no signs. New trails are always a fun adventure:)

  5. You certainly do manage to find those crested saguaros.
    Enjoy the sunshine this week!

    • placestheygo says:

      I must say that, Gayle, that we have been quite lucky and found a crested saguaro on every hike but the Romero Pools (There aren’t any there). We are so looking forward to some sunshine and warmer temps:) Thanks!

  6. Gay says:

    I have made notes…your new to you trails will be new to us trails as well! Love the crested saguaro you always seem to find.

    Hopefully the weather will improve here and in Arizona…enjoy!

    • placestheygo says:

      Gay, bring up the map for Tucson Mountain Park and the Robles Pass section in the southeastern section is there. I like that the map includes all the mileage. This section is very well signed. The trails have only been open for a couple years so we were almost always alone. Since they are mainly biking trails, none of them are too difficult. You and Joe will enjoy them:) Yes, it is time for some better weather after last week.

  7. Jim and Barb says:

    The old buildings are very cool! We saw a crested saguaro the other day but were 4 wheeling with a group and did not stop to take a picture but we thought of you!

    • placestheygo says:

      You need to have a talk with your 4 wheeling group and make them understand the importance of documenting these crested saguaro. But I am glad you did pass a thought my way as you drove by:) Keep looking!!

  8. pmbweaver says:

    Pinned all your hikes. I don’t think we have done any of them.

    How can one person say a trail is for beginners, and you two (HIGHLY-experienced hikers) say it is moderate? I go with your assessment! I think we would really enjoy the Douglas Springs hike, but I think I will check the website first to be sure the small creeks aren’t roaring rivers…hehe

    You, Miss Pam, are the Queen of the Saguaro. I just love these strange, beautiful ones you found this time round. They are so dang cool to look at. My jealous bone is giving me fits…hehe

    Love, love, love the palm trees and mountain photo. What a super shot. How in the world did God think of all this beauty in one place. I am constantly amazed.

  9. Laurel says:

    Yeah, I would say 1000 feet of elevation gain in less than 2 miles doesn’t qualify as an “easy” hike! I would love to do that Bridal Wreath Falls trail when there’s water flowing. You’ve discovered some hikes we’ve never heard of — but that’s not unusual for you two. 🙂 And of course, you’re finding some absolutely amazing crested saguaro beauties wherever you go!

    • placestheygo says:

      Laurel, I went back to the website that described the Bridal Wreath Falls hike and several people said this wasn’t an easy hike and the person must have confused the hike with another. I would say for the average hiker this was a moderate hike. After a rain is definitely the time to do this hike.

      The Robles Pass area that we have been hiking is only a couple years old. My TMP map from two years ago has the section marked by no trials. Now it is full of great trails and no people! They even have very nice maps at every turn.

  10. P.J. says:

    We’re in Tucson now. Hubby wants to hike more. I’m waiting til it’s a bit warmer. Enjoy the weather.

    • placestheygo says:

      This week should be perfect hiking weather in Tucson. We were out yesterday with the low 50’s and partly cloudy in shorts. I even had to take my sweatshirt off. We arrived in Naco today to what feels much like winter. Snow in places and grey sky…brrr! Should be nice all week though with sun and high 50’s.

  11. Sherry says:

    I am amazed at your crested saguaro radar! Those were both beautiful. Finding one on every hike makes you a professional saguaro scout in my book. Looks like the rain is everywhere at this point. We can’t get it to quit in Florida. Seems to have made your hike even more interesting.

  12. I’ve been in the desert for over a month and has yet to find a crested saguaro! Like what Sherry said, your crested saguaro radar are full functioning.
    Can’t wait for you guys to come back and then we can or you can show me all your crested beauties.
    I sure hope the sun will come out tomorrow for Tee time.

    • placestheygo says:

      We will definitely go on some hikes to see crested saguaro:) I can’r wait!

      We woke to a beautiful sunny sky this morning:) It is suppose to be 50 so that should take away the last little bits of snow here. And that is a great temp for walking with a golf bag on your back:)

  13. Jodee Gravel says:

    I’m starting to suspect you carry a cactus-morphing-ray-gun in your backpack and make your own cresteds on each hike! And you do such a nice job of making them so pretty 🙂 Love the snowy mountain vistas – a beautiful background to these great hikes.

    • placestheygo says:

      Okay, you figure me out, Jodee:) Glad you appreciate my hard work…haha! I must say that I am quite spoiled and expect a to find a crested saguaro every hike. The mountains are so pretty with the snow:)

  14. debbiemc14 says:

    Nice trails. Anxious to get out there some more. Just got to Quartzite area and wandered about the desert a bit but looking for some elevation.

  15. geogypsy2u says:

    Flowing water in the desert is such a special treat, if it’s not flash flooding that is. Those crested saguaros are so uniquely different you’d think they’d be easy to spot but I still haven’t seen one. Can I borrow your radar? Enjoy the hopefully warmer weather. I’m looking forward to some in less than a week.

    • placestheygo says:

      Luckily for us, the water was flowing just right for crossing streams. I’m sure the day prior and days after were a very different story while it was raining hard. Once you spot one crested saguaro it seems to turn the radar on. It is usually a large, wide dark area that grabs me first. Many times it is just a tight group of arms, but that is what draws my attention. We finally had a beautiful sunny day yesterday with no clouds. Still a little cool but with no wind it was a nice day on the golf course and each day will get warmer this week:)

  16. Nancy says:

    Neat trail. And the crested saguaros are in their glory!
    And how we love to come across old ruins. You just want to sit and ponder and wonder what the people did that lived there. How did they survive?
    And the storm drain… so cool but yet creepy!
    But those mountains with the snow… FABULOUS!

    • placestheygo says:

      The storm drain was a little creepy. I didn’t know what the inside looked liked til we got home and I saw the photo. I just kept my head way down and hoped there wasn’t a snake on the ground. I feel the same way when we come upon the ruins of a structure. Your mind can’t help but create a picture for what it must have been like back in the day. Your area is full of crested saguaro. I hope you are keeping a look out:)

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