The nimble hiker has been busy planning hikes during our last week here in Tucson. So Monday and Tuesday were a bit busy as we completed two from her list. The first was a six mile hike on the El Camino Del Cerro Trail on the east side of Saguaro National Park West. The trailhead is very easy to find, just exit I-10 north of Tucson on to El Camino Del Cerro Road and follow it west. The road ends in the parking area at the trailhead.
We combined a number of trails to create a six mile lollipop route ( a route that takes you out a trail, around a loop, then back the same trail like a lollipop shape —-O). We started on the Thunderbird Trail then completed a loop on the Cactus Canyon, Coyote Pass, and Gila Monster Trails.
It wasn’t long before we spotted a Crested Saguaro just off the trail.
Wildlife is a bit difficult to spot in the desert, so we were surprise to spot a small heard of deer during our hike.
Spring is beginning to show itself in the Sonora Desert. Even the Ocotillo are beginning to bloom.
Driving back out from the trailhead through a neighborhood we spotted two Crested Saguaros in yards almost right across the street from each other.
The next day we drove about thirty miles to the north for a hike in the Tortolita Mountains. The trailhead is located in a parking area near the
We did this hike last year and enjoyed it so much we decided to repeat it. The hike begins by hiking the Wild Burro Trail for about a mile. This section of the hike is very flat as it winds up a dry wash.
After about a half mile we turned to the west and hiked up into the mountains on the Upper Javalina Trail. Soon we turned on to the Wild Mustang Trail and then returned to the trailhead on the Wild Burro Trail for a total of about eight and a half miles.
Of course, what would a hike in the Sonora Desert be without a Crested Saguaro?
As we approached the highest point on the trail it was obvious that we were approaching the maximum altitude for Saguaros (we were approaching four thousand feet) as most of them were struggling to survive.
With the approach of Spring the colors of the desert were beginning to appear.
Once back on the Wild Burro Trail the trail was flat except for two sections where the trail had to go up and around then down past high pour-overs (waterfalls when there is significant rainfall). Both areas have steep elevation changes and the trail is very rough.
If you do this hike we recommend hiking the loop in a clockwise direction. That way you have the best part of the trail early in the hike and the boring part in the wash at the end when you are tired and focused on the end, not the scenery.
We finished hiking but we still had two Crested Saguaros to check out. The first is right next to the parking area.
The second is a giant one located on a side road just south of Ina Road. This guy is impressive!
Ok, fifteen miles in two days! Let’s hope the nimble hiker has a day off built into the schedule to rest tired legs. But she eyeballed the bicycles as we got out of the Jeep at the motorhome, so who knows what tomorrow will bring!