One of the perks of living in Tucson, Arizona is that for much of the year the weather is perfect for spending time outdoors. Tucson is also home to some of the best hiking trails in the state.
When you find yourself yearning for some time with mother nature, here are five great hiking trails near Tucson, listed in order from easiest to most difficult.
Tumamoc Hill is located immediately west of Tucson’s famous “A” Mountain. This is a paved trail that is three miles round-trip. Once you have reached the top, you will not be disappointed with the beautiful views of the city below. Hikers will also enjoy the local wildlife that is often seen while on the trail. The trail is closed from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday because of the University of Arizona research station, located at the end of the trail, which studies different concepts in ecology and other scientific topics. You should also keep in mind that pets are not allowed to enter due to the studies being conducted on the surrounding wildlife. According to the Tumamoc Hill official website, “some well-traveled walkers even claim Tumamoc is the best walk in all North America.” There is no charge to hike this mountain. If you are looking for a beginner’s trail that offers amazing views of the city and the nature that surrounds it, Tumamoc Hill is a great place to go.
David Yetman Trail
This trail is named for famous research social scientist David Yetman. It is a short drive to the west of Tucson. The David Yetman Trail is considered an easy to moderate hike. It runs through a beautiful, saguaro-rich valley and up over the mountains near Gates Pass and part of the Tucson Mountain Park system. Approaching from the east you can start at either the Starr Pass Resort or from the parking lot at the southern end Camino de Oeste after it crosses Speedway. Approaching from the west you can start at the trailhead in the parking lot at the bottom of Gates Pass on the Desert Museum side of the mountain. For details and a map of Trails in Tucson Mountain Park, visit the Pima County website. The trail is around 12 miles if you take it to the end and back. However, if you aren’t sure you are up to a full 12 miles, you can have someone pick you up at the end of the trail to shorten it to around six miles. This trail is perfect for that person looking to get away from the city and find serene isolation in the gorgeous desert. David Yetman Trail is accessible to horses.
Tanque Verde Falls
Tanque Verde Falls is a short 1.8-mile, intermediate hike with a 100-foot elevation gain. It runs through flat terrain, over steep boulders and across five waterfalls that range in size from around 20 to 100 feet in height. In the rainy season, the “main waterfall” at the end of the trail is remarkable, however, you will want to pay attention to the weather and watch for flash flood warnings as this area can become very dangerous. Most people who make the journey will tell you that the rewards are worth the risk as this trail hosts some of the best views of nature available in Tucson. The trail offers a little something for everyone; people can relax and listen to the calmness of the running water, or take amazing photographs, and more adventurous hikers will have fun jumping from the cliffs* into the pools of waterfalls below. (*jump at own risk) We must warn that even though the hike is considered intermediate, it is also one of the more dangerous places to hike in Tucson, mainly because of the weather and slippery conditions. As with any hike you should use caution.
The Seven Falls trail, located at Sabino Canyon, is one of the most popular hiking trails in Tucson. You can expect to get your feet wet on this intermediate hike through the gorgeous Bear Canyon. At the beginning, in the main parking lot of Sabino Canyon, you have the option to pay a small fee to take a tram to the Seven Falls trailhead, or you could walk the two miles. The trail is two and a half miles one way, five miles round trip, so depending on your experience, the tram may be appealing. In the two and a half miles you will ascend roughly 917 feet through many different types of desert wilderness and experience amazing views. The waterfalls at the end of the trail are an amazing reward for the uphill trek. Be prepared to spend some time at the falls once you have reached them. According to the Outbound Collective, “water cascades down the granite cliffs into clear pools that you can relax around, and swim or wade into. The hike takes about 3 hours round trip and it is recommended to bring at least 1 quart of water per person.”
Finger Rock Trail
The Finger Rock trail is in Catalina State Park just north of town. It is considered one of the most difficult hikes in Tucson. The trail is a little over eight miles and leads you up around 4,000 feet in elevation, offering incredible views of the Catalina mountains. The Finger Rock Canyon gets its unique name because of the rock formation that resembles a hand closed in a fist with the index finger extended as if making the “No.1” sign. It is a difficult hike as it can be narrow and steep and will require a little rock climbing as well. Nature lovers will love the amazing views of Tucson’s flora and fauna ranging from saguaro cacti to pine trees!
At Accurate Service, we value the community we are a part of. We hope you enjoy using this list of five of the amazing hikes that Tucson, Arizona has to offer.