Andres’s Guide to Hiking in Tucson

13 Mar

Not only can hiking be good for your physical health, but for me, it is a great way to clear my mind of all my worries and enjoy nature. If you are staying in Tucson for spring break, I highly recommend checking out some of the great hiking spots that Tucson has to offer. When people hear about hiking in Tucson, they usually think about how hot it can get in the city. While there are ton of hikes in desert biomes surrounding us, there are also a variety of great places to go that are sure to be much cooler than it is in the city.

The first step in getting ready to hike in Tucson is to get prepared. I will guide you through the steps to make sure you are prepared:water slide thingy.jpgBut really, I have definitely been in situations where I didn’t have enough water and it ruined the experience. I personally recommend bringing a camel pack if you have one as it is extremely convenient. Also don’t limit yourself to only bringing water. Have a plan for food, whether it be just some trail mix to give you some boosted energy, or some homemade sandwiches to celebrate the end of the hike.Cholla pic.jpg You see that fuzzy looking cactus… that is a teddy bear cholla aka jumping cactus (the easily detachable pads cling to skin and clothes pretty well, definitely a dude to keep an eye out for). These guys are not fun to deal with (trust me I know) so pants are always recommended. The long sleeve vs short sleeve debate is really up to the person. Long sleeves can definitely help fight against sunburn, but you might get a little hot, so this is a preference-based choice. Lastly a hat is highly recommended for  desert hikes as the sun can be pretty obnoxious when you are hiking a trail. Hikes like Madera Canyon or Mt. Lemon are a little different because the biomes are cooler in general and definitely have less cactus. In such a case what you wear can be a little more lax.


Obviously a compass might be a little outdated with GPS and all, but make sure you know the area you are going to and have some way to navigate, whether its a map or someone who has been on the trail before. Other than that, walking sticks are useful multi-purpose tools. Other than the basics, there are no guidelines for what is considered too prepared.

Now that we are prepared, lets talk about our options for where we are going to hike. The best part about the Tucson area is that there is diversity in the types of hikes you can take… a lot of variety. We will split it up into two sections, desert based hikes and forest based hikes.

Desert Based Hikes

Sabino Canyon.jpgSabino Canyon is my first pick as is one of my favorite picks. There are multiple trails available ranging from beginner trails all the way to advanced. The Seven Falls Trail is definitely a treat (top right pic) as the end of the hike greats you with beautiful waterfalls. If you plan on taking a trip down to Seven Falls do know that it is moderate in difficulty and is a total round trip of 8.2 miles. I definitely recommend starting this hike early in the morning to skip out on the Tucson sun.

Gates Pass.jpgGates Pass is a lot easier to hike. This place is great for evening hikes because it is well known for its beautiful view of sunsets. Not to mention its relatively close by (roughly 20 minute drive from campus). I would definitely recommend this hike to people looking for a peaceful quiet evening.

Forest Hikes

Madera Canyon.jpgI have been to Madera Canyon countless times. I personally like it because its not in the desert so it is significantly cooler. It is a great place to have a picnic and then hike it off by walking along the stream that flows down the canyon.

Mt Lemmon.jpgLast but not least, Mt Lemmon. This place is great as its huge and there are countless hikes, places to venture. Rose Canyon  is the bottom right picture and is a fun place to hang out, fish, or simply relax. Even the drive up there is nice because of the great view of Tucson. Honestly.

I hope that I was able to help spark some interest in the hiking spots near Tucson. There are many more places to hike but these are definitely my top four spots. Anyways hope you enjoyed my guide and hopefully you find yourself at one of these spots this spring break.


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