Hiking clears the mind reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. The hikes in and around Tucson are well-maintained, popular, and safe. Whether you want to go alone or in a group, everybody has something. We take a look at some of the best hikes in Tucson, Arizona.
Best Hikes in Tucson
Rillito River Park
This trail runs on either side of the Rillito River. It has two parallel paths – the one fully paved, the other a soft surface for joggers and horse riders. On either side of the tracks are many shops and farmer’s markets for quick pull-offs.
All along the way of the Rillito River Park hike are restrooms, exercise stations, and drinking fountains. The trail is 12 miles long but has several parking places along the trail for easy access. There are beautiful mountain views. It is also a good trail for cyclists and skaters.
Tumamoc Hill is the most popular of all the “moderate” trails in Tucson. The degree of incline is what is challenging but being paved makes it easier. The steepest incline is the last section of half a mile.
The walk takes between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours. Another reason for choosing this trail could be the beautiful wildflowers. This trail is best between September and May and is suitable for hiking, walking, jogging, or just as a nature trip. Dogs are not allowed on the trail, neither are bicycles, skateboards, or skates.
Bridal Wreath Falls Trail
The Bridal Wreath Falls Trail is moderate and is 5.70 miles long. The trail is child friendly, but no dogs are allowed. The trail has both uphill and flat parts, ensuring that it is not boring and the views are good. Unfortunately, there are quite a lot of steps, which could be troublesome for some.
Another important aspect of this trail is that the waterfall only flows during the rainy season or snowmelt, after mid-July to the end of September. It is about 25 ft tall and has a lovely little pool at its base. The trail doesn’t offer much shade, so come prepared with sunscreen, hats, and water.
The Seven Falls trail is one of the most popular in Tucson. Most hikers would say apart from the last mile, it is easy and will take about four hours to complete. If you take the tram to the trailhead, the hike itself is 4.6 miles.
No dogs are allowed, but the trail is considered child friendly. It follows the stream, which you cross over several times. Beware of the flat rocks, as they can become slippery when wet.
The walls of the canyon are quite high, and the Falls themselves are amazing during the rainy months. Early March is a good time as there is plenty of water coming down otherwise, you may only find a few pools.
The hike is accessible all year round, with beautiful wildflowers and awesome scenery. Take snacks and refreshments to enjoy when you reach the waterfalls.
This difficult trail near Tucson is part of the Coronado National Forest and is approximately 6.5 miles long. The Blackett’s Ridge Trail is mostly used for hiking and nature trips as it features the most beautiful wildflowers and awesome views. It is accessible all year round, though the best months are from October to May.
The hike takes 2.5-3 hours and is not suitable for children or dogs. It is a good idea to wear shoes suitable for hiking as the trail is very rocky.
The last 1.7 miles makes the hike difficult, but the panoramic views of Tucson from the summit make it worth the while. There is not much shade on this trail, so drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
The Phoneline Trail is an easy 9-mile round trip. The name comes from a telephone line that is no longer in use. It is a very popular hike for families, hikers, and runners over the weekend. It is a gateway into the Sabino Canyon and follows along the side of the tram line.
Along the way, you will find nice shady areas where you can stop and take a break. Unfortunately, this trail is not dog friendly. Many people prefer to make this trail by taking the tram up and then hiking down. This cuts the trail to about 4 miles which takes 2 hours 40 minutes to complete.
The Butterfly Trail is one of the most popular difficult trails that is part of Mount Lemmon. This trail winds through various trees, plants, and stunning scenery and makes its way past the Novio Falls. This is a side trail to wreckage from a plane crash in 1957. There are also plenty of butterflies to be seen.
The round trip is about 11.5 miles and takes approximately 4 hours 26 minutes to complete. The trail is child and dog-friendly, but dogs must be on a leash. There is no fee or permit.
The hike is well shaded, and the best nature display is late Spring through Fall. There are no facilities to buy refreshments, so pack water and snacks.
Prickly Pear Gates Pass
On the other side of Sentinel Peak is Prickly Pear Gates Pass. This is an easy 2-mile loop trail. Prickly Pear Gates Pass takes an average of only 51 mins to complete and is popular for hiking and walking. The trail is clearly marked and good for all ages. The trail connects to other trails, so make sure to keep to the right path.
Many bikers also use this trail. The hike is short but very hot as there is no shade. Pack plenty of water, a hat, and sunscreen. Unfortunately, no dogs are allowed. It is open all year round but is best between the cooler months of September and April. Bird watching, awesome views, and wildflowers are features of this trail.
Ventana means ‘window’ in Spanish, and the hiking trail is a moderate round trip to Maiden Pools of 4.8 miles or to The Window of 12.3 miles. The Window is a 15 by 25-foot opening in the solid rock face.
It is enjoyable, but the uphill stretch can be challenging. The trail follows a stream most of the way, which has water in the spring and early summer. You cross the creek several times, so you may get your feet wet. Hiking to Maiden Pools is for those who are in good shape – those who are really fit can continue to The Window.
Sheer canyon walls, views of Tucson, and the beauty of the Santa Catalina Mountain Range are amazing. It also provides good birdwatching. No dogs or mountain bikes are allowed.
The length of this round trail in Coronado National Forest is 3.3 miles. The Leopold Point hike is easy and very popular with beginners. One follows the trail through pine trees, boulders, and various other vegetation. There are places along the trail where you can stop to drink water or enjoy a snack.
If time permits, explore the surrounding areas. When you reach Leopold Point, take in the views of Mount Wrightson and Green Mountain. The trail is child and dog-friendly, and bikers are also allowed. No fee or permit is required. Be prepared for winds and cooler weather as you gain elevation.
Tucson has some marvelous hikes and trails for both visitors and locals. Ranging from easy for beginners to heart-pumping difficult ones for experienced hikers, they are all challenging and enjoyable.
These are some of the best hikes in Tucson, offering exquisite scenery and enough variety to suit all moods.
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Amar was born and raised in England and embarked on an 11-country round-the-world gap year after graduation and then became well and truly hooked. The first gap year inspired a second, which ended up being a 23-country down-the-world trip from Canada to Antarctica. Since then, Amar has spent the last 14 years traveling the 7 continents.