The trickiest part about compiling a list of places to hike in Tucson is limiting it to a mere five. Tucson is surrounded by mountains, and the number of hiking trails is almost limitless. But hard-pressed to choose, here are five amazing trails that are not to be missed:
1. Tumamoc Hill
This one is quick, but fairly steep; a paved road takes hikers up to 730 foot elevation. The hill’s location within the city makes it the perfect spot to overlook all of Tucson. This is also one of the only trails that allows night-hiking, making it perfect for watching the sunrise or better yet, face the west and view Tucson’s legendary sunset. With the unsurpassed scenery of the Sonoran Desert, the view will be exceptional no matter what time of day (or night) you choose to venture on this climb.
2. Mount Lemmon- Meadow Loop
Mount Lemmon is the highest peak of the Santa Catalina Mountains, which dominate the northern landscape of Tucson. Meadow Loop is one of the many, many hikes that occupy Tucson. This green little hike forks off of the Mt. Lemmon trail and offers superb views overlooking Tucson and Oro Valley. If you’re looking to beat the heat, Meadow Loop can be a great escape.
3. Sabino Canyon
It’s one of the most-visited outdoor sites in Tucson, Sabino Canyon is an easy trail that many beginners get their start on. There’s a visitors center on site for plenty of souvenirs and guide for your trip, but the real treasure is the trail itself, which offers beautiful views of Sabino Canyon and the surrounding Sonoran Desert. You can stay on the maintained and paved road or take venture down some of the other paths for a bit more of a challenge.
4. Bear Canyon to Seven Falls
So while you’re in Sabino Canyon, you may want to see this! Located by the Sabino Canyon visitor center, this path runs parallel to the main Sabino Canyon trail. A lovely stream actually flows through the area, and the trail criss-crosses over it several times as you make your way to the breathtaking Seven Falls. Seven Falls is an astounding seven-tiered waterfall in the middle of the desert. A Southern Arizona must-see.
5. Mount Wrightson- Old Baldy Trail
Ready to get elevated? Welcome to the highest peak in the Santa Ritas, and the highest peak in Tucson. This trail is a steep climb up the majestic Mount Wrightson that offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Southwest. Though the hike is difficult, the landscape is well worth the strain as you make your way to the beautiful summit that overlooks Madera Canyon. Although this hike is beautiful year-round, if you go during the winter, prepare for ice and snow at the top!