Top 10: Best Hiking Trails

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Tucson is home to some amazing hiking trails. Head out in almost any direction, and you can find a meandering path through the desert or a strenuous journey that is more rock climbing than hiking.

Because there are so many choices in Tucson, it might be hard to choose which trail to head down. Here is a handy guide with a little description of my favorite trails in Tucson.

WARNING: Many of these trails have water features that can be a problem during monsoon

season. Always be aware of flash flood warnings.

10.Tumamoc Hill makes my list because it is such a Tucson staple. A well-maintained paved trailleads up the hill and provides a great view of the Tucson skyline. It won’t take you long to reach the end so don’t plan this as a day trip. Be sure to go after dark or around dusk to catch an amazing view of Tucson’s night sky.

9.If you want to get out of the desert environment, go up to the top of Mount Lemmon and hike Butterfly. Tall green trees flank the trail, and there are a handful of offshoots for you to wander down. Be careful of the elevation change, though. You may find yourself out of breath more often than normal.

8.Hikers! Bikers! Horses! You are likely to find all three when you go to Sweetwater. Multiple trails wander through this desert preserve so you can hike to your heart’s content. Trails rage from novice to moderate. This is a great place to pack a picnic to and spend the day out in nature.

7.This is a great trail for experienced hikers. After a short descent into a rocky wash, hikers travel up the 1.6-mile canyon to a small pool and waterfall. To call it a trail is more than exaggeration. The path is rough and requires a lot of climbing over rocky areas with slippery facades. This is also a great place to take your dog for a day of adventure and play.

6.Here’s a classic Tucson hike that anyone can try. An 8-mile paved trail leads up the canyon showing off unique rock features. If you are lucky, you might see the river running. Be warned, though, when there is water, sections tend to flood. Avoid wearing shoes you care about if there is a chance of water. This is a nice hike to take with anybody who might have difficulty hiking but still loves getting outdoors.

5.Heading north off the Molino Basin trailhead, hikers find a quiet section of the Arizona Trail. The trail heads north all the way through Arizona, so the hike doesn’t have a set distance. You will go from a lush creek bed to the rocky peaks of the Santa Catalinas. Reaching the peak gives you a wide view of the back of the mountain range. Be sure to look out for the small pile of rocks that hikers add to.

4.This hike is perfect for novices who are looking for a great day trip. The trailhead is located inside Palo Verde Ranch in the Reddington area. The 16-mile round trip slowly winds its way into the Santa Catalina Mountains showing off fantastic views of the area. Hikers looking for a “sample platter” of what Tucson has to offer should consider this trail.

3.Romero Pools has some of the best water features in a Tucson hike. The full hike is a 12-mile round trip and fairly difficult. Be sure to bring a swimsuit, though. The numerous pools along the hike are perfect for a quick dip to cool off. Some pools are even deep enough to dive into. Be sure to be careful about flash flooding, though. The area is quite dangerous during monsoon season.

2.The 45-minute drive is absolutely worth it. Taking Hunter Trail offers a difficult 5-mile round trip hike with a lot of  elevation change and some extreme vertical sections. I would not recommend this to any novice hikers. The sight at the peak is breathtaking. If you can make it to the top, you are treated to a wonderful view. If you are an experienced hiker who is looking for a challenging day trip, this is the hike for you.

1.You can hardly talk about Tucson hiking without bringing up Seven Falls. It’s a full 16-mile round trip, so be sure to bring water and plan for the day. Wonderful views, beautiful trails and a majestic waterfall are all drawing points of this trail. To be honest, there isn’t much to complain about this trail. It is usually crowded, but the trail is wide enough so that this never becomes a problem. Novice to expert hikers can enjoy this verdant gem hidden in Sabino Canyon.

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