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Need help with hikes for next week!

NC
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Need help with hikes for next week!

I've been busy at work and living on 5-6 hrs sleep a night for the past couple of weeks and we're flying out tomorrow at 6PM. I've collected lists of hikes I'm interested in and I've got links to hiking info but I haven't had time to research timing or location to see which ones would fit into our schedule. I'm hoping Colin or somebody else can help me out with some specific trails then I can look up details. I'm especially worried about Sun since we have that whole day free and I know I'll be too busy to do much research before then.

We start early (although sometimes you have to wait until later to get good views on canyon trails) and can handle 10-12 miles in a day with 3000-3500' elevation gain. It would be nice to get a good variety in there. Any trails we should avoid or seek out because it's been too dry or wet? There are too many place on our To See list so we don't plan on coming back so I don't to make the most of our trip.

Here's when we have open for hiking

Sun 2/19 Open all day

Tue 2/21 Sonoma Dessert Museum/ West SNP/Gate’s Pass Rd

Any hikes we should consider for West SNP?

Wed 2/22 Hiking in Sabino Canyon but we have Sky Nights this day so we HAVE to be at the top of Mt Lemmon by 3:30 at the latest or we will be locked out.

Thur 2/24 My husband has been been telling everyone at work that we're gong to the rodeo so we're considering going to adult session that runs from 2-4:30. If we can fit a hike in the morning and make it to the rodeo in the afternoon, that would be great. Or if there is an awesome hike that we really need to do and can't fit elsewhere, we'd consider bailing on the rodeo.

Fri 2/24 We're open to an AM hike but we have to be cleaned up and in Scottsdale by 3:00

Thanks!

NC
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1. Re: Need help with hikes for next week!

PS. we're staying at La Quinta Tucson East near Broadway and Wilmot

Marina, California
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2. Re: Need help with hikes for next week!

The "Sonoma Dessert Museum" sounds delicious! Probably mostly pastries and cakes made with wine.

Realize that the Desert Museum is quite a bit of walking in itself, and most of it is exposed, in the sun. If you really want to hike after all of that, I would suggest you go up the road to near the Saguaro National Park visitors center and start on the Hugh Norris Trail toward Wasson Peak. Very pretty.

The last morning, you can try to start the Douglas Spring Trail, which begins at the end of Speedway Blvd. There's a good ascension of an eastern ridge, so the sun won't be in your face at the beginning (and it will be much cooler), but it will be on your back as you walk down. You can easily make it to the Bridal Wreath Falls (probably no water) and back before 3pm. If you do that trail, I would arrange with the La Quinta to leave your stuff at the hotel because the Douglas Spring trailhead parking lot has seen break-ins in the past.

Hope that helps.

NC
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3. Re: Need help with hikes for next week!

LOL.. Thanks Colin. I guess my sweet tooth took over the keyboard. My tagline used to be Life is short. Eat dessert first.

On Friday we have to be back in Scottsdale by 3, not LaQuinta. I know that that is an out and back trail so we can go as far as we want but would you still recommend it if we only had say 4 hrs? The notes I had form someone was that it took 6 hrs to get to the falls.

For Sabino canyon I found a post where someone recommended a hike they did - Bear Canyon Trail pass Seven Falls, East Fork, then Sabino Canyon trail back to the last tram stop. 12 miles 5 ½ hrs

Do you think we could do that and make it to Mt Lemmon by 3:30? If we're running out of time can we get back to a tram or something or are we committed to doing the whole way? Would we be better off doing several shorter hikes?

vcv
Tennessee
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4. Re: Need help with hikes for next week!

I hiked part of the Hugh Norris trail after visiting the Sonora Desert Museum--it's a very nice trail--I turned around at the saddle where another trail intersects.

I also enjoyed Ventana Canyon (Colin's recommendation). I liked it much better than Sabino Canyon, which was extremely crowded, tho we didn't do the Bear Canyon Trail--maybe it's not so popular as the Phoneline Trail.

The Tourist office sells a passport attraction booklet (2 admissions for the price of one to almost all the Tucson attractions); last year, it cost only 50 cents more than 2 adult admissions to the S. D. M., so if you went there and to just one other place, you'd save money.

We stayed at LaQuinta too and drove out to the East S. N. P. for short walks every morning. We did one short and easy ranger walk, which focused on the various types of cactuses (cacti?) in the park--it was very good.

Try to see the sunset at Gates' Pass.

Edited: 1:35 pm, February 16, 2012
NC
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5. Re: Need help with hikes for next week!

Thanks for the hiking tips vcv! I just looked at the weather and it's cold, although it's perfect for hiking!

Tucson, Arizona
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6. Re: Need help with hikes for next week!

Weather shouldn't be too much of a factor. Had a bit of rain/snow this week, but not enough to impact any hiking. It's supposed to be a bit cool through Tuesday with some clouds. Hope it clears up for you by Wednesday night for your Sky Nights.

For Sunday I'd suggest the Romero Pools hike in Catalina State Park. Since that is on the opposite side of town from where you're staying and you have the whole day that would be a good day to do that hike.

NC
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7. Re: Need help with hikes for next week!

Thanks for all the tips. I was planning to hike Pima canyon and then go up to Romero Pools in Catalina State Park but it took us 5 hours to hike Pima Canyon to the dam at the back of the canyon. Apparently there are multiple dams??? We passed a couple of places with pools of water but only saw the dam at the top. It was a nice hike and I was surprised that we saw so many wildflowers this early. Lots of Brittlebush (?). We usually hike pretty close to the estimated times but we had to stop to find the trail several times and there were a lot of large rocks on the trail that took a long time with my bad knees. Thank goodness I brought my poles.

Since that took so long we decided to go into town and walk the Presidio Trail instead. We head west from the visitor's center. Maybe it was better in the other direction but about 1/3 of the way around we decided to cut our loses and walk back to the car and drive to Mission San Xaiver del Bac before they closed at 5. Then we decided to drive the 8 mile loop drive the 8 mile loop drive in Saguaro NP East before sunset. The range at the entrance said they close the gate at sunset and then do a sweep so we went to the far side and found a place to park near a clearing where we could watch and then we headed out about 10 min after sunset.

We had planned to go to the Sonora Desert Museum this morning and thand then Night Sky en hike the Hugh Norris Trail to Wasson Peak but after Pima Canyon, I was afraid we wouldn't get far. We started ~12:15 and made it to the top and back ~5:45, just in time to see the sunset from Gates Pass Rd. The trail was clearly marked and very well maintained with terraced steps much of the way.

Tomorrow we're going to Sabino Canyon and see how much of Seven Falls we can hike and then head up Mt Lemmon to Sky Nights. We have a new moon and a clear forecast!

Thu we're going to hike Douglas Spring in the AM and then go to the rodeo in the afternoon. Then we'll hike Romero Pools on our way back to Phoenix Fri am.

vcv
Tennessee
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8. Re: Need help with hikes for next week!

You seem to be having a great trip; your report makes me want to go back to Arizona asap. Enjoy your activities tomorrow.

Marina, California
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9. Re: Need help with hikes for next week!

Not to be too "I told you so" (stating it more for future readers), but I had mentioned in one of your earlier posts about the landscape in Tucson being a lot rockier than that of the Appalachians. The scrubbier vegetation also does make the trail harder to follow, and you have to rely more on cairns than in other regions. The national park trails are a little better in both of these respects though.

There aren't multiple dams. In Pima Canyon, you're actually following a creek and, early on, pass a spring (Pima Spring) and then several "tanques," which store water well after a rain.

Wildflowers are relatively early this year because of a milder, wetter winter. This is why it's really difficult to plan a trip around their bloom as it never follows the calendar. It's great that you were able to see some of it.

Tucson, Arizona
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10. Re: Need help with hikes for next week!

Glad you're enjoying your stay here. I know you'll have a great time tonight - looks like you picked the perfect night for the Sky Center.