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Sabino Canyon

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Kansas City...
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Sabino Canyon

We are not hard core hikers, but were thinking of riding the tram to the "top" of Telephone Line Trail and hiking down. Our trip is at the end of March 2012.

We have a few questions:

1. How many miles is this trail from stop 9 to 2? How long will it take (assuming we walk at a regular pace)

2. If we wanted to stop the hike part way, can you get to the trams? It does not look like it from the map.

3. What is the path like? We will go with proper shoes and water, but just want to know.

We are excited to take this hike. I am hoping to get my husband and daughter to like hiking as much as I do.

Thank you so much. This forum has given me so much information and has helped me to plan a great trip.

Marina, California
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1. Re: Sabino Canyon

> 1. How many miles is this trail from stop 9 to 2? How long will it take (assuming we walk at a regular pace)

This is the entire distance of the paved portion and the tram route, which is 3.8 miles one-way.

> 2. If we wanted to stop the hike part way, can you get to the trams? It does not look like it from the map.

Yes, you can hop on and off as you please provided you have your tickets.

> 3. What is the path like? We will go with proper shoes and water, but just want to know.

It depends on which one, but the main trail that the tram uses is paved and wide while the Phone Line Trail is smaller and unpaved, and sometimes somewhat rugged. There are several other trails though, such as the Bear Canyon Trail or the trail that leads to the Dam.

Edited: 10:33 am, March 05, 2012
Kansas City...
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2. Re: Sabino Canyon

Thank you so much. So if you are on the Phoneline trail, you can get to the tram in the middle? I just want to see if I am understanding you correctly.

My daughter is 15, but has had knee surgery in the past year. Totally healed, but it takes forever to get back to 100% on the muscle strength. She is always concerned if her legs get too tired. Is there a shorter trail that might be better? I am totally up for the hike, I just need to get them onboard.

Marina, California
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3. Re: Sabino Canyon

> So if you are on the Phoneline trail, you can get to the tram in the middle?

Most of the time, yes. They're parallel and usually close to one another, but there isn't always a way to go between them. Near the tram stops though, there usually is.

> My daughter is 15, but has had knee surgery in the past year. Totally healed, but it takes forever to get back to 100% on the muscle strength.

My wife had ACL surgery a little over a month ago. I don't think I would put her on the Phone Line Trail because of the rocks, but the main trail would be fine. You should really ask your physician about this one.

> Is there a shorter trail that might be better?

There are two, main paved trails at the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area: Sabino Canyon and Bear Canyon. They're roughly the same length (as paved trails) and you can turn around on them at any time. The difference is that the tram only runs a little ways into Bear Canyon, so you can't take it back.

NC
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4. Re: Sabino Canyon

Jennifer,

My trip report isn't quite done but we did hike in Sabino Canyon. The tram doesn't go to the "top" of the Phoneline trail. The Phoneline Trail starts at the end of the tram line, climbs up switchbacks for about 30 min, then it levels out and heads back to the mouth of the canyon. It parallels the tram road but it's higher up so you can't bail whenever you want and take the tram. You could ride the tram to stop 9 and hike back on the road but I personally don't see the value in hiking any route that I can drive. If I'm going to put in the effort I want a view I can't get otherwise. Plus walking on pavement is much harder on my legs and feet than dirt or gravel.

Unfortunately the map on their website http://www.sabinocanyon.com/trail_map3.php gives you and idea of the contour but doesn't show all the trails that are on our map from the visitor's center. Hopefully this link to our map will work: …photobucket.com/albums/…SabinoCanyonMap.jpg .

There is a trail that cuts back over to tram stop 7 (highlighted trail with switchbacks) but by then you've already done most of the work so you might as well continue on as long as you have time and can handle the distance. There are some interesting rock formations further down the Phoneline Trail.

We took the 9:00 am Sabino Canyon tram to the last stop (9) and started up the Phoneline trail at 9:30. It took us 2 hours to reach the PhoneIine Link Trail that cuts over to tram stop #1 and we followed that to what I assume was the Sabino Creek Trail. Trail names were listed on the markers but not on the map they gave us. That trail (the highlighted one to the left of the Phoneline Trail) followed the creek past the dam and then we went back to the visitor's center. It was nice change of scenery from the Phoneline trail.

We stopped for a snack under the shade at the picnic area across the creek for about 15 min then we went back across the creek and headed south along the creek trail. We reached the dam at 12:30 and returned to the visitor’s center around 1:00.

If that is too much hiking for you, I would suggest taking the tram to the end of the canyon and back so you can see the canyon and hear the narration from the guide. Then get off at tram stop 1 on the way back and hike the Sabino Creek Trail and back to the visitor's center. That trail is pretty level and it's a nice hike with the creek water and totally different scenery and plants from the Phoneline Trail. I don't know how long it took us to get from the Phoneline trail to tram stop 1 on the Phoneline Link Trail but it took us 1 1/2 hr to get from the turn-off for Phoneline Link Trail to the Sabino Canyon Trail and back to the visitor's center, including a 15 min stop at the picnic area across the creek from tram stop1.

Another option is the Seven Falls trail that we did the next day. You can take the Bear Canyon tram to the last stop (3) to get the boring first part out of the way. Then it's 2 .4 miles one way to the falls. It took us about 1 1/2 hours to hike out to the falls but it's a really nice hike. The first part is pretty flat with 7 (?) creek crossings. We hopped rocks without getting wet but they say it can be difficult if it has rained recently. Then you start to climb some as you get back in the canyon. The falls are very nice and you can climb up to higher levels if you're adventurous or just sit and chill out on the rocks (or in the water) and have lunch.

The trick is in timing the trams. They leave the visitor's center on the hour and leave trams stop 3 at 10 min after. We took the first tram at 9 am and locals that were slower than us told us we could make the 12:10 tram if we left the falls by 11. Luckily the tram was a little late because we wouldn't have made it. If I had it to do over again, I would have taken more time at the falls and taken the next tram. You can always walk all the way back to the visitor's center but it is a hot, boring walk.

Hope this helps. Enjoy whatever you end up doing.

Florida Native
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5. Re: Sabino Canyon

I hiked the Phoneline trail with my husband about 4 weeks ago starting out from the Visitors Center. We bought shuttle tickets so that we could pick up the shuttle at stop 9, to ride rather than hike back. We didn't know how difficult a hike it would be for us. I had fractured my lower leg in 3 places in August and so it would be my first hike since recovery from surgery. I did not want to try balancing on rocks at stream crossings (there was water at that time)so we planned to take an easier connecting trail at the top to return and avoid using the more rugged connecting Historic Trail. This was a recommendation by a park ranger at the visitors center. We were told that the Phoneline Trail is a beginner trail, but I have read since then that it is a beginner/ intermediate trail. We started out easily enough on a paved road from the Visitors Center and found our way to the start of the Phoneline Trail by following signs and asking questions of other hikers . It was about 12:30. The Trail was lovely, wonderful views. Unfortunately, I was weaker than I thought and even though we paused frequently, I found certain areas to be daunting, especially when the path narrowed enough where a loss of balance might of sent me hurling over the side. My leg muscles needed more strengthening & I suppose my psyche too since my fracture had been from a prior fall. When this realization occurred, we were halfway and the only trails to take to get off of the Phoneline are near the beginning and end of the Phoneline. We had to push on. It was taking me a lot longer than we thought and we were going to miss the last tram of the day, if we delayed any more. There was no way that I had the courage to back track. There were some tense moments where I thought if I stopped I would freeze in fear! We did make it back. We even took the more rugged Historic Trail down to the road (got on it by mistake). I had no choice, and was able to master my fear. If I were to hike it now, I would start at Stop 9 and hike part of the way and when the trail started to become more rugged than I liked I would turn around and hike back to stop 9 and take the tram back if I wanted.

USA
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6. Re: Sabino Canyon

Last year we took the tram to the top, stop #9 and walked back on the paved pathway. This was nice, but this year we are going to do the Phoneline trail from stop #9 and then exit it to get back at stop #7. I was told that this short portion of the trail is about 1-1/2 miles and would take about a 1-1/2 hours. For us, that's a nice hike without doing too much at once. I was told that if you miss the trail to stop #7, then you can hike down to stop #1 or stop #2 and that would be about 3.2 miles, taking about 3-1/2 hours.

7. Re: Sabino Canyon

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