Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hiking Wasson Peak - Our first official hike as Tucson residents

We officially relocated from Jacksonville, Florida as of 1/30/10. Well our stuff arrived on Saturday so we figured Sunday would be a great day to do a nice hike. We moved to the west side of town and the Tucson Mountains are in our backyard. So we figured we would start there since in the summer it will be too hot to hike these mountains as their elevation doesn't get too high.

We really didn't plan well but we headed to the Camino del Cerro trail head and started on the sweetwater trail. There was a sign that said Wasson Peak was about 4.5 miles so I figured we would give it a shot. The Tucson Mountains aren't that tall so it couldn't be too tough right? The trail starts out very easy with little elevation gain wandering through the Saguaros. The trail is pretty wide starting out with dirt/gravel but eventually gets rocky as the elevation gains. The pic to the right is near the beginning of the trail. The landscape was great and the further we hiked the more picturesque it became. As you start winding into the mountains the views of Tucson are awesome! Here is a nice shot on the way up:

Hiking the sweetwater trail in Tucson, az

About 3.5 miles in you get to an area where a couple trails meet. Kings Canyon Trail and Sweetwater Trail junctions here at about 4,000 ft in elevation. There are great views of the valley to the west and back to Tucson. However from here the trail gets much tougher as you start winding your way to the summit of Wasson Peak. As you continue the summit to the right just looks like it is forever away. Although it is only 1.2 miles from the crossroads up to the peak it is definitely a tough 1.2 miles. Very scenic and beautiful but tough too. The views at the top are definitely worth it. The view below is looking over the Tucson's towards the SE:

Views from Wasson Peak in Tucson

This is a great trail and route. 9.2 miles total round trip and about 2000 feet of elevation gain. Make sure to hike this in the winter, spring or fall. It is a scorcher in the summer!  Don't let the first few miles fool you - the last 1.2 up the switchbacks to the peak are a definite good challenge.  There were quite a few people hiking but not bad for a beautiful Sunday.  Some people actually hike this at night time to get to the top to watch the sun rise over the catalinas.  I am sure this must be an amazing hike but I am sure there a lot of wildlife at night. Anyone does this one at night?

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