Sunday, February 28, 2010

Saguaro National Park - Hugh Norris Trail

Well I thought the Hugh Norris trail in the Tucson Mountains was dog friendly.  We got there, with a truck full of dogs, and the sign said no dogs.  Hmmmmm well we are already here, there is only one other car in the parking lot.  I guess it can't hurt to just go.  What's the worst that could happen?  We get a ticket?

To get to the trail take Gate's Pass road over the Tucson Mountains and hang a right on Kinney towards the museum.  Follow Bajada Loop Drive into the park.  The trail head is about 3.5 miles past the visitors center on the right.  This is a great trail except in the summer when it is just too hot to climb in this area.  Much of the area falls in to the Ironwood Forest National Monument.

So we took all 3 dogs and started on the trail. This one starts right into things heading up.  Most of the trail is very well marked and kept.  Most of the vertical distance is gained in small steps.  Which are great and brutal at the same time!  It is a beautiful area of the Sonoran desert.

Once you make it up towards the first pass there are a lot of rock formations off of the trail that are easy to get to and fun to climb on.  These short side trails offer great views and vistas of the surrounding valleys and mountains.  Eventually this trail leads to the tallest peak in the Tucson Mountains - Wasson Peak.  We didn't make it that far as the clouds started to build and we eventually had a turn around and jog back to the car to beat the heavy rains.  The total distance to Wasson Peak and back is 9.8 miles.  You gain a little over 2000 feet of elevation and the last mile up the peak is pretty tough.  Definitely bring a lot of water and some snacks.

The dogs loved the trails.  I wish they would allow them so we could go back.  I just don't understand why they don't allow dogs on these trails.  Regardless, this is a great hike.  If you have the time definitely treck up to Wasson Peak for some amazing views.

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