Sunday, July 8, 2012

Marshall Gulch Hiking - Mt. Lemmon, Tucson, AZ

Marshall Gulch - Fall Foliage on Mt Lemmon
Marshall Gulch - Fall Foliage
The Marshall Gulch hike is by far our favorite place to start in the Catalina Mountains. It starts from the very end of Catalina Highway and winds up a creek through the pine forest. Outside of mid winter when Marshall Gulch is generally covered in snow this is a great trail for all seasons. Marshall Gulch also connects up with a number of other trails in the area.  It's a great starting point.  Be careful in the summer as parking is fairly limited and it fills up quick!  We especially enjoy bringing our dog on this trail as it offers plenty of water, shade and cool temperatures year round. Marshall Gulch also usually has some great fall foliage starting in late September.  A lot of the area here is still covered by dense forest without too much effect from the fires years back.  

There are 2 different spots where you can start the Marshall Gulch hike.  The official trail heads straight up hill to get started.  You can also take the lower trail straight behind the restrooms that stays along the creek.  Both trails eventually intersect with each other a little ways in so you'll end up at the same point either way.  We normally choose to stay near the creek so the dog always has a good water source!

Another fall shot at Marshall Gulch
The trail intersects with quite a few others about 1.2 miles in at Marshall Saddle. From the saddle you can take the Aspen Trail back to the Marshall Gulch parking lot, head deep into the Catalinas with the Wilderness of Rocks trail and eventually to the summit of Mt. Lemmon. We normally head about a mile down on Wilderness of Rocks to seem fairly deep pools of water to let the dog swim before heading back. There are some nice deep pools here especially in the summer during Monsoon season. Watch out for the little frogs that like to nap along the rocks. You won't be able to see them until they are jumping on you.

Heading back down to the parking lot through the Aspen trail provides some different scenery. In the fall the Aspen groves are sure to offer some great colors. This trail is a bit longer than the Marshall Gulch trail and offers a bit more elevation change and in turn burns off a few extra calories too.

Hiking Reports:  Marshall Gulch Hiking July 2011  and Fall Foliage on Mt. Lemmon

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