For a long time I believed Mount Lemmon was the highest in the region. save. 57 Years ago tragedy strikes near Tucson on Mt. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. This junction intercepts six paths providing reason to return. Even if you're not a bird-watcher, you have to appreciate the unique nature of this place. The trail clearly begins at the Old Baldy Trailhead, at the end of Madera Canyon, Total elevation gain is roughly 4,200 with minimal loss on the way to the summit, There are usually water sources on the summit from springs but bring enough for a full day. At... As I began working my way back West from New Mexico, I spent some time in Southern Arizona. Eventually, the switchbacks end and you reach the saddleback and the end of the trail. This was to honor the three Boy Scouts: David Greenberg (12 years old), Mike Early (16 years old), and Michael J. Take head. Like Las Cruces, the city of Tucson is literally surrounded by mountains. Old Baldy and Mount Wrightson Summit Trail is a 10.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Amado, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. I currently live in Jacksonville, Florida and work at the aerospace company Redwire Space as a communications specialist and social media manager. The Old Baldy Trail described here is one of two primary routes to the top, the other being the Super Trail. Difficulty: 4/5 – Difficult; Distance: 12 miles / 6-8 hrs; Elevation gain: 4,080 ft; Best seasons: Spring & Autumn; Douglas Spring Trail Wrightson (summit: 9,543ft), which is the highest peak in the Santa Rita Mountain range to the south of Tucson. Log in or sign up to leave a comment Log In Sign Up. What about other hikes in the area? Recreational Activities. Many hikers opt for the shorter, steeper Baldy trail, and some combine both in a figure-eight loop that crosses at Josephine Saddle. I despise switchbacks, and there are quite a few on this trail. Ice and snow made the descent somewhat slow and precipitous in some sections. It's another 1.8 miles around the northern slopes to Baldy Saddle. on Hiking Old Baldy Trail in Coronado National Forest, Arizona, Climbing Over Dunes & Relaxing at the Beach in Indiana Dunes State & National Park, Indiana, Hiking Old Baldy Trail in Coronado National Forest, Arizona. After scrambling over rocks, ... towards the picnic area on the Old Baldy trail for .3 miles. Mount Wrightson is most often hiked from Madera Canyon, North of the summit. Even in the middle of winter on a Superbowl Sunday, there were plenty of other hikers at the top. We intend to hike the Old Baldy trail. report. This is why this hike is classified as “hard.” It’s up, up, up for a few miles through the forest. The 1st.4 miles of the hike are through a wide rocky path that will take you to the Old Baldy Trail. Wrightston) - Hiking The Trail Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Yes, the actual name of this trail is called “Old Baldy.” It’s because It leads to a saddle that is mostly “bald” (fewer trees), hence the name. I ascended the very steep trail running up the Western face of Mount Wrightson and couldn't imagine making it up without some sort of traction. The first half of the trail is sunny, but majority of the trail is shaded, so sunglasses or a hat should be fine, and it’s up to you whether or not you want to wear sunscreen. Josephine Saddle, at approximately 7,120' was a good spot for a break and assessment of progress. The trail wraps around the Eastern and Southern tip of the summit creating and incredible panorama. Just a girl interested in science, nature, and writing about my adventures. Answer 1 of 5: We're planning to hike in the Santa Rita mountains tomorrow (1/29). Both of these trails lead to the 9,543-foot summit of Mt. The Pursuit of Life is an outdoor adventure blog that’s dedicated towards providing guides on a variety of outdoor activities and wild places in the United States and Canada. 0 comments . I typically bring two water bottles, but you might need more. I think that this trail is interesting because it takes you deeper into the forest, it’s a challenge so you’ll get a good workout, and you can find some pretty views of Tucson. As I began working my way back West from New Mexico, I spent some time in Southern Arizona. I think that anyone in some sort of physical shape could do this hike, but it could be challenging for people who aren’t used to hiking or exercising. From Tucson, the drive takes about 1 hour, one way. Activities: Hiking Trails. The incline is very mild here but you will start to notice a steeper incline once you hit the Old Baldy Trail. It’s $8 a day per car to park, or you can get a yearly pass for $40. The trails form a figure eight making it possible to put together a number of different loops using different portions of each. Some climb the Super Trail which is a little longer. Also, please make sure that you bring enough water on your hike! It’s a favorite hiking spot for my family and birders. I understood his passion for this mountain as I have a similar passion for the Enchantment area in Washington State. TUCSON - It has been a while since we've gone Hittin' the trails in Madera Canyon at the Old Baldy Trail! The trail then goes deeper into the forest and becomes shaded. Yep, I was right- it was an awesome campsite! Old Baldy is located in Coronado National Forest, about 40 miles south of Tucson in southern Arizona. From Baldy Sadde (8,780') to the summit (9,456') was about 0.9 miles. Switchbacks take some of the bite out of the ascent. I’ve definitely gotten a ticket from not paying for a day pass, so be careful. Old Baldy Trail and the Super Trailheads are on the left and righthand side of the parking lot. Tucson has been oppressively hot, so 8,750′ Baldy Saddle sounded like the ideal place to hike up and out of the heat. The last 700' of climbing involved further snow and ice but the views into the Mexican desert were sublime. Regarding the Old Baldy Trail: The trail clearly begins at the Old Baldy Trailhead, at the end of Madera Canyon Round trip distance is about 10.1 miles Total elevation gain is roughly 4,200 with minimal loss on the way to the summit Long, steep ascent but the views were absolutely … Have you ever completed this hike before? This part of the trail is also not as shaded, so like I said before, a hat and sunglasses (and maybe sunscreen) would be helpful. There's a memorial for a few unfortunate Boy Scouts who were killed in a freak early winter storm some 50 years ago while hiking. Met some really nice people. Mount Wrightson has two trails to summit the highest peak in southern Arizona: the Old Baldy trail and the Super trail. Madera Canyon is accessible, a reasonable place to go, and where the Old Baldy trail starts. Don't hit this trail during the Fall, Winter or Spring without them! Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. This is also when the switchbacks begin. Fun, but I have a big Grand Canyon trip coming up in a little over a month. Just like the hike to the “Carrie National Trail #78,” which I’ve previously written about, once you park, there is about a one-mile hike to the actual trailhead. no comments yet. It’s the first challenge of a pretty hard hike but it ends pretty quickly. You can take the long “Super Trail” back to the parking lot (however, the Super Trail is quite long and mostly sunny). Wrightson in the past week or so? As we went up the Old Baldy trail, he shared several stories about the mountain and some of his experiences on it. In February of 2020, I hiked the Old Baldy Trail to the summit. The shortest route is the Old Baldy Trail, a steady climb of over 4,000 feet (1,200 m) over 5.4 miles (8.7 km) to the exposed summit. Overall, this is a difficult but doable for most experienced hikers in the winter. Your email address will not be published. 4.1mi — 3h 00m Dec 22, 2018 Ricky Holzer. You just have to keep going back again and again. To get to the hike, you have to drive to the topmost parking lot in Coronado National Forest. On AllTrails, this hike is listed as a hard, and I agree with that assessment. Although Tucson is a haven for snowbirds loving the 70-degrees-in-February days, this part gets the full brunt of winter. I hiked this in the winter so, no surprise, there was a lot of snow past Josephine Saddle. This is the desert! Once you reach the trailhead, it’s pretty much “up” the entire way. Old Baldy is the shortest and steepest, while the Super Trail is longer but has a more moderate gradient, but both of these trails lead to the 9,543-foot summit of Mt. At an altitude of 9,456', Mount Wrightson is the highest mountain near Tucson. Wrightson, the highest peak in the Santa Ritas. Old Baldy is the shortest and steepest, while the Super Trail is longer but has a more moderate gradient, but both of these trails lead to the 9,543-foot summit of Mt. It took well over an hour of slow going to make it to the Old Baldy Saddle. La Noue (13 years old), who had lost their lives on November 15, 1958. Hiking on a beautiful day. At the saddle, five trails intersect but there's a number of signs making the way to the summit evident. The remarkable preservation of the region was evident from here to the summit. Surely that's enough of a reason to hike it but the real draw is the Madrean Sky Island environment which is exceptionally unique. Does anyone know the snow level on top of Mt. Continue straight on the Vault Mine trail instead. If I’m not out hiking, you can find me at home cuddling with my cat, Fred. Where to Stay. Thankfully, I was prepared with microspikes. Thank you for reading! For 0.3 miles, the trail was essentially an old road until arriving at the first intersection. Almost immediately after that junction, I encountered the wilderness boundary. Wrightson, the highest peak in the Santa Ritas. From Josephine Saddle (7,120') to Baldy Saddle (8,780'), its about 2.0 miles. And it looks even farther than that — at 9,453 feet, Mount Wrightson, also known as Old Baldy, is the highest point in the Santa Rita Mountains. Your email address will not be published. This hike primary trail can be used both directions. Were I a real naturalist, I could have better identified and appreciated the flora that typically only grows in Mexico. It was 2.4 miles from the trailhead to Josephine Saddle with about 1,600' of altitude gain. Wrightson, the highest peak in the Santa Ritas. Old Baldy is located in Coronado National Forest, about 40 miles south of Tucson in southern Arizona. Gets steeper as you get higher! Old Baldy is a steep climb to the summit of Mt. This challenging and enormously popular 10-mile trek (round trip) leads to the 9,453-foot summit of Mount Wrightson, and climbs more than 4,000 vertical feet and tops out on one of … A wonderful curiosity of hiking the Sky Islands is the mixture of high alpine forests with low desert flora. There is a fee of $5 to park in the lot since you are visiting a National Forest. Old Baldy Trail- Crest Trail- Foursprings Trail- Kent Spring Trail- Pipeline Route- Super Trail 12.1 mi/3750′ gain. You’ll then come to the Mount Wrightson Wilderness sign and at that point you are official! Baldy (Mt. Be the first to share what you think! Southern Arizona and Tucson ... Up to Josephine Saddle, then to the top via Super Trail and back to Josephine Saddle via Baldy Trail. Home: Recreational Activities: Trails: Old Baldy : view all sites by. 100% Upvoted. Sort by. On AllTrails, this hike is listed as a hard, and I agree with that assessment. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from March until November. Old Baldy Trail was a great hike - Review of Madera Canyon, Tucson, AZ - Tripadvisor Madera Canyon: Old Baldy Trail was a great hike - See 569 traveler reviews, 239 candid photos, and great deals for Tucson, AZ, at Tripadvisor. The Super Trail, also from the Madera Canyon trailhead, is not as steep but is far longer at 8.1 miles (13.0 km). Thankfully, no technical gear beyond microspikes is needed! Douglas Springs is the smoothest trail I have hiked in Tucson. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. I turned left there for the Old Baldy Trail. This hike is about 5 miles round-trip. However that honor belongs to the Santa Rita's Mount Wrightson. The trail begins at the end of Madera Canyon. Adventure is out there! (Please make sure that you take your trash out of the park! Baldy or the condition of the trail … Large pine cones litter the ground trailside. Mount Wrightson via Old Baldy Trail is a 11.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Green Valley, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. It’s a favorite hiking spot for my family and birders. Activities that are covered in this blog include hiking, mountain biking, climbing, kayaking, mountaineering, thru-hiking, caving, trail running, trekking, canoeing, ice climbing and general exploring. Tucson, AZ, USA 85701 (520) 388-8300 (520) 388-8304 TTY. Although the trail was steep for the next 2.1 miles to Josephine Saddle, there were endless views of Mount Wrightson's summit and the desert below. Almost 1,700 feet up, Josephine Saddle is reached at 2.3 miles / 7,100ft. Its a popular place for hiking, camping and bird watching so its best to get there early, any time of year. 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