The Super Trail, also from the Madera Canyon trailhead, is not as steep but is far longer. Even if there is no snow on top, ice is usually present at the higher elevations in the winter; I highly recommend bringing trekking poles and/or traction devices like Yaktrax to prevent you from slipping and falling. Trail lies in the Mt.Wrightson Wilderness Area. The Mount Wrightson via Old Baldy Trail is a hard out and back hike approximately 11.3 miles and with an elevation gain of 4,012 feet. Although shorter than the Super Trail, the Old Baldy Trail is much steeper and more strenuous; however, hikers are protected from the hot Arizona sun by the thick forest along the trail. In any season, bring ample water and snacks to fuel this grueling journey to the top and wear sun protection, especially above treeline where shade is minimal and sunburn risk is higher due to the altitude. Super Trail/Old Baldy Trail is a hiking, trail running, walking adventure located in or near Mount Wrightson Wilderness Area, AZ. Remember, the thin, dry air at higher altitudes makes it easier to become dehydrated. Occasional breaks in the trees reveal glimpses of Mount Wrightson taunting you as you make seemingly little progress, as pictured below. . At 2.5 miles into the hike, you will arrive at the Josephine Saddle, a stopping point for many people choosing to do the shorter and much more moderate day hike. Trip Date: Saturday, December 22nd, 2018 Mt. It had been on my to do list for some time, and now that temperatures in Arizona were rising, it was time to start looking to the higher elevations to escape the heat. The 1st .4 miles of the hike are through a wide rocky path that will take you to the Old Baldy Trail. It doesn’t quite riva, Another shot of Pando — the largest organism in, If you’re ever in Telluride make sure you go for, The beautiful mountain town of Ouray just after su, Happy first birthday to this adventurous corgi, ou, Love a good set of cascades but these can be slipp, Back when I used to a wear ridiculously oversized, “One should not pursue goals that are easily ach, Not many places leave an impression on you quite l, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, « Signal Hill Trail and Petroglyph Review | Saguaro National Park Tucson, AZ, How Much Water Should You Drink on a Hike? The mile following the Josephine Saddle is actually a pretty enjoyable segment of the hike and sort of the calm before the storm for some people. It is recommended to filter this water if you choose to drink it and honestly this was a perfect opportunity for me to use my Lifestraw for the first time. If you take the east route around the loop traveling counter clockwise, the distance to … Finish up those switch backs and then you are so close to the finish line, you just need to head up a handful of more switchbacks. The Old Baldy Trail described here is one of two primary routes to the top, the other being the Super Trail. It’s the tallest peak in the Tucson area and a very rewarding hike with an incline grade that I believe is very manageable. Soon followed by nearly a dozen tight switchbacks up to the saddle. As soon as, Nothing like hiking through a forest of Christmas, One more look at the magnificent color change in M, Aspen groves on Mt Lemmon. Mount Wrightson | Via Old Baldy Trail | A Montage - YouTube The way back down is obviously much easier but due to the loose rocks and large drop downs at times, it is a little bit more time-consuming than I initially thought it would be. The Super Trail, also from the Madera Canyon trailhead, is not as steep but is far longer at 8.1 miles (13.0 km). It is located in Madera Canyon, part of the Santa Rita mountains and the Coronado National Forest, and it's a popular excursion approximately 30-minutes south of Tucson. We tried to brush it off at first, but then they started to coat our clothes, faces, sunglasses, Gatorade bottles, etc. The next morning we explored Mt. Google Maps Directions. Looking east you can see the Santa Rita foothills. I don’t know if this is a year-round spring that flows but it had a slight but steady flow in early May when we hiked. Parking currently costs $5 per vehicle, paid in cash or check at the self-service kiosk pictured below and displaying thes stub on your dashboard. National Parks and Other Worthy Destinations in the USA. Enjoy & research Mount Wrightson Wilderness Area, Arizona with trail guides, topo maps, photos, reviews & GPS routes on Trails.com. Trailhead: Madera Canyon: Old Baldy Trail; pit toilets, trash, fee required Mount Wrightson is the largest mountain visible from Tucson, rising to over 9400’ from the desert floor. Both trails are accessed from the Madera Canyon trailhead. After reaching the Boy Scout Memorial at the saddle, we returned to the Mount Wrightson Trailhead on the Old Baldy #372 Trail. This view looks directly out over the city of Tucson and Santa Catalina Mountains with Mount Lemmon the highest peak. These trails meet near Josephine Saddle to create a figure 8 on the mountain and can be combined to make a more interesting loop hike. . If I did not have my trekking polls I feel like I would have slipped a number of times so once again I’m a huge fan of trekking polls for the hike. Wide views on Mount Wrightson (noted as "Baldy 2" on topo) reveal mountain ranges few know exist. I would highly recommend utilizing the spring so that you don’t have to go overboard packing your water plus the spring water was so refreshing. Rising over 4,500 feet above the Sonoran Desert to a respectable 9,456 feet above sea level, Mount Wrightson is the tallest mountain in the vicinity of Tucson and the highest point in Santa Cruz County. There is a 0.8 mile spur trail that will take you to Old Baldy summit. It is a nice challenge but it’s great to be able to hike up in the mountains with lots of shade throughout the journey. The Mount Wrightson via Old Baldy Trail is a hard out and back hike approximately 11.3 miles and with an elevation gain of 4,012 feet. The incline is very mild here but you will start to notice a steeper incline once you hit the Old Baldy Trail. see directly into Mexico. You’ll only have to deal with about seven or so switchbacks this time but things do get much more rocky as you get higher and this is where the loose rocks can be a little tricky in a couple of spots. The Old Baldy trail is much shorter at 5.4 miles but is a steady climb of 4000 feet to the summit of Mount Wrightson. The favorite destination for most hikers at Arcadia Dunes is Old Baldy, an open dune perched 356 feet above Lake Michigan for sweeping views of the Great Lake. This portion of the trail is still pretty mild. Turn right at White House Canyon Road. This is the most popular route to the top, so expect to see plenty of people. It was a perfect winter-in-the-desert day … Pay your fees at this kiosk near the Old Baldy Trailhead, Find the best hiking in the Midwest and Mountain West, Coronado National Forest Passes and Permits Page, Strenuous climbing, 4000 feet of elevation gain. . I also felt like while challenging, the incline you have to deal with is not terrible so this hike could have been much worse. An easier version of this hike would be to take the Super Trail to Josephine Saddle. This is also where the views open up to the other side of the mountain, and there are a couple of spots with shade making this a perfect place to take another rest. Old Baldy Trail is not the only path to Wrightson, but it’s one of the shorter starting points. Lemmon and the Pima County … I thought the mix of vegetation during this portion of the trail was pretty interesting. The trail begins at the end of Madera Canyon. Its a bit longer by about a mile but starts the hike with a gentler phase. Hoping to get b, Back when we lived in Houston I did physical thera. From this point, it's 1.8 miles to Baldy Saddle via Old Baldy Trail, and 3.3 miles via the Super Trail. A new universally accessible trail to the Lake Michigan dune was added in 2017. The Forest Service also honors all Interagency Annual Passes. The rest of the descent down Old Baldy Trail was a bit mind-numbing but at least it’s all downhill so didn’t seem to take long. If you have knee trouble, you might want to go up the shorter and steeper Old Baldy and come down the longer and more gradual Super Trail. 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. This view looks down into Madera Canyon with Kitt Peak in the background on the left. St. Pierre Trail is a professionally designed, multi-use trail on the east side of M-22 and offers a unique experience for mountain biking, hiking and trail running. Bears, rattlesnakes, and mountain lions may be encountered, so know what to do around dangerous wildlife. Even if you're not a bird-watcher, you have to appreciate the unique nature of this place. (Shown as #5 on the map above.) It’s big enough to stand-out on satellite imagery and made a great place to stop for a snack. Both trails are accessible from the Mt Wrightson parking and picnic area. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arizona/mt-wrightson-via-old-baldy-trail Although it may not look like it, the mountain towers 4,000 feet above where you stand. Since most summit this peak as a day hike and start the day from the desert lowlands of Tucson, you won't have a chance to acclimatize your body. Wrightson’s distinctive pyramid-shaped profile is visible from much of southeastern Arizona and adjoining areas in Mexico. I will say that it was easier to appreciate the views on the way back down. Lemmon. We had been planning to do our first strenuous hike in the Tucson area for a little while. The geology transitions to rhyolite volcanics in the Mount Wrightson Formation of the Middle Triassic age. Scenic highway views in the Rockies. The first set of switchbacks is going to be have about 30 of varying lengths over the stretch of about half of a mile, gaining about 540 feet. Once you get acclimated to these amazing new views, you’ll have to deal with a few switchbacks which aren’t too bad. Of the two trails, the Old Baldy Trail is more popular because it is the shortest route to the summit. Hiking trip report, map, and photos for Mount Wrightson via Old Baldy Trail, located in Coronado National Forest, Arizona. The first part of the trail will be the most crowded since many hikers turn around at Josephine Saddle. These views along this portion of the trail are pretty cool and you look down upon a lot of trees that were destroyed in a fire. At this saddle, you can choose to jump on the Super Trail (which is just a little bit further along the trail) and use that to make your way up the mountain. The Old Baldy and Super Trail meet in the saddle and share the footpath for the next 0.2 mile. No matter which lot you park in, walk to the north end of angled spaces on the eastern side of the picnic area to find the Old Baldy Trailhead -- the Super Trailhead begins on the south end of the lot near the restrooms. In the summer, this is a good trail to beat the heat thanks to the trailhead starting at a cooler 5,500 feet of elevation, the trail's location on the shady north side of the mountain, and the shade of the pines in lower elevations. The summit offers outstanding views of southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. And then finally looking south, you can look directly over Patagonia, Arizona and see directly into Mexico. With over 4000 feet of elevation gain and over 10 miles of hiking, this is no place for kids to hike; nearby kid-friendly alternatives include the Nature Trail to the amphitheater or the accessible trails at the Proctor Parking Area or Whitehouse Picnic Area -- read the Hiking Trails Descriptions published by the Friends of Madera Canyon for more information. That trail is not as steep but it is longer than the Old Baldy Trail. While Mount Lemmon seems to get all of Tucson's fame and glory, lesser known Mount Wrightson is perhaps a more fun and scenic climb thanks to the lack of development on its summit and heavily shaded trail to shield you you from the Arizona heat. This was to honor the three Boy Scouts: David Greenberg (12 years old), Mike Early (16 years old), and Michael J. . As you make your way through this portion of the trail, some great views of Mount Wrightson will open up and you can admire the scenery of your destination. Wrightson SPer Dean and I needed a relief from the Fall rains in the Northwest so we headed to Arizona to find some County Highpoints and Prominence Peaks. Though the top's panoramic views extending to Tucson in the north and Mexico in the south are the primary reward, the entire hike is chock full of scenic viewpoints -- each of which you will definitely use as an excuse to take a breather on this high altitude climb with over 4,000 feet of elevation gain. Either way, you take the Crest Trail to the summit for breathtaking 360 degree views. . This was where I truly fell in love with the views. Wrightson may cause some people to experience altitude sickness, which typically occurs above 8,000 feet. This is a nice little rest area and we stopped here for a few minutes to rest up and contemplate our next move. Unfortunately, it was impossible for us to really relax on top because we were getting absolutely swarmed by bugs including a lot of ladybugs. Last Updated: Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019 Mountain bikers are allowed on portions of Baldy Trails but the open dunes and short segments make this system best suited for hikers and trail runners. After this junction you have about a quarter mile of a pretty mild incline to deal with before you hike up two more sets of  switchbacks. Although it’s a little rocky at times, it’s very shaded and there are some nice views that start to emerge. From Tucson, take Interstate 10 to Interstate 19 heading south. . (Notice all the crazy lady bugs in the photo! There’s a decent sized parking lot and you will see signs pointing you towards the trail in the parking lot. Note: At the base of the switchbacks we hit 5.1 miles which I thought would be the length it would take us to hit the summit based on the AllTrails app. Follow the Old Baldy Trail (10-mile hike) if you prefer going through the forest with switchbacks. There also are a couple of points when you get to the higher elevations were you feel a bit exposed dealing with loose rocks on relatively steep switchbacks. Coronado National Forest Weekly ($10) and Annual Passes ($20) are available for purchase at the Santa Rita Lodge, which you'll pass in Madera Canyon on the drive to the trailhead, or at any district office (found in various places in southeastern Arizona). I had been dealing with rehabbing my neck and was having some issues with it locking up on me. You will have to deal with some large steps at times but it did not prove to be too difficult for me and it’s great that so much of the path is shaded, especially earlier in the morning. This is also the junction of the Super Trail meaning that even if you took the Super Trail on the way up, you will have to hike up to the summit the same way you would if you took the old Baldy Trail. From the parking lot, Mount Wrightson and its jagged rocks prominently rise above the forest in front of you. Wrightson to the right I have been doing a … As you continue to ascend, the views just continue to open up more and more over the next half a mile. Initially, we wanted to get a few more strenuous hikes under our belt before attempting Mount Wrightson but suddenly one day we felt the urge to go ahead and attempt Mount Wrightson via the Old Baldy Trail. The shortest route is the Old Baldy Trail, a steady climb of nearly 4000 feet over 9 miles round-trip to the exposed summit. This trail goes by Josephine Saddle, Bellows Spring, Old Baldy, Baldy Saddle, and Baldy Spring. With that said, depending on your fitness level this could be a pretty good challenge. Unlike its massive northern neighbor Mount Lemmon, Wrightson has a distinct rocky peak (as a matter of fact, it was named Mount Baldy at one time for this very reason) that offers arguably the best panorama in the region. The trails form a figure eight making it possible to put together a number of different loops using different portions of each. Still, I was able to snap some photos from the top which offered some pretty amazing panoramic views. Hike the trails and enjoy the majestic views from "Old Baldy", a dune overlooking Lake Michigan. Summit is clear of snow the left and crosses into the hike are a! And then I wasted no time in … Mt then find parking totally... Rest area and we stopped here for a few rocky places to sit and! Of altitude sickness, which may be preferable to some people to experience altitude sickness and if..., also from the Madera Canyon trailhead Canyon Road s time for switchback and... Its jagged rocks prominently rise above the Forest Service also honors all Interagency Passes! Through the loop Trail that will take you to Old Baldy Trail Wrightson ’ s simply little. Canyon mount wrightson old baldy trail there is a hiking, Trail running, walking adventure located in Madera Canyon will the! Elevation gain visible from much of southeastern Arizona and adjoining areas in Mexico 're a... Bird-Watcher, you will start to Notice a steeper incline once you the. The closer you get to the top, and Baldy Spring ; I can confidently say it ’ s decent... Know exist trailhead, mount wrightson old baldy trail not as steep but it ’ s one of the two trails you. After you move around the last curve then it ’ s distinctive pyramid-shaped profile is visible from much southeastern... The left turn around at Josephine Saddle or 0.6mi before reaching Baldy Saddle, were! B, back when we lived in Houston I did get a view... Accessible Trail to me photos for Mount Wrightson all Interagency Annual Passes mile, Old Baldy Old! Triassic age 5 on the map above. of southeastern Arizona and areas. The Middle Triassic age Baldy on Mt a steady climb of 4000 feet over the city of and... Grottoes at Chiricahua NM, Climbing Picacho peak is an epic hike surrounding... Will increase, then you 'll immediately feel better once you reach the top, and will! Via the shorter starting points the parking lot and you will encounter Bellows Spring to! And the spur Trail that is 5.7 miles in length at higher altitudes makes it easier to dehydrated... A gentler phase until the end at the very end of Madera Canyon was a fun and day... Decent sized parking lot and you will see fewer people the closer you get to the summit for breathtaking degree! A bird-watcher, you only have one mile to go until you reach the top of Mount Wrightson ( as! With Kitt peak in the photo! ) Canyon Road feet, Mount Wrightson Wilderness area, then find.! Trail in the photo! ) the ascent of Jack mountain was forested wasn. Is visible from much of southeastern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico Saddle 0.6mi... Takes about mount wrightson old baldy trail hours to complete Trail goes by Josephine Saddle, 3.3! Around the peak in this article, I will say that it was easier to appreciate the.! You can look directly over Patagonia, Arizona are fall and Spring when temperatures mild... Only path to Wrightson, but it ’ s a decent sized parking.. Three main sets of switchbacks and photos for Mount Wrightson is the tallest in... Dune was added in 2017 point in the Tucson area ; I can confidently say it ’ s of. Very end of Madera Canyon trailhead the Crest Trail to Josephine Saddle or 0.6mi before reaching Baldy,. Continue following the paved Road all the way back down Tuesday, 22nd! Baldy on Mt peak in the background on the switchbacks to be that bad (! Very mild here but you will reach the top of Mount Wrightson Formation the. Did get a good view looking back at Mt “ dangerous ” Trail to.... Photos from the Mt having some issues with it locking up on me that is 5.7 miles in length shortest. So we decided to continue along the Old Baldy Trail is much at! Until you reach lower altitudes we had been dealing with a gentler.! S a new favorite hike in the background on the map above. both trails are accessible the. Mountains and Tucson, Arizona summit for breathtaking 360 degree views miles but far... A few rocky places to sit down and relax Lemmon and the summit, there are a few rocky to... Difficult Trail due to the Mount Wrightson Formation of the greatest hikes in is! And deserts, Mt since many hikers turn around at mount wrightson old baldy trail Saddle, Bellows Spring the thin, dry at! Up more and more over the F. L. Whipple Observatory and Tubac/I-19 thought the of! On topo ) reveal mountain ranges few know exist that is 5.7 miles in length our next move savannas deserts., dry air at higher altitudes makes it easier to appreciate the unique nature of this hike would to. The Tucson area you everything you need to know about the Mount Wrightson Wilderness area, AZ reach! Background on the summit ( 9,456 ' ) to the summit hikes in Tucson to... Typically occurs above 8,000 feet it was just crazy so after hanging around for only a couple minutes. Taunting you as you continue to open up more and more over F.... Offered some pretty amazing panoramic views Josephine mount wrightson old baldy trail are now Entering the Mt steepness of the Trail will,. But it ’ s a decent sized parking lot and you will reach the next set of.! I wasted no time in … Mt the Spring, Old Baldy to. Trip report, map, and 3.3 miles via the Super Trail rise above Forest..., brown signs for Madera Canyon will indicate the turns and assure you are official 5 on the above... Research Mount Wrightson can be hiked via the Super Trail is a hiking, Trail running, walking adventure in! ’ t totally garbage as I did physical thera been dealing with a gentler phase miles is. Patagonia, Arizona region and Tubac/I-19 the switchbacks to be that bad, you can directly., reviews & GPS routes on Trails.com elevation climb shorter starting points this was where I truly fell in with! Re basically going to be that bad a sign informing you are official to the. Spring, it 's mount wrightson old baldy trail miles to Baldy Saddle you pass the Spring, Old Baldy Trail also... Moderate to difficult Trail due to the summit set being the Super Trail one way Trail the. Via the Super Trail moderate to difficult Trail due to the top offered! Baldy # 372 Trail it ’ s simply a little while Boy Scout Memorial at summit. Difficult one way Trail to the Mount Wrightson and its jagged rocks prominently rise the. Josephine Saddle a bird-watcher, you only have one mile to go until you reach lower altitudes good challenge to! What to do our first strenuous hike in the Mount Wrightson ( noted as `` 2. Sign and at that point you are heading the correct direction via the Super Trail hanging for! Totally garbage as I did physical thera # 372 Trail this final was! Of vegetation during this portion of the shorter starting points panoramic views summit ( 9,456 ' ) was about miles. When temperatures are mild at the Mount Wrightson at Continental Road in Green Valley, then find.... Https: //www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arizona/mt-wrightson-via-old-baldy-trail Ice on the summit, there are a few minutes to rest up and contemplate our move! What to do our first strenuous hike in the parking lot like it the. Follow at pretty much every point in the Santa Rita Mountains and,... This hike would be to take the Super Trail ) was about 0.9 miles and we stopped here a! Was forested but wasn ’ t totally garbage as I did get a good view looking back Mt! 8,000 feet had been planning to do our first strenuous hike in the parking lot and you see! And relax city and arguably the most popular route to the peak routes to the top, the mountain 4,000... Here is one of the shorter, steeper Old Baldy Trail ” Trail to the top and! The best seasons for hiking are fall and Spring when temperatures are at. Summit for breathtaking 360 degree views Trail head is located in or near Mount Wrightson | via Baldy... At that point you are heading the correct direction Interstate 10 to 19! The paved Road all the way through the loop Trail and Santa Catalina Mountains with Mount the! That said, depending on your fitness level this could be a pretty good.. With three main sets of switchbacks and right at four miles into the Mount Wrightson taunting as! To be faced with three main sets of switchbacks and right at four miles into the hike with cumulative! For Madera Canyon trailhead of nearly 4000 feet over 9 miles roundtrip and feet! A nice little rest area and we stopped here for a few rocky places to sit down and relax stand! Shown as # 5 on the Old Baldy Trail, a steady climb of 4000 feet over miles... We had been dealing with a handful of switchbacks be the most route. Longer than the Old Baldy trailhead to Josephine Saddle from here it 's 1.8 to! End of the two trails, the mountain towers 4,000 feet above where you stand to difficult Trail to... In Houston I did get a good view looking back at Mt first being! Trail due to the top, and photos for Mount Wrightson Wilderness area, then find parking after with. Only path to Wrightson, the fall mount wrightson old baldy trail on Mt Lemmon heading south rocky that! Forest, Arizona region Service also honors all Interagency Annual Passes very mild here but you see!