Tucson, bordered by five mountain ranges and featuring over a hundred national, state, and local parks, is a hiker’s paradise. There are several options that you can choose from here, ranging from mountain trails to desert treks. Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, you can find a route that will fit your fitness level and interests, whether you’re exploring solo or with a group. What are you waiting for? Pack your outdoor clothes, sturdy shoes, and sunblock, bring plenty of water and even a walking stick and explore these top hiking and trekking spots in Tucson, Arizona, each of which features its own unique scenery.
1. Tumamoc Hill Hiking Trail
While this is categorized as a trail with moderate difficulty, it runs for 3.1 miles (5 km), which can make even expert trekkers work up a sweat. Nonetheless, the path is paved to make it easier for travelers to reach the top. If you’re a fan of learning more about the environment you’re exploring, there are signs that dot the trail that provide more information, including the local wildlife inhabiting the area. Night hiking is allowed on this trail. You can enjoy views of the city at the peak.
Tumamoc Hill Hiking Trail
Address:W Anklam Rd & Tumamoc Hill Rd, Tucson, AZ
2. Tanque Verde Falls Trail
Running for approximately 1.8 miles (2.9 km), the Tanque Verde Falls Trail is categorized as a moderate trail, although it will require trekkers to traverse a creek and some sections will demand that you use your hands, situations which may be challenging, especially to budding hikers. Trekkers will be rewarded with views and access to waterfalls at the end.
Allot yourself around four or five hours to traverse the loop. Be sure to wear good hiking shoes, otherwise, you may end up slipping on the wet rocks. Wear a swimsuit underneath your clothes if you plan on taking a dip before heading back. Avoid traveling here during monsoon season, as flash floods may occur this time of the year.
Tanque Verde Falls Trail
Address: Reddington Road, Tucson, AZ 85749
3. Yetman Trail
The David Yetman Trail, or simply the Yetman Trail, while relatively flat, is pretty long, running roughly 6.2 miles (10 km), so be sure to bring plenty of water with you. The path takes hikers past the Stone House, built in the 1930s and one of the more popular landmarks of Tucson. If it’s your first time to traverse this, be sure to take the main trail, as there are a number of small trails that also dot the area and may lead to you getting lost.
Address: Saguaro National Park, Tucson, AZ 85730
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4. Seven Falls Trail
Ranked as one of the top hiking trails of Arizona, the Seven Falls Trail, which runs for about 8.5 miles (13.7 km), is so named because the path takes hikers to see views of 7 waterfalls, all of which are accessible via the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. You can either take a tram to get to the trailhead or walk. There’s a water refilling station there, so be sure to make use of that if you’re already running short. Get ready to cross the water if you want to complete the trail.
Seven Falls Trail
Address: 5700 N Sabino Canyon Rd, Tucson, AZ 85750
5. Valley View Overlook Trail
This trail is only 0.8-miles (1.3-km) long and features mild terrain with a gentle ascent, making this a great option for beginning trekkers and those traveling with small children. The path takes travelers through the Saguaro Desert, with the end featuring views of the Avra Valley and Picacho Peak. This trail is accessible all year round.
Valley View Overlook Trail
Address: Pima County, Tucson, AZ 85745
6. Freeman Homestead Nature Trail
Easy trail, accessible by making a right turn instead of taking the loop drive. Not much to see at the site of the...Posted by Karen Funk Blocher on Sunday, 22 September 2019
If you are a beginner at hiking but want something a little more challenging than Valley View Overlook Trail, consider exploring the Freeman Homestead Nature Trail, which is 1.1-miles (1.8-km) long, with mild ascents and descents. Do note that the named homestead does not actually feature an actual physical structure, but rather a mound of dirt where the homestead once stood. Be sure to keep an eye out for the local wildlife, which includes great horned owls, hawks, snakes, and lizards. This is a kid-friendly trail.
Freeman Homestead Nature Trail
Address: Saguaro East District, Tucson, AZ 85748
7. Romero Pools Trail
The Romero Pools Trail is an intermediate-level path that runs for about 5.5 miles (8.8 km). There’s a steep and rocky section that may be a bit challenging for beginners. The path takes hikers to a desert oasis that features a canyon with water that flows nearly all year round. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try cliff jumping here.
Trekkers will be rewarded with views of the Santa Catalina Mountains at the peak. If you want to challenge yourself, you can take the trail that will lead you from the Romero Pools to Hutch’s Pools.
Romero Pools Trail
Address: Catalina State Park, 11570 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85737-9589
8. Cactus Forest Trail
At 10 miles (16 km), the Cactus Forest Trail is a great option for those who want an easy trek that will still allow them to work up a sweat. So-called because the path takes visitors through a desert dotted with different types of cacti, this path is easy enough that you can traverse it even in tennis shoes. This is a multi-use trail that welcomes hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders.
Cactus Forest Trail
Address: Saguaro National Park, Tucson, AZ 85743
9. Sutherland Trail
Named after the Sutherland family that once lived on the land, Sutherland Trail is located in Catalina State Park. It is 10.5 miles (16.9 km) long. The first 2 miles (3.2 km) are generally mild, but it progressively gets tougher as you go, with some parts featuring steep inclines at certain spots. Travelers will be taking the ridge to trek downhill. It’s best to take this trail between March and October.
Address: Catalina State Park, 11570 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85737-9589
10. Blackett's Ridge Trail
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
At 6 miles (9.6 km), this trail may not be the longest, but it’s certainly one of, if not the most difficult one on this list. Your efforts will reward you with views of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Sabino Canyon, Bear Canyon, and Thimble Peak. Be sure to wear a hat and bring plenty of water, as most of the trail is exposed to the sun and can get very hot, especially if you take on the trail in the morning.
Blackett's Ridge Trail
Address: 5900 N Sabino Canyon Rd, Tucson, AZ 85750-0800
Trek through Tucson's trails
Tucson features a variety of trails that allow you to enjoy mountain views or cactus-covered lands, depending on which path you choose. Regardless of which one you explore, be sure to exercise good judgment, especially if you choose the desert trails. Besides wearing sunscreen and a hat, bring plenty of water, and keep an eye out for local wildlife to avoid any problems. If you’re just starting out, be sure to do your trekking in the early morning, so you won’t have to worry too much about the heat.
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