Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
Butterfly Trail Day Hike
when August 12, 2017
  Trip Report : June 6, 2009
  Trip Report : August 23, 1997
where Tucson, Santa Catalina Mountains
the hike     The Butterfly Trail near the cool summit of Mount Lemmon is an enjoyable walk through a diverse biological area with beautiful views. Highlights include radio towers on the summit of Mount Bigelow, an airplane crash site, a waterfall, and many varieties of vegetation along the way. We may even see some butterflies!
    We will do this hike as a one-way shuttle. Starting at the Lower Bigelow Trailhead (7950') we will take the one-mile Bigelow Trail up to the summit of Mount Bigelow (8550') where there is an array of radio towers. Then we will backtrack a short distance to the junction with the Butterfly Trail. This trail will take us through scenic canyons descending to a low point of 6600' near Novio Spring. A short distance off-trail is the wreckage of an F-86 fighter plane that crashed here in 1957. A little further along is Novio Falls which may have some water flowing. After this the trail will begin to climb through more lush vegetation, with brief flat areas to catch our breath. We will eventually arrive at the Butterfly Trailhead (7700').
    Note that rainfall can be likely, so come prepared with rain gear.
•  Sturdy hiking boots
•  At least 3 liters of water
•  Rain poncho
•  Hat, sunblock, sunglasses
•  Snacks
•  Hiking poles
•  Camera
distance 6.2 miles
time 4-5 hours
EC +-2300' elevation change
elevations 6,200' (Novio Spring) to 8,550' (Mount Bigelow)
type one way
starting at
Lower Bigelow Trailhead 32.40963027° N,  110.71327329° W  
ending at
Butterfly Trailhead 32.42718200° N,  110.74081400° W  
on trail 100% — Bigelow Trail #520, Butterfly Trail #16
dogs? no
rating "B"     Rate yourself as a hiker.
cost Sharing gas expenses with the driver.
The club also allows voluntary contributions of $5/non-member.
weather Summerhaven
meet 7:00 AM in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel Restaurant at the northwest corner of I-10 and Chandler Blvd (5022 E Chandler Boulevard, Phoenix). Please try to park in the far east portion of the lot.
•  From the carpool location, take I-10 south toward Tucson.
Take exit 256 for Grant Road.
Turn left and follow Grant Road east for 8.5 miles to the junction with Tanque Verde Road.
Turn left on Tanque Verde Road and follow it for 3.3 miles to the junction with Catalina Highway. We will stop at the MacDonalds here to regroup.
Take Catalina Highway (Mount Lemmon Highway) for 24 miles to the Lower Bigelow Trailhead on the right side of the road, just before the Palisades Ranger Station.
The drivers will drop off their passengers at this trailhead and then proceed about 3 miles further up the road to the Butterfly Trailhead, leaving all but one vehicle there and returning to the Lower Bigelow Trailhead in the remaining vehicle.
Total driving time from the carpool location to the trailhead is about 2 hours 30 minutes. All roads are paved and suitable for any vehicle.
For those who want to eat afterwards, we plan to head 2 miles farther up the road toward the top of Mount Lemmon and eat at the Sawmill Run Restaurant in Summerhaven.

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updated August 13, 2017 © Copyright 2017, Arizona Trailblazers.  All rights reserved.