Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
Pima Canyon Trail Day Hike
when Trip Report : Saturday, March 14, 2020
where Santa Catalina Mountains, Tucson
the hike     The Pima Canyon Trail is the featured “Hike of the Month” in the February issue of Arizona Highways. Since this hike has never been done before by the Trailblazers, it will be a brand-new hike for us and thus an exploratory hike as well.
    Pima Canyon is described by the magazine as “a lush desert portal into the alluring Santa Catalina Mountains.” The first 2,000 feet of trail passes between private homes before soon entering the 60,000-acre Pusch Ridge Wilderness.
    From a level beginning, the trail begins to ascend the south face of Pusch Ridge, dipping in and out of Pima Creek Wash, which is normally dry. Eventually, the trail parallels a riparian area along the creek bed, with huge cottonwood and sycamore trees, mixed with large oaks, lining the creek and framed by towering cliffs.
    The trail goes back and forth across Pima Creek, which could be a real challenge with enough running water. We eventually come across a large expanse of flat rock with numerous ancient metates used for grinding corn. Just beyond this point an unmarked spur trail leads to what is generally referred to as “first dam”.
    This dam was built in the 1960s by Arizona Game & Fish to provide a permanent water source for local wildlife, including bighorn sheep, which we will hopefully spot somewhere along the trail. This will be a good place to take a lunch and rest break.
    Pima Canyon Trail continues for another 5.5 miles until it intersects with the Finger Rock Trail. We can continue to explore beyond the dam for a while, but from this point on the trail gets much steeper and increasingly difficult to follow as it slowly works its way up the steep upper slopes of Mount Kimball.
•  Sturdy hiking boots
•  At least 3 liters of water
•  Rain poncho
•  Hat, sunblock, sunglasses
•  Lunch or snacks
•  Camera
distance 6-8 miles round trip
time 4-5 hours
EC +-1015' elevation change
elevations 2,916' at Pima Canyon Trailhead to 3,931' at first dam
type round trip
starting at Pima Canyon Trailhead
on trail 100% — Pima Canyon Trail
rating "C"     Rate yourself as a hiker.
dogs allowed no
cost Sharing gas expenses with the driver.
The club also allows voluntary contributions of $5 per non-member.
weather Tucson
meet 7:00 AM in the parking lot south of Einstein Bros. Bagels on the SE corner of 48th Street & Ray Road, west of I-10. For those leaving their cars behind, please park up against the west curb of the parking lot, not in the Einstein’s common parking area.
•  Drive on I-10 southeast toward Tucson.
Exit the freeway eastbound at Cortaro Road (Exit 246), just south of the Marana area and one mile north of Ina Road. If you reach Ina Road you’ve gone too far.
Continue eastbound on Cortaro Road, which becomes Cortaro Farms Road and then Magee Road for a total of 8.8 miles to the Pima Canyon Trailhead.
You will drive past St. Mark’s United Methodist Church (on the right) and then past the traffic light for Oracle Road. Continue driving through an upscale housing area with several roundabouts.
The road finally comes to a dead end at a spacious parking lot on the right for the Pima Canyon Trail.
There are no restrooms located at the trailhead.

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updated March 18, 2020 © Copyright 2020, Arizona Trailblazers.  All rights reserved.