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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Take a hike: Five trails around Tucson

Dave Bezaire

Tucson is home to some of the best hiking trails in the world. If you ever find yourself craving fresh air and the great outdoors, here’s some of the five best hiking trails in the area listed from easy to difficult.

Tumamoc Hill

Located right next to “A” Mountain, Tumamoc Hill is a unique hiking trail that offers beautiful views of the city. The paved trail winds back and forth for 2.9 miles up a steep incline that leads to a University of Arizona research station which studies different concepts in ecology and other scientific topics. The hill has an abundance of desert wildlife, which hikers are able to enjoy along the trail. The only downsides are that the trail is closed from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for the convenience of the research center, and pets are not allowed to enter due to the studies being conducted on the surrounding wildlife. But, if you’re looking for a relatively easy trail with amazing views and nature, Tumamoc Hill is definitely worth a try.

David Yetman Trail

Named after a famous research social scientist, the David Yetman Trail is only a short drive west of Tucson and is a great hiking spot that connects to the Gates Pass and Star Pass trails as well. The trail is moderately difficult. The 12 mile hike takes you south of the Tucson Mountains, then up an incline headed west towards a valley that sits at the base of Golden Gate Mountain. This trail is wonderful because it gets you out of the city and gives a sense of peaceful isolation in the desert. Horses are able to ride this trail, and if you don’t want to do the full 12 miles, the hike can be shortened to only six miles if you have someone pick you up at the end of the trail.

RELATED: More than just views: Here’s what to expect when trekking on the trails of Tucson

Tanque Verde Falls

The hike to Tanque Verde Falls on the far east side of Tucson is a quick 1.8 miles that takes you through flat terrain, over steep boulders and across five waterfalls ranging from 20 to 100 feet in height and varying in difficulty. The main waterfall at the end of the trail can be breathtaking during the rainy season, but also dangerous due to the risk of flash flooding. The rewards are worth the risk since it hosts some of the most beautiful views of desert nature in Tucson. This hike has something for everyone; those who just want to relax can enjoy the peacefulness of the canyon’s running water, and the more adventurous hiker can jump off tall cliffs into the pools of waterfalls below. With that said, Tanque Verde Falls is one of the most dangerous places to hike in Tucson, so always use caution. 

Seven Falls

At Sabino Canyon lies one of the most popular and well-known hiking trails in Tucson, Seven Falls. This hike takes you through beautiful Bear Canyon and past seven waterfalls, so expect to get your feet wet. At the main entrance, hikers can pay a small fee to take a tram to the start of the Seven Falls trail, or walk the two miles instead. The trail to the waterfalls ascends quickly past many different types of desert wildlife and stunning views, but can be a difficult up-hill hike. It’s worth it in the end when the trail rounds a corner and reveals the magnificent waterfalls. Hikers will often spend a few hours at the waterfalls climbing rocks, swimming in the pools and even eating lunch before making their way back down to the starting point. This hiking trail can sometimes be difficult depending on how much water is running through the canyon, so always be careful when crossing the falls.

RELATED: Outdoor Adventures leads a moonlight hike for UA students, families

Finger Rock Trail

Sitting just north of town in Catalina State Park is the Finger Rock trail, known as one of the most difficult hikes to try in Tucson. This 8.2 mile trail tests the average hiker by leading up 4,000 feet in elevation to give you amazing views of the Catalina mountains. Finger Rock Canyon received its unique name because its rock formation resembles a closed hand with the index finger extended to make a No. 1 sign. This trail is known for it’s difficulty, since it requires a narrow, steep hike uphill and some rock climbing as well. For those who are up for the challenge, Finger Rock trail will give you beautiful rugged scenery, awesome views of Tucson and diverse flora from saguaro cacti to pine trees.

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