Tucson Mountain Park
Enter at Gates Pass Rd.
10 miles west of downtown Tucson
Some of the best desert hiking in the region can be found at the sprawling saguaro-crowded Tucson Mountain Park west of Tucson. Here the trails are rocky and sandy, moderately flat, and thickly lined with desert vegetation. The nearly five-mile round-trip Brown Mountain Trail leads through a cactus forest along the sandy bottomlands between the mountains, then rises gradually to a ridgeline that looks out on the hard country all around.
You can access the trailhead at the Brown Mountain Picnic Area or the Juan Santa Cruz Picnic Area, both a bit southeast of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum off Kinney Road.
Just before you reach the valley after the steep descent from Gates Pass, there’s a parking lot and trailhead where you can pick up the five-and-a-half-mile David Yetman Trail, named for the host of the PBS show The Desert Speaks.
There’s another trailhead at Camino de Oeste—and if you leave a car at both ends you won’t have to do a more-than-10-mile there-and-back trudge. Pima County’s Natural Resources Department keeps a map of the trails around Tucson Mountain Park on their website.
© Tim Hull from Moon Tucson, 1st Edition