Welcome to Saguaro National Park Tucson, Arizona is home to the nation's largest cacti. The giant saguaro is the universal symbol of the American west. These majestic plants, found only in a small portion of the United States, are protected by Saguaro National Park, to the east and west of the modern city of Tucson. Here you have a chance to see these enormous cacti, silhouetted by the beauty of a magnificent desert sunset. In the Tucson Mountain District (west), the park is open to vehicles from sunrise to sunset daily. (Actual times vary throughout the year). The Rincon Mountain District (east), the park is open to vehicles from 7:00 a.m. (if staffing permits, gates may open earlier) to sunset daily. You can walk or bike into the park 24 hours a day.
Audrey H. on Safford Peak Trail
Good workout. Loose footing increases the difficulty, and it's easy to go off trail.
We got off-trail several times on our way to the top but somehow always managed to find out way back on. The hiking app mostly kept us on the trail until we got close to the top, then we were able to follow the cairns the rest of the way. If you are into self-punishment this hike is for you. Gloves wouldn't hurt, either, as there are loose rocks in many, many places. We also encountered bees at the top so watch yourself!! The views, however, are really nice so bring your camera.
Those of you who say this trail is easy must be American Ninja Warriors. Though it didn't kill me and my 17 year old son, we had a tremendous sense of accomplishment by the time the hike was over. We considered turning around at least 3 different times, but each time chose to press on. Thank you to whoever set up the cairns. They were a tremendous guide for us to make it to the summit. Our primary difficulty was about a dozen hornets at the top. Never found the book to sign because we were surrounded by small poisonous aircraft. Decided to punt to the front eastern peak rather than the highest more western peak. Nonetheless, the view was insanely beautiful. Would totally do this hike again. I strongly recommend at least some sort of hiking boot, or even better, an off road running shoe. I bought some the night before and felt like a mountain goat up there. My son, on the other hand, struggled a bit with his cross-trainers. Just not enough studs for all of the rock dust and jaggedness. Also, as recommended by others, do not do this climb w/o at least 3, 20 oz. bottles of water. We climbed at about 65-70 degrees. That would not have been enough water in hotter temps. Also, have your 17 yr. old son carry the backpack. :)
We really enjoyed the hike. We're just starting out and this peak is in our backyard. It's not easy and if not for the cairns we would have been lost. Getting to the top was exciting (I'm by far a small person) and gave me a great sense of accomplishment. I'm looking to see what else is nearby so we can keep the momentum up.
Sara Ann B. on Safford Peak Trail
It's a great hike. Not for a beginner. We didn't have a map or anyone with us who knew the trail towards the top of the peak so it was a guessing game on whether we were even on the correct trail.
The view from the top is breathtaking and you will know you have made it to the top when you find the log book to sign your name and take a deep breath before your descent.
As you head down be careful of all of loose rocks. The trail isn't marked and had a difficult time remembering which way we came up, so it took longer to go down then up.
I wouldn't do this hike again. The only reason we even knew where we were going was because of my phone. The view is great but there is too many loose rocks. Going up isn't too bad but coming down is a nightmare.
It's a moderately hard hike, but I would def use your phone to find the trail or you are going to get lost.
This peak is commonly called Sombrero. I live near it, so I have climbed it often. Close to a dozen times in the past year. I find it to be a good workout and the views are stupendous.
This is classified as a primitive trail. Meaning it is not maintained by the NPS; it is not found on any topo maps or in any publications; and very little information can be found on the Internet about this trail. If you go, please be careful. There are steep and slippery spots where it is easy to fall. Hike with buddies. Or, be sure to bring a cell phone with you. I was able to pick up a signal on my cell all the way to the summit.
Most importantly, respect this mountain. Stay on established trails and don't create erosion by bush whacking or creating rock slides. It would be sad if this mountain started to look like Squaw Peak in Phoenix: devoid of all vegetation. There is no water on this trail. Bring at least 2 liters if you plan to go to the summit.
You can find the trailhead in the Sanctuary. There is a designated parking area. Basically, you must head due west from the parking area and start climbing to the ridge when you see a trail marked by a decaying saguaro that has fallen to the left of the trail. After that, the trail is fairly well marked with rock cairns but it still very easy to lose the trail. I have tried to mark it with bright fluorescent tape but someone has removed my markings.
This is an awesome hike/climb....have done it 15-20 times, my favorite Tucson hike. I have been up the gully to the left of the huge rock face. Go into the gully and near the end you will climb to the right....near the top veer to the left and the. Right again to the top. If you choose the other way, before you get to the major gully there is a new trail just past the large outcropping....it will take you left from the trail and around the base of the peak....do not drop too low when you get to the backside....there are cairns most of the way. Once you get near the top there are several ways up and over the ridges and it is an enjoyable climbing experience though it is exposed in places.
5 stars because this hike delivered the experience we were seeking, rugged adventure close to home. Safford Peak has no easy hiking route to its summit. The easiest route, shown on the map, has a loose unnerving class 2 scree slope/chute at the end near the summit. The other major route has class 3/4 rock climbing below the summit and also has a steep loose class 2 chute.
The route my 11 year old son and I took was the climbing route. Now I say rock climbing, but you don't necessarily need a rope. This is the route often found accidentally by people looking for the "hiking" route. As you follow the main directions to get to the peak, you will veer right, west, along the slope just below the summit cliff cone, while the hiking route stays left/straight, south, to traverse south then west along the southern base of the cliffs before turning right and up to the summit on the southwest side. This is a very subtle "trail" junction at around 3100 feet in elevation; when we went this past weekend it was hard to see even though someone had marked it with survey tape.
From this junction, head right, west, across the slope toward the massive eastern wall. Listen and watch for peregrine falcons that roost on the cliff and soar over your head sometimes. Just before you reach the wall, you will enter a hidden north-facing chute. Turn left, south and up, into the chute and try not to dislodge any boulders that could crush your friends. This section is class 2 loose scree with some hands needed to climb over small rock steps. Near the top of the chute, the route heads straight into the rock wall on the right, west.
This is the point that many people turn around because you now must climb to get to the summit. I will give a description of the route that minimizes the danger on this route, but keep in mind I still call this class 4 rock climbing in spots, which means a fall could be fatal. Do not attempt this unless you are comfortable climbing, and even then, you might want a rope.
From the end of the "trail", traverse right a few feet, north, on the cliff above a hackberry bush to a chimney up the face. Once you get to the chimney, please look back and down to comprehend the height you've already gained just from this little traverse. Falls can be serious on this final section. My son roped up here because the exposure made him nervous. Climb the chimney to its top at a ledge. Traverse right, north, on this ledge into a gully heading up to an "amphitheater"/headwall. At the base of the amphitheater, make another traverse right, north, along blocks to the next gully. Head steeply up this gully, climbing over some steps, until you reach the headwall. This is the crux of this climb. This section is 4th class rock climbing - like climbing a ladder on the side of a cliff, easy but dangerous if you fall. Although this section is harder than previous, my son felt okay being unroped because he was used to the exposure and was just having fun climbing. I was nervous for him, but he has been rock climbing a lot lately, so I felt confident he could handle it.
At the top of the headwall, it is fun scrambling southwest over talus blocks to the summit. The views are great. And the feeling of solitude and remoteness can still be felt due to the roughness of the area. Now all you have to do is pick poison for the descent - steep downclimbing or steep loose scree. Cheers!
A friend of mine and I attempted the hike to the summit this morning and I am fairly certain we made a wrong turn or two. It began well enough with some challenging, but none too crazy trails with minimal switchbacks. This was all at about a 15% grade. This then became a 25-30% scramble through loose rocks and dirt. I was jokingly referring to this as the "Ravine of Death" as we came upon what was no longer a hike, but honest to goodness rock climbing. After scaling a couple of areas, we made the decision to call it a day. I believe we got a glimpse of the storied Ridge of Death, but it would have been treacherous to continue from where we were. We were still a good distance from the summit and round trip this took us 2:50 and at a reasonably good pace. Nonetheless, it was a good workout, but I hate nit achieving the peak. Any thoughts on where we went wrong?
There are over five million routes one could take to get to the top, ALL of which are ankle busting nightmares. The only thing you really need to know is to get to the cliff area and then go counterclockwise around the peak and do the final quarter mile climb from the southwest, just about directly on the side nearest Wasson Peak. Be prepared for scree slope all the way of that last quarter mile. The view from the top and on the way up is fantastic!!! Anybody who can do this hike in under three hours must be Superman. Take a good camera because you will never do this hike again!!!
Your trail description needs updating. You turn off of Silverbell Road onto Continental Reserve Loop, not Coachline which actually heads away from the peak. You can no longer park at Sanctuary Cove, but instead you must park in the large dirt lot about 50 yards north of the Cove on the west side of Scenic Drive. Walk back to Sanctuary Cove, walk up the road to the chapel, and go through the amphitheater behind the chapel to an obvious trail,. There are a bunch of trails in this area, but if you generally head west and slightly north, you will find the way. At a signed quote and a sign that reads "White Runkin" you take the dog leg south on a well-worn path. Eventually, when you come to a quote from Terry Tempest Williams about deserts, to head uphill on a trail that will intersect another nice flat, well-worn trail. This takes you to the saddle between Safford Peak and s smaller peak to the east,. From here, the trail heads uphill again to the base of the cliffs that form the peak, and then at another saddle, you head south around the peak to the west side. Eventually, you will see a trail heading up a open scree slope--this is the route to the top, Take your time and find firm footing if you can--the rocks are loose and there have been numerous rock slides obliterating parts of the path. There is a registery box up at the top,