Box Spring Trail is a 5.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Mt Lemmon, AZ that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions from Tucson: Trailhead access is from the Catalina Highway about 100 to 150 yards uphill from the Spencer Canyon turnoff (in the vicinity of milepost 22). The lower end of the trail can be reached via the Sabino Canyon Trail #23 and East Fork Trail #24A.
This trail was great to start off with as it follows the Box Camp trail which a well kept wide and well traveled track. However things changed after we made the 90 degree turn off the Box Camp trail and headed toward the creek. After about 1/3 of a mile this portion get very narrow almost overgrown (although apparently this is way better than the trail has been) and extremely steep (where we would have to slide down the rocks). We did not make it to the creek because the going was so rough.
Sara Ann B.
Nice trail. Shady and cool up by the trailhead and gets steadily warmer as you get lower in elevation. We followed previous hikers recommendations and only hiked about 2.5-3 miles down the trail before heading back to avoid the summer heat. Beautiful pine forests at the beginning and absolutely stunning views of the mountains and valley below once you break the tree line. Moderate to low traffic based on our experience, definitely a good choice if you want to avoid the more popular spots.
We completed the first portion of the trail from the trailhead to the off-shoot for the Box Spring Trail, did a small portion of that (too steep and not as well maintained) then hiked back. The trailhead has its own small parking area. The trail starts with a short switchback up a small hill directly behind the trailhead sign then goes into a series of small up/downhill sections. You get some nice views here before hiking down into the valley. Once you start on a steady downhill, there are a lot of large pines with little underbrush, which gives it a nice open, meadow-like feel. It's mostly shaded with some sunny portions. We had our dog with us and he *loved* this trail! It was challenging enough to keep it interesting but not too dangerous for him and not too rough on his paws.
beautiful morning... nice views, great company
Look at comments under "Box Camp Trail". To get to the Box Spring Trail, you need to hike 1.8 miles down the Box Camp Trail to a signed junction at 7500'. From there you can hike northwest to Box Spring, a distance of 0.4 miles. Another 0.5 miles will take you down to Sabino Creek at 6750'. This is probably where the 0.9 miles in this site's Trip Info comes from. But the last half mile is now a steep bushwhack, not trail.
The Box Camp Trail leads from the Hitchcock Highway (i.e., the Mt. Lemmon Highway) down to Sabino Basin, though you may choose to hike from the Basin up the mountain. The trailhead is over 8050' and you drop to 3600'. Today it was 30F at the start and 80F at the bottom, so it is smart to avoid the lower portions of this trail May - September, and there may be snow and ice at the top in winter. The trail is not hard to follow, and it is spectacular especially the top half. I prefer to the nearby Palisade Trail.
Once you make it to Sabino Basin, you still have 2.5 miles to hike to the tram in Sabino Canyon, or you can avoid the fee for the tram by walking out yet an additional 4.5 mile from the tram on the Phoneline Trail. So this becomes about a 10 mile day with a vertical descent of about 5000'.
Note that the Google map at this site shows the Box Spring Trail, which leaves the Box Camp Trail at 7550', 1.8 miles from the trailhead. It is possible to hike to Sabino Creek (formerly a trail, now a steep bushwhack) or bushwhack to Brinkley Point from the end of the route shown on this map.
I looked for the trail head for Box Camp Trail. The map takes you to a road called N Box Camp Place located on the northwest side of Tucson. However, if you look under the directions after going to the "edit" section, it tells you to go to a trail near Sabino Canyon. There needs to be clearer information regarding the location of these trailheads. It can be very frustrating!!!
Nice trail went in and out saw a cool hawk. Lot's of wildflowers this time