Explore the most popular camping trails in Mount Wrightson Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

It was an all day affair to do the hike up and back, but very worth it. Some woodsy area trail at first, then rocky and winding. Elevation is at about 9,400 ft.+

The peak has views to die for, and in fact some people have done just that! Three boy scouts were lost to the elements in the 1950s, and their ghosts continue to haunt the area to this day. For this reason, backpackers and campers beware, as well as those staying past twilight. I'd rate this trail four of five Sour Patch Kids.

Hard! But a great hike. Beautiful scenery and a great sense of accomplishment

Great trails in and around the loop, would definitely recommend!

2 months ago

Killer steep climb up Vault Mine Trail for a little over a mile at the start. The rest of the loop was absolutely lovely. Preferred the steep climb to steep descent this time of year with all the snow.

The loop is only about 6.5 miles from the parking lot. The app trail map takes two loops around.

Nice hike but you will never see a trail sign that says Carrie Nation trail. What's up with that? We were always wondering if we were even on the right trail.

The Baldy trail up to Josephine Saddle is an amazing trail which nice and challenging. It was our first time up the trail and took us 2 hrs and 30 minutes. The local hikers who do this same trail every week say it only takes them about 1 hr and 30 to 45 minutes. But we stopped and took a lot of pictures along the way because the scenery is spectacular. We went back down on the Super Trail which took us about the same time as going up. But we were hiking down at a fast pace. We each drank about a liter of water during the whole hike. If you are out of shape it will be a difficult hike and i would suggest you start out on easier hikes first.

Awesome hike! Challenging but worth it for the view. Took 6 hours with some time at the top.

This hike was definitely hard and long. The views make it worth it though. There was ice and snow on some of the trail which slowed us down. It look us 7 hours. We intended to do the 10 miles but must of taken a wrong turn and when it was all said I’m done we were over 14 miles. Either way great hike, and no bears!

This is an awesome trail. Beautiful and shaded almost all the way through. It's difficult, but very clearly marked and evenly graded throughout. If you are going quickly, 5 hours is plenty. If you're taking your time and enjoying the hike, plan for 7 hours. Definitely worth the effort to make it to the top!

Went to the saddle last year but went all the way to the top and it was killer! So worth it just wish I trained a little more before.

Amazing! Took a little over 4 hours with lots of time to observe deer and birds!

Well marked, and in good condition. hard is the correct level.

7 months ago

I have hiked this loop a few times, and you can do it in either direction. However, hiking up the Vault Mine trail is a lesson in what a steep trail is all about. After a few times ascending the Vault, I no longer choose that option. It's bad enough coming down it. So I hike up the Old Baldy trail out of the upper parking lot to Josephine Saddle, then across from there on the Agua Caliente trail, and then down the Vault. The Old Baldy trail to the saddle is moderate, then the Agua Caliente section from the saddle to the cut off to the Vault is easy, and the Vault trail is really steep. So you get a good mix of everything on this loop. Great views along the AC section back towards Wrightson. The mileage calculated on the opening review above is not correct. It's only about 6 1/2 miles total. It took me just about 3 hours, with a short break at Josephine Saddle. Each section took me an hour, but I hike fairly fast. Check it out!!

8 months ago

The trail was a little overgrown at this time of year but was easy to follow. Very quiet and peaceful trail. We didn't encounter any other people. Most of the trail is shaded which makes it nice. You'll cross a small stream a handful of times that will be flowing during monsoon season. The trail is actually close to 2.5 miles long and gets fairly steep the final mile. All in all, a very nice hike.

11 months ago

Beautiful trail through shaded forest. I hiked passed the old mine to connect to the agua caliente and as others have said - it is very very steep for this part. Then took the super trail back to the parking lot - beautiful hike! I did see lots of beautiful birds and bear scat but no bears.

For a fairly active guy like myself I would also rate it hard but more than worth it

This is a nice-lesser travelled-alternative to the Madera Canyon route. However, getting to the trailhead takes a lot longer and you need a high-clearance vehicle (not necessarily 4WD). Also bear in mind it's less shady than doing it from the west so bring a hat and don't wait till it's 94F like I did!

tough hike, but great views! bring plenty of water!!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I hiked the Carrie Nation Mine trail it with another adult and a 9-year-old boy. The trail is generally easy to moderate until one gets to the mine The mine is a fine terminus to many hikers, with a stream leaving the mine shaft and pieces of old machinery around. There is a "End of the trail" marker by the mine, after the trail turns sharply left. Past the sign, the trail appears to lead into a stream bed. To go further up, we turned back to the mine site and took a side trail that leads further up slope. From here until joining with the Agua Caliente trail, the trail was steep, narrow, and occasionally splitting. We ignored all splits leading left and down and kept going up. Because of the gradient, going up this part of the trail during rain might end with a muddy skid down. After a while, we passed a camp site. Once on Agua Caliente trail towards Josephine Saddle, it is generally gently down. We returned back to the picnic area by Super Trail, a longer and more leisurely alternative with glorious views of Mt Wrightson along the way.

Favorite hike in Tucson! Shaded until Baldy saddle and great views the entire route. We hit the trail at 6AM and were on top at 8:30AM. It was a steady up hill ascent but no boulders or big rocks to scramble up so I think the hike is medium difficulty not hard.

Favorite hike in southern Arizona. Done several seasons, including a pre-monsoon uncomfortable bivouac on the summit (not much flat). Gorgeous sunrise...

Hiked this yesterday with my sister, neither of us being veteran hikers. That being said, it was a beautiful hike with lots of trees and spectacular views. We made it to Bellows Springs, just short of the Old Baldy Saddle. There was snow on the ground from a spring storm along the trail. The ascent, for us, was relentlessly steep uphill. I think the Super Trail may be longer but not such a steep climb. We saw several younger and athletically fit people virtually sprinting up and down, but it was a challenge for we women in our 50's! But as a charming and cheerful young man skipping down the trail said, "We're all in this together!" Grateful we decided to tackle this, there were moments on the trail where it felt as though we were deep in the wilderness, what a blessed relief during these turbulent times.

My son and hike this trail to the Mt Wrightson summit a couple years ago. Beautiful and fairly challenging trail, but not too difficult. Great valet views. It is a well traveled trail, but does have a lot of exposed rock and loose gravel. Would recommend good shoes and a hat. My son missed this point and had about a dozen blister by the time we finished. Offers plenty of shade, but does have areas of full exposure. The trail ends at Baldy Saddle and there are several options for going back down. It is just a short, but exhausting 0.9 miles to the summit from there and once at the top you can see a beautiful 360 degree view including many of the sky islands. We chose to go down the same way and it was pretty tough on the knees and ankles, but not too bad. I would liken this trail to South Kaibab Trail and have heard that many in the area use it as a training trail for such canyon hikes.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

I rated this as difficult as the trail is so seldom used, it's hard to find in many places, and it does get steep towards the top. I did this years ago and so I can't speak for what it might look like now. It is very quiet up this trail as you will probably encounter no one. Grasses get very tall at the end of summer on the lower section. This puts you on top of Agua Caliente saddle as your destination. With an extra vehicle, or someone to pick you up, you could go down the Vault Mine trail back to Madera Canyon as an option. I returned the same way to where I parked along the Agua Caliente road.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

I haven't hiked this trail since they blocked the road to the actual trailhead. But I used to hike this trail a lot years ago. Mostly due to there never being anyone over here. Not sure why they gated the road about a mile from the trailhead, and I probably won't do this trail again because of it. It's a long enough hike as it is from the trailhead. This mapped out at 9 miles, but I think it's more like 10 total. I did this once in the winter of 83' too. That year the Santa Rita's saw a lot of snow, and we walked in snow pretty much the whole way. Gardner creek seems to always have water in it, no matter what time of year. That was another reason I came over here a lot. It is a little higher than Madera Canyons parking area, and so the vegetation is a little different. Lots of Ponderosas right by the trailhead. This was always a great spot to camp too, and we did that often. The trail is a fairly steady climb the whole way up. Very wooded so lots of shade. That may not be the case anymore in some spots though since the 05' fire. I haven't been up there since that. So if you don't mind tacking on another 2 miles to this hike, I would do it as it is a nice canyon

Thursday, February 23, 2017

This trail can be hiked in either direction. I have drawn this heading up to the Carrie Nation Mine site, across the Agua Caliente trail back to Josephine Saddle, and then down the old Baldy trail. Beyond the mine, the trail is very steep until it gets to the Agua Caliente trail. It climbs about 800' in a very short distance. This stretch is a real pull. Once on the Agua Caliente trail,, bear left and it is easy going to Josephine Saddle. At the saddle, you will head down the Old Baldy trail back to the parking lot. An alternate descent is going down the Super Trail. That will add about a mile and a half though. But it is a real easy downhill. The Old Baldy trail is steeper.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

I did this hike a few years ago, and it was a tough hike. I may not have the exact path here as some of it is on trails that people have made. My Garmin read 8 miles for this total. From the parking lot, you take the super trail until you cross the creek, and then a short distance after is the cutoff on the left, not signed, to what is called the pipeline trail. This is a well walked trail and takes you to the springs trail. Which is an old access road actually. From that jct., you head up that creek drainage until you get to another jct. that cuts back to the left. You have to be looking for it or you'll go right by. Probably a half mile from the springs jct. This will take you to Rodgers Rock. From Rodgers Rock, there is a use trail that someone started that goes up a steep ridge and connects to the springs trail again, but you will bear right. The ridge from Rodgers is the toughest section. Now you are on the trail to Armour springs. This section is a little overgrown due to the fact it is not used by many. It will take you to a saddle which has been given the name The Shovel. Lots of new ponderosas growing since the fire in 05'. This is right below the burned out saddle that is along the crest trail. This would be a great spot to camp as it is wide open with lots of places you could pitch a tent. So this is for the adventurous as it involves a little of everything!!

Snow packed on trail around 8000 feet in mid-February. Great views, fairly challenging ascent but not overwhelming.

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