Gardner Canyon to Mount Wrightson

hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(14)
Mount Wrightson Wilderness

Gardner Canyon to Mount Wrightson is a 8.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Green Valley, Arizona that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.1 miles Elevation Gain: 3,356 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

views

wildlife

As mentioned before, the gate adds two miles to a fairly strenuous hike. However, for backpacking, this might be a fantastic trail. There is a good spot to camp at the saddle and an even better one, a grassy meadow, halfway between the saddle and Super Trail. Otherwise, I think Madera Canyon is more practical.

hiking
8 months ago

We hiked this on a beautiful October day with our 3 dogs and it was spectacular! We saw lots of bear scat, but no wildlife sightings. Plenty if water for the first 2 miles, but none after that. Fairly shady the whole way up. The trail is a bit overgrown midway up, but other than that it was easy to follow and in great shape! Beautiful flowers, foliage, and views. It took us about 8 hours to hike at a very leisurely rate. We hiked this on a Thursday and had the trail to ourselves. Ran into a couple of other hikers at the top that came up via Medera trail.

hiking
over grown
8 months ago

Can't decide whether this is more of a fantasy world or a visual feast, whether it's more fantastic or spectacular--fantacular or spectastic, you decide! (I kept thinking of Eragon and Gandalf and elves all day, certainly not of people though, for I saw none.) Lots of bear poop for the first couple of miles! Fairly constant grade all the way up. When you reach the top, you're on the roof of the world. Took my 51 year-old self six hours, a little food, and a gallon of water. Weather this time of year is perfect! Three issues, though, make this a four-star hike for me (instead of five). One, a locked gate moves the trailhead back a mile or so from where shown on the map. According to signs on the trail, this puts the round trip at just over 11 miles. (I wasn't expecting this.) Two, a four wheel drive (or dual sport motorcycle) is necessary to get you to the current trailhead. And three, the trail is overgrown throughout; several portions will be almost impossible to find, I should think, after another monsoon season or two. Hike it now, while you can! For me, when I do Wrightson again I will pay the fee and ascend from Madera Canyon.

hiking
Mon May 28 2018

A great, enjoyable trip. Completely quiet the whole way as it seems the three hikers I ran into at the top had take the shorter Western route. The views are spectacular up top and there is plenty of wildlife along the way. It gets windy as you get higher so a light jacket may be useful in the spring months. The environment changes multiple times, from low tree filled creeks to brush thick saddles, then transitioning to the spars burnt woods at the timberline and steep cliff switchbacks right before the top. Took me almost three hour up (I was pushing hard), and just about two hours down as I was trying to beat dusk (I failed). It's. challenge, but the view at too is definitely worth it.

hiking
Sun May 28 2017

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!

hiking
Thu Feb 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

hiking
12 days ago

hiking
12 days ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

ohv/off road driving
10 months ago

hiking
Sun Apr 28 2019

Mon Jan 15 2018