Gardner Canyon to Mount Wrightson

HARD 3 reviews
#10 of 20 trails in

Gardner Canyon to Mount Wrightson is a 8.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Madera Canyon, 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.

8.1 miles
3356 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash




nature trips





11 months ago

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!

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

4 months ago