King Canyon Trail to Wasson Peak

MODERATE 82 reviews
#4 of 56 trails in

King Canyon Trail to Wasson Peak is a 6.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Tucson, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Horses are also able to use this trail.

6.5 miles
1,807 feet
Out & Back



horseback riding

nature trips

trail running



wild flowers


no dogs

1 day ago

Great, beautiful views throughout the hike. It is actually 7 miles to the top of the peak according to the maps at the visitor center and at the beginning of the hike! Don’t let that moderate rating fool you, the last 1.2 miles of the hike are more on the difficult side for sure. Worth it though! Just give yourself time!

3 days ago

Great hike today. Not too hot and some clouds. We did the loop which added a little extra mileage. The trail was a steady ascent with some level patches. The last mile was steep but had switchbacks. The view at the summit was wonderful- a full 360. There were open views the entire hike. Highly recommend.

7 days ago

Nice hike. Take the loop for nicer scenery on the way down. I watched two bucks and three does.

15 days ago

Views were beautiful at the top. It was definitely worth the hike. We did the full loop by taking the trail to the right on the way down. This trail down seemed much sandier and easier to go down on.

1 month ago

Great trail, annoying small rocks for about 3/4 mile in the beginning , but rest of trail is great to top!

3 months ago

Lots of loose rocks, but the view is breathtaking. I almost turned around before the final mile but so glad I didn’t. Took me 4 hours but I stopped various spots for pics & a break. Best hike I’ve taken in Tucson area. But my feet are killing me now

8 months ago

Awesome trail run! Nearly went through 3L of my CamelBak... maybe because of Saturday night? Great views up top. Whoever scrawled in the register: "Trump help Russia", really not sure what you meant. 4/5 Sour Patch Kids for trail running. Super fun running in the wash at the beginning and end!

10 months ago

Impromptu day trip to Saguaro National Park panned out pretty well! Breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains and Arizona wilderness. 3/59 National Parks visited.

10 months ago

Gets better and better, best part is last mile

11 months ago

What a great trail! I’ve been on roughly five so far in the Tucson area and this was my favorite. For the first mile, the gravel is very loose, but there is not much incline so it is not a huge problem. But the view at the top is awesome, you get a complete 360 degree view of the entire Tucson area. Highly recommend this hike!

11 months ago

Fun, modest hike two days ago. Would be an excellent place for trailrunning, but not having access to a shower I opted to hike the trail instead. Modest elevation gain until the last mile when a series of switchbacks climb to a ridge where for the final .3 miles to the top. Nice views of the park, desert, and city below. Bring lots of water. While it can be warm to hot at the trailhead, the summit can be windy and chilly.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The summit of Wasson Peak presents a spectacular view of the greater Tucson area. Well worth the effort to take the hike. However, the King Canyon Trail has much to be desired. The footing on much of the trail is problematic with large 2”-4” stones that make up much of the trail surface until the point where the trail marker says 1.2 miles to top of Wasson Peak. Slipped many times and almost rolled my ankle and twisted my knee during the hike. That last 1.2 miles to the summit was a much better surface. Consider other routes such as Sweetwater trail to that point where you have 1.2 miles to go. Hiked in Sunday, 22 October 2017. Greg & Patty

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

i guess u have to have a permit to hike here. take someone with you because its sketch going alone. But definitely interesting things to see out here

Monday, January 16, 2017

This Saguaro National Park trail to Wasson Peak wound through a dry wash (scrambling required!), up along a ridge with incredible views (one pictured here), over a saddle with a spectacular view of Tucson, then up to the peak. Varied terrain with amazing vistas. Definitely recommend!

Friday, January 06, 2017

The path was rocky and your feet hurt by the time you got back down. The second time we walked up the wash which was much easier and a easier climb. There were pictographs on each sides of the walls when you get to one of the large falls in the wash. Just before you get to the choice of walking the trail one way or another. We continued to walk up the wash and take the right split. The left split will take you up the wash and you can spot two of the old mines they used to try and get copper out of. The right wash takes you up another 1/4 mile or so to a path on the right. Although there are a few air sucking climbs, the path turns into a once service road and up to the saddle. Much much easier on your feet then the King Canyon Trail itself.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

WHEW this was rocky. I'm really not sure how I didn't sprain an ankle. The incline is a little much for a new hiker like myself. BUT I made it to the top and it was 100% worth it. Do this hike on a cooler day.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

I loved this hike. It took me just under 3 hours on an 80 degree September day. I took the high road, went to Wasson Peak, and turned around, going back the same way. The whole way up is a great incline, and the way down is easy. Can't move too fast due to rocks.
I didn't see one other person. Trail is well marked and no bushwhacking needed, always a plus.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Beautiful wild flowers in late March.
Take care around the Africanized bees. Feeding on flowers they were pretty docile, but can be very defensive around their hive ( which we had to walk within 5m of to get past).

Saturday, March 12, 2016

great trail! the views are fantastic! not too crowded, but definitely well used. I did see some of the petroglyphs on the lower wash trail! the bird watching was great too!!

Friday, December 26, 2014

From the Kinney Road parking area, you have two options for this trail. You can take "the high road," which follows what appears to be a service road, or you can drop down and follow the wash. The two options rejoin at the junction near the Mam-a-Gah picnic area. I took the low road, hiking along the wash. This offers some nice views or the rock walls along the wash, and the opportunity to climb over some ledges in the streambed. The wash portion is marked as trail, though only for hikers. Signs are placed to discourage equestrians, bikes, etc. from this section, and for good reason.

Hiking along the wash, the trail starts out as loose sand. Beyond the turn-off to the picnic area, the trail is primarily hard-packed dirt and loose rock.

As with the other trails in this area, King Canyon is well-marked and easy to follow. The ascent to the Sweetwater Saddle offers some beautiful views of Tucson Mountain Park and the open desert beyond. The day I hiked, there were numerous other hikers using the trail, but not so many as to think it was crowded. I would meet other hikers perhaps every ten to twenty minutes or so, but spent most of the hike enjoying the quiet of the desert.

This is a nice trail to take your time on, with periodic stops to enjoy the scenery or take pictures. You can do a simple out-and-back, or turn at the Sweetwater Saddle and return via a different loop from Wasson Peak along the Hugh Norris trail. According to one of my books on Tucson Trails, there are some petroglyphs along a portion of the King Canyon trail, and I need to go hike it again and see these for myself.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A great summer hike. Plenty of shade and the blooming saguaros were beautiful! The trailhead is unmarked from the road though so make sure you have a map.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

You are in the west section of Saguaro NP, so the Park Service brochure, with link below, is useful. Various loops are possible. After 2.3 miles you arrive at the Sweetwater Saddle. From there you may continue ahead down the Sweetwater Trail or turn left to continue up the King Canyon Trail. At 3.1 miles you reach the Hugh Norris Trail, where you can take a right to go another 0.3 miles to the summit of Wasson Peak, the high point of the Tucson Mountains, or turn left to go down the Hugh Norris Trail. On a clear day, the views are excellent and include Weavers Needle in the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix and the observatories on Kitt Peak in the Quinlan Mountains to the west.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

We made a loop of King Canyon, Sendero Esperanza and Gould Mine trails: 2.5 miles. Lovely views with a stop at the Mam-A-Gah picnic area. Great hike!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

On 3-17-12, we hiked this trail to Hugh Norris to Sendaro-Esparanza Trail in a large loop. It was very windy and the total miles came to approximately 8 miles It was beautiful scenery and a few hikers were nearby. Overall, it was a great day!!

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