Mount Kimball via Finger Rock Canyon Trail

HARD 191 reviews
#3 of 66 trails in

Mount Kimball via Finger Rock Canyon Trail is a 8.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Tucson, Arizona that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from October until March. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
8.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4,189 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

waterfall

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

Please note a permit is required to park overnight.

hiking
rocky
snow
1 day ago

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
5 days ago

Trail is a bit rough in places but well worth it. Amazing views, snow at the top in February. Great way to spend a day.

hiking
rocky
6 days ago

Most important: Bring 3 liters/person water, even on a cool day. The ascent on this trail is intense. It’s mostly exposed to full sunlight, very steep, and often on less than ideal footing.

I use this trail primarily as training for multi day backpacking trips, so I’m typically carrying 30+ lbs when I do it. It’s perfect for training because it’s a significantly more difficult climb than you’ll find on backpacking trips throughout the national parks. For one comparison, on a five-day trip through the Rockies this summer, I’ll hike a total of 28,000 ft elevation over 70mi, but never even approach the intensity of 4,500’ in ~4.5mi that this hike gives you. Put simply: even for an experienced and fit hiker, this one is a challenge.

A few notes on the trail:

- the listed route length of this trail is based on beginning at the trailhead, which is marked, but not where you park. Add a few hundred meters from the parking lot to the TH for a more realistic distance. Distances here refer to the parking lot as starting point.

- the first ~1.25mi is deceptively easy. It’s going to get hard fast.

- on the way up, and a little less than two miles from the parking lot, there’s a very nice, shaded mini-cave that makes for a terrific spot for a break. It’s hard-going for the next couple miles, so be ready.

- be careful to stay on the trail to Kimball when there’s an unmarked junction with the Ventana Canyon trail. If you find yourself passing over a saddle at somewhere around ~3mi in, bear left. If you’re overlooking a town (Oracle?), then you’ve gone the wrong route, although the views from there are fantastic.

- at a little less than 4mi in, you’ll get to what I consider the final stretch through (mercifully shaded) pine forest. Be careful to stay on trail here, since runoff trails can be confused with your intended route.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
14 days ago

I almost thought about not giving 5 stars because it kicked my butt, but it was worth it! This is the second time I've done this hike, but it seemed like a different trail with the water, snow, and ice.
Water was flowing down the wash, which you cross a few times. Ice was present for much of the early morning and snow with ice from about halfway up.
I would say it is always a good idea to bring hiking poles on this hike mainly for the way down, but definitely a necessity while there is snow and ice higher up. Most people didn't go to the top, but we did and there was about 5-6 inches of snow the last mile or so. There was some snow and ice from about halfway up and it made the trail treacherous, especially the areas of steep sheet rock with ice over it.
This fact, plus the amount of elevation gain and rocky areas made it slow going.
The view at Mt. Kimball's lookout was spectacular, and made it worth the effort!
Definitely not for beginners or people afraid of heights. Be prepared with enough water/snacks for a long day hike. Sunscreen/hat is a good idea; gloves when it is cold and through areas with snow/ice. Some areas narrow and a bit over grown, lots of rocky areas, wear good shoes with tread.

1 month ago

I went with my brother Bob and older son Ryan. We have done Linda Vista many times and have gone to Finger Rock twice once climbing the finger with ropes so very familiar with the trail.
We went Jan 3rd this year. We made it to Linda Vista Saddle in 2 hours and went about 30 minutes past but turned around because we were slipping all over the place because of snow and ice. It's an amazing trail that never seems to get easier but well worth it. Going back up to do Kimball as soon as the snow melts. Bring 3 liters of water to be sure and hiking poles are a real asset.

trail running
1 month ago

Love the views on this trail! Not an easy to run trail by any means, but mix in a little fast hiking and you’ll get there! It’s a little longer than 8 miles but worth the effort!!

trail running
1 month ago

Very tough trail run. AllTrails has this out-and-back route as 12.9km, but my GPS and phone both measured 15km in total.

Great route, very technical and should be tackled only by experienced mountain runners, or trail runners who are good on mountains. Spectacular views from Mount Kimball. Well worth the effort.

hiking
2 months ago

This was an intense hike! Gorgeous views! I’m assuming hiking sticks are suggested to alleviate some of the leg strain. Don’t discount the altitude gain, I was certainly very winded on the way up by mile 2. Keep all trails map handy, met a few others who’d wandered off trail like we had. In total, our out and back was 10.8miles :) very easy to keep walking and miss the actual trail. Took us less than half the time to go back down-which I didn’t find difficult. Trail is rocky and overgrown. I suggest sleeves/gloves, pants or socks. I slid my hand on a few cactus. Bring tweezers!

3 months ago

Fantastic! Awesome views south of Tucson and beyond on the way up. If you make the peak, a whole other vista opens up of Mt Lemmon and the Catalinas (as well as the western side of Tucson). While the trail is not that difficult, as others have commented, the ascent can be a butt-kicker (most particularly miles two and three) - have plenty of water if doing this in the heat. Some of the smooth rocky areas get slick in the rain; some degree of washout on trail after heavy rains - use caution. Great, challenging hike though!

hiking
3 months ago

OUR PHYSICAL CONDITION, We have been hiking for about 6 years, both retired. I'm mid-66, husband a bit younger. :) We had not done a hike rated this strenuous in a while as I have a rotator cuff tear that I'm scheduled for surgery on. Right now, using a pole in that hand really bothers me. I used 2 poles this hike(recommended). We decided to give this a go and agreed we would only go as far as I could. We ended up going 3.5 miles (7 RT). Which is a bit past Linda Vista. My GPS to this point said the elevation gain was 2850 feet, with most of that in 2.5 miles. Linda Vista would be a good turn around point if you don't want to do the entire trail. Based on the distance we did, I can tell you this trail is more like 10 miles in/out. It is very doable, but don't get to cocky as those slippery places could make you bust your butt, at the least. There is a lot of rock hopping, which requires big, big steps if you are short like me. Always have 3 points of contact when stepping. The first mile or so of the trail is easy so that means you will do most of your ascent in the last 4 miles. There are a couple places it is easy to get off the trail, but if you do, it's easy enough to get back on with a little bushwacking. Overall, the trail is pretty well defined. Once you start climbing, the trail is fun, but a challenge. After mile 1, you won't get a reprieve until about mile 3 (just before Linda Vista) then it is easier, but only for about .2 miles, before the climb starts again. The descent will put a lot of strain on your joints especially the knees. Things that I feel are important: START EARLY (we started at 6:45 a.m.). WATER - we both used almost 3 liters. BOOTS, lug sole is best as some of the hike is on slick rock. FOOD, plenty of snacks and food. Blocks or some other electrolyte replacement. SUNSCREEN, if you start early, you will be shaded most of the way up, but if you don't, you will be in a lot of sun. MAP/GPS. TWEEZERS/FIRST AID, there are some cactus that crowd the trail and we picked out a few stickers. We took our time, as I could take no chance on falling. We did the 7 miles in 5 hours of actual hiking time, but 7 hours total with many stops for pictures, lunch, snacks and just to enjoy nature. TIME, allow plenty so you can enjoy the scenery. I really liked the hike, but was very grateful to hop in the hot tub after.

hiking
3 months ago

10 miles roundtrip if going to Kimball . 4200 elevation gain. Great hike but be prepared for a tougher hike.

hiking
4 months ago

BE CAREFUL!!!!! CAR BROKEN INTO!!!

We got our car broken into over this last weekend. I was in town visiting my wife and they stole everything I brought for the trip, as we were staying the night in Tucson. They even stole the bottom halves to my convertible north face pants. If you see someone wearing just the bottom halves, either they miss the 90's leg-warmer look or they may be the guy I'm looking for.... Just keep a watch out for each other when down there. We never would have thought we'd get broken into as the trail parking is in a very nice area. Once again, just raising the trumpet of warning.

The trail itself is real good. Certainly steep but doable, even for my sea-level living lungs. We did go on a good evening, if nothing else.

5 months ago

Awesome! Wear your best boots and bring bug spray! Enjoy!

7 months ago

One of the tougher trails in the Tucson area. The cooler option hangs a left and back-countriez up to the gaurd above finger rock.

8 months ago

This is a wonderfully hard and satisfying uphill hike! It is 10 miles total. I’ve never seen horses on this trail nor would it be a good trail for them. 4,200’ of elevation gain.

hiking
9 months ago

Tough hike. Don’t let the short distance fool you-this joke gets up in a hurry. Beautiful views-especially on the way up. You’ll be surprised how quickly you gain elevation.

hiking
9 months ago

This trail is just relentless and awesome! There's no boulder climbing--just a challenging hike. As soon as you get a little break, the trail just keeps going up. I'm not a huge fan of heights, but I had no issues at all. Only stupid thing I did was start the hike at 2p on the hottest day of the year so far. It was brutal for the first half, but you noticed a significant cooling half way up. That got me through!
I'm in good shape, but it still took me 3 hours to top with frequent water breaks due to the heat. Took me a little over 2 hours to get down.

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful hike in north Tucson. Made it maybe 3-4 miles in but had to turn back due to time constraints. Gorgeous views of Tucson. Amazing Mountain View’s. Rocky but not sure why it’s rated as hard, maybe I didn’t make it far enough up the trail. Easy trailhead to find. Looking forward to going farther when I have more time.

hiking
10 months ago

This is one of the toughest hikes in the Catalinas. If you are afraid of heights and cliffs: many people have to turn back at one of a few sections that are bare rock, narrow, and along a drop-off. My hiking partner had to crawl and hands and knees the first time we did it. It's steep and there are quite a few areas where you need to haul yourself up over rocks. BUT it is so worth it! It's great cardio day, amazing views, the pines smell wonderful along the last mile on a warm day. Coming down takes about as long as going up (which is not true of most hikes). Agree with the others - start early because it will take all day. For a half day trip, go to the Linda Vista lookout which is about 3 miles up (watch for the intersection and take two rights).

hiking
10 months ago

Went on a day hike. This is a difficult trail, but the views at the top are amazing. You can even see the biosphere 2 from the top. Bring a monocular and a camera! Also, be sure to wear sturdy shoes, start early (we started at 8:15... we wished we started at 7), bring sunscreen, some salty and high protein snacks, and bring plenty of water. We went through ~4 liters each.

If you’re not ready to go the whole way, there are fantastic views all along the way, and a great cave that is shady in the morning hours ~2.5 miles out. Our first hike out on this trail was 2.75 miles and 2 liters of water was plenty for that. Tip: we leave an insulated bottle of iced water in the car for when we get back from the trail. Enjoy your hike!

hiking
10 months ago

Did this bad boy on the last day of March! Temperatures were topping off at 90. It also took me 3 hours ascending like the person below, definitely bring tons of water!!! I drank about a gallon. I was pretty shaded going up due to the shadow of the canyon, but the way down is brutal in the sun. I would definitely recommend water, sunscreen, and trekking poles. I stayed at the summit for awhile, just me and another older gentleman admiring the views! I am from Denver so this was definitely a great hike to see some beautiful Arizona mountains and get some training in for 14ers.

Happy hiking!

hiking
10 months ago

Awesome adventure! My sister and I completed this in April on a day that was to hit mid 80s. We began at 6am and it took us 3 hours to reach the summit. I went through 6 quarts of water and was very comfortable.
If you enjoy a challenge this is the hike for you!

hiking
11 months ago

Tough trail, but well worth it! The views are amazing!

hiking
11 months ago

Difficult but the spectacular views from the top are worth it!

11 months ago

Very hard hike. Bring enough water and don't go when it's hot- I made that mistake

hiking
11 months ago

Great trail. Spectacular views. Only went up to the view at a little after 3 miles. Will be back soon to try to go all the way! Pretty rocky and tough on the way up. Coming down is a little hard on the feet and knees, totally worth it though!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Make sure you don't lose the trail. Crosses a gulley about a half mile in. I spent two hours bouldering down there before getting back on the trail. Amazing views around sunset.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Gorgeous. Deserving of the difficult rating though. Started at 6am and didn't see anyone else until about 830.

hiking
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Amazing view on the top! Deserving the 10 hours hiking.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

It is so hard, but it is so beautiful!

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