Parker Canyon Lake is a 4.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Elgin, Arizona that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Directions from Tucson: Travel east on Interstate 10 to State Route 83 (exit 281) and turn south 50 miles through Sonoita to Parker Canyon Lake.
Trail is closer to 4.91 miles if you take the lower trail that hugs the lake coast. Walked it with my dog and 20 lb pack in about 1:45 minutes taking a few shortcuts where the lake had receded around the coves. When you get to to parker canyon marina and are facing the lake, if you go left it seems as if the trail is a little easier but it veers away from the lake so there are not as many spots to go fishing. You will arrive at the spillway sooner. If you go to the right, there are many more coves and trail is closer to the lake overall making fishing access easier. Seems the fishing crowd thinned out after about 2 miles when heading to the right.
A great trail and easy-moderate hike. Has varying terrain, and wonderful views. We took a dog and had no issues whatsoever. The beginning of the hike from the marina had more visitors, but once we passed the first mile we had the trail to ourselves. We were lucky to have great weather. The only tricky part is getting around the spillway, but its not that bad.
Great camping and mountain biking!!!
Our favorite camping destination in southern AZ. a multi sport lake; Mtn biking, hiking, yakking, fishing.
Single track circles the entire lake. Its about a five mile loop. Its a really fun run with limited elevation gain. If you are looking for a short hike or a nice run I highly recommend it. If you plan to do this run during the monsoon season be prepared to run through the water at times or go off trail.
Parker Canyon Lake is a serviceable lake with camp sites and cabins, a diverse ecosystem arising from three springs that flow into the man-made lake and a small store that rents boats and fishing equipment. Beware that there is virtually no cellular service available here or along the western side of the Huachuca Mountains (Coronado National Forest or National Monument).
We Camped on the eastern side of the Parker Canyon Lake Friday night and hiked the loop trail on Saturday morning (~5.0 miles according to the Huachuca Mountain area map from the Coronado National Memorial ranger station). It rained through mid-day on Friday and the mosquitos were abundant during sunset, an occurrence that I have heard is common. There was a really nice fire pit and picnic table at the campsite, which was mostly level at site 32. The camp sites are well maintained and wood for a small fire was not too scarce. There is almost no natural canopy in the vicinity of the camp sites and we'll bring better cover from the sun next time.
If you walk the trail, you'll find a lot of diversity of biology and environments. It would have been a treasure trove of places to play as a kid. The lake has an abundance of coves and at least three creeks that flow into it from different fingers. The earthen dam separates the lake from a wild life preserve. We walked the trail at a meandering pace in about 2.5 hours and it was easy fun.
Afterward, my friends went swimming in the lake while I huddled under one of the few shade trees available at the campsite and read my book. Bring cover from the sun because you'll need it from sunrise until sunset or risk burning.
Nice trail for a picnic. Gets kind of crowded during the summer, but this is a terrific all season hike.
Distance Round Trip 4.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,392 feet
Elevation Gain 1 feet
Accumulated Gain 100 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours.
This trail is beautiful. Is a wonderful hike and an awesome mountain bike ride.