Safford Peak Trail is a 2.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Tucson, Arizona that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from September until May.

Distance: 2.4 miles Elevation Gain: 915 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

views

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no shade

no dogs

Rugged Trek Up a Fun Peak NOTE: Saguaro National Park regulations prohibit off trail hiking below 4,500 feet. There is no trail to 3,563 foot Safford Peak. They are enforcing that regulation at both the east and west districts of the Park. The trail known as Scenic Trail, which is mapped here, is in the National Park (once you leave the privately owned Sanctuary Cove area). Once you leave this trail, though, you are on a cairned route, now on Arizona State Trust land, which requires a permit (available on line) . So with a State Trust permit you are legal here. But soon the cairned route goes back into the National Park, so you are then in the off limits area. For now, Safford Peak is off limits. For more information: https://www.nps.gov/sagu/planyourvisit/regulations.htm This is a fun summit hike that begins at a little known spiritual nook, and climaxes with stunning 360 Degree views of Tucson's northwest basin. The trail begins at the stone church just west of the parking lot. From there, hike North of west until you pass through a wildlife barrirer. From there, the trail begins to accend the peak to your left. The trail forks often, but the key to bagging this summit is to always fork left unless it looks harder to the right.

hiking
no shade
4 days ago

hiking
off trail
over grown
rocky
4 months ago

So so so beautiful! Steep towards the end.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

This is a tough 4 miler. There is some scrambling near the end and plenty of uphill. It took us 3.5 hrs. I would recommend following the cairns, it got a little confusing near the end, as there are a few routes to the summit. I would recommend hiking in the winter months. The most comparable hikes we could think of were Pusch Peak and Picacho Peak. Both steep and short distances.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful day, nice hike, but was difficult to figure out trail to get to top.

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

We didn’t make it to the top, my kids were tired. It’s possible to do it. You just have to loop around the peak. Overall easy trail if you take your time to get to the top. Good hiking shoes will make a difference in this rocky trail

hiking
6 months ago

If you want to avoid parking on Sanctuary Cove's property because they tow, just drive south another 50 feet and you'll bump into a national park lot. The trail to the front rock face is not the best, but it's workable. Once you get up that far the trail gets a bit worse and you have to scramble up broken rocks. I only found out later that the peak part might be off limits for right now.

hiking
7 months ago

Good hike to the summit today! Park in Sanctuary Cove and give a donation. Go past the labyrinth, then follow the trail up the back of the cove. Stacked rocks help mark the trail up to the top!

hiking
private property
11 months ago

Friends, Greetings from the Caretakers of Sanctuary Cove! Our 80 acre preserve is your entry point for this hike. Our property is privately owned and managed by a religious non-profit corporation (All Creeds Brotherhood) and has been here for over 60 years providing a place of peace and beauty for the public to hike, pray, reflect and reconnect with nature. We are, "A Still Place in a Turning World." We have a lovely rental cottage for overnight stays, a Chapel and Amphitheater for prayer and reflection as well as weddings and celebrations of life. We hold an Easter Sunrise Service (non-denominational) each year. We do have a port-a-potty available near the Chapel but no running water. We respectfully request that you follow our few rules while on property including: no trail bikes, no dogs, and no drones. Please stay on trails to help us keep erosion to a minimum. We are very grateful that the hiking community is mindful of the beauty of the desert and we rarely see litter; please pack it in and out. Thank you! Finally, if you are parking in our lower lot, you will see a small donation box. We ask that you consider a generous donation here or online at www.sanctuarycove.org. We are committed to keeping this dream alive and protecting the Cove from encroaching development and we will succeed with your help. Thanks, BE SAFE (May through September is VERY HOT, no shade, many snakes, and steep, unmarked trails-- take a LOT of water any time of year!) and happy hiking!!

hiking
Wed May 22 2019

Didn't quite figure how to scramble to the top, but got to the base of the rock. Beautiful views and good workout!! Will definitely do again!

hiking
Fri Apr 12 2019

The views were incredible. AllTrails has a diagram of the trail on their map. However, physically the trail was washed away or bushes were wide to hide the trail. This happened off and on throughput the hike. Luckily, my friends and I found stack of rocks indicating where to go next. So, thanks you to whoever did this. Coming down I fell three times due to lose gravel. My other friend fell down once. It is worth the hike. Just don’t go alone and be careful where you step. Best time to go is 0600 around this time of year. 4/11/19. Good luck!

Mon Jan 14 2019

Was a little tricky to find but an overall good place to visit. Lots of cool scenery and views. Didn’t make it to the summit due to weather but I’ll definitely be back.

hiking
Sun Jan 06 2019

Hikers should be aware that Saguaro National Park regulations prohibit off trail hiking below 4,500 feet and that there is no trail to 3,563 foot Safford Peak. They are enforcing that regulation at both the east and west districts of the Park. The trail known as Scenic Trail, shown on AllTrails, is in the National Park (once you leave the privately owned Sanctuary Cove area). Once you leave that trail, though, you are on a cairned route, now on Arizona State Trust land, which requires a permit (available on line) . So with a State Trust permit you are legal here. But soon the cairned route goes back into the National Park, so you are then in the off limits area. So for now, Safford Peak is off limits. So is Panther, Amole, Apache (near Signal Hill), and others. There are rumors that the NPS might build a trail to Safford coming from Picture Rocks Road on the south side of the peak.

hiking
Mon Oct 01 2018

This is one of my favorite hikes. The elevation gain is aggressive. The loose scree underfoot is treacherous. Navigation is difficult. Nearing the summit you will scramble up large loose rocks. The final ascent you will need to use your arms and legs with a feeling of exposure. Choosing the wrong path may end poorly. I recommend gloves, trekking poles, and GPS. My most recent summit was 9/30/2018 and monsoon rains have not been kind to this trail. It has severely eroded and knocked over many of the cairns. At this time I would not recommend this hike unless someone in your party is familiar with the route.

Sat Jul 14 2018

I don't really have anything to share that others have not expressed already. Take plenty of water. My biggest piece of advice is to preplan your trip here! My brother and I hiked this as it sits right outside his neighborhood. The views are great and you will be rewarded for your efforts just plan ahead and familiarize yourself with the route beforehand otherwise you may/will get frustrated with the lack of directions. I would wear a good hiking shoe, he lent me a pair of his as I only had cross trainers and couldn't believe the difference it made.

Sun Mar 18 2018

Rough trail! Need lots of water and trekking poles are a must! Bring a first aid kit and some snacks! Pretty challenging for me and my 14yr old son!

Fri Mar 16 2018

Unless you are a billy goat or do this type of climbing often you will have trouble getting to the summit. We got so close but did not have the courage to do the last 200 feet of climbing like Spider-Man. The views are definitely beautiful. As others have mentioned the trail is only marked by cairns which were such a comfort to see as we lost the trail numerous times. Descent was extremely tricky with the loose rocks but we lived with only minor scrapes and scratches. Poles were a must for us...50 + year old knees. Excellent day but super challenging. Also nice extra to have a Porto John at the Sanctuary.

Sun Jan 07 2018

My wife and I hiked to the top Friday Jan 5th. We are in our 60's, in good shape and advocate using hiking poles. There is loose rock on 90 percent of the trail, and it is challenging and steep going up and down. We loved the views along the way with lots of beautiful, healthy Saguaros, especially as one heads West around the south side of the peak. Great views of the entire Tucson valley, Saguaro Nat'l Park and the Catalina's. Well worth the effort.

Sun Jan 07 2018

I don't know about it being a breeze. I found it to be a difficult hike with a lot of loose rock. Also, note the the total distance to the top is 3.3 miles (6.6 miles round trip) and the map on this app does not take you all the way to the top. Don't give up, the views are so worth the climb.

hiking
Thu Jan 04 2018

Love this hike! It's a breeze and within walking distance from my house. I see people back there with their dogs often even though it says no dogs. Enjoy!!!

hiking
Tue Jun 13 2017

The trail was pretty hard to follow at times. The only reason we knew where to go half the time was because of the stacked rocks--they were extremely helpful! Overall it was a fun hike with beautiful views! Would definitely do it again.

hiking
Thu Apr 27 2017

Great views. Coming up from cove a bit slippery. I use 5 foot pole which makes it safer and avoid sudden slips.

hiking
Tue Apr 04 2017

This trail is a nice hike. Some very steep, very rocky areas though. Could not find a way to actually get up on the peak though.

hiking
Sun Mar 19 2017

Difficult at times. Need staff to get up and down.

Sun Jan 29 2017

The “moderate” rating apparently does not take you to the top. If you actually summit, you’ll realize it’s probably more in the “difficult” category.

Fri Jan 13 2017

Overall a great trail!

hiking
Wed Jan 11 2017

Good workout. Loose footing increases the difficulty, and it's easy to go off trail.

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