The purpose of this group is to introduce people to the Sierra Club and its mission, and to enjoy the great outdoors!
Mitch Stevens, a New York City product, has built on his love for the outdoors, in general, and Arizona’s special places, in particular, to become one of the state’s premier outings leaders. Taking people to the unique and special places that Mitch has discovered makes them more willing and more focused on working, often with the Sierra Club, to protect these areas and to ensure that our nation has solid policies to keep them special. That’s the driving motive that led Mitch to become the Rincon Group Outings Chair. Although he grew up in a huge city surrounded by asphalt, concrete, and towering buildings, one summer, Mitch went to a camp in the woods of Pennsylvania. That stuck with him, so he majored in geology at City College of New York and longed to get back into the outdoors. He got his chance while working on his degree, taking a field trip to the Bighorn Basin and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. “I was almost obsessed with the West and its wildlands after that,” he said. His next trip was to the Southwest, and that sealed the deal. He and his wife decided to move west, and they examined San Diego, Tucson, and Albuquerque as possible home bases. They settled on Tucson in 1984. “The warm climate was really appealing; I was tired of the snow, ice, and gray skies. And there is something about the desert here that fascinates me.”
Mitch began hiking and exploring Arizona and the Southwest. Eventually, that led him to rejoin Sierra Club, and, in 2006, he began leading hikes for the Rincon Group. “I meet great people, and it’s good for the environment,” he said. When the Rincon Group Outings Chair position opened up in late 2008, Mitch stepped up and took on the task. He leads seven or eight hikes a year while ensuring that the Rincon Group has an ample stable of outings leaders who meet the necessary qualifications and, with his help, put together appealing hikes for people of all interest and skill levels.
He leads one long backpacking trip each year. In recent years, he's led excursions to spectacular Kanab Creek, the longest tributary to the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. His group followed it from the Indian Hollow trailhead to the Colorado, a hike of 55 miles. Another version of that very popular trip was a nine-day outing that started at Monument Point at the North Rim, descended to Thunder River and Deer Creek, then traversed the Colorado River to Kanab Creek and back to the Rim at Sowats Point. Mitch has also led trips to the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California and the canyon country of southern Utah. Stay tuned for more adventures!
Mitch Stevens is the founder of Southwest Discoveries - an adventure tour company specializing in fantastically beautiful and secluded places in the southwest.
My top ten hikes in Arizona
1. Deer Creek/Kanab Creek loop hike (Grand Canyon North Rim)
2. Havasu Canyon (Mooney Falls to the Colorado River)
3. Sundance Canyon/West Clear Creek
4. Buckskin Gulch/Paria Canyon
5. Coyote Buttes North and South (Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness)
6. Weaver's Needle loop in the Superstition Wilderness
7. Aravaipa Canyon
8. Baboquivari - technical climb to the summit
9. Bassett Peak (Galiuros) via Ash Creek
10. Salome Canyon (the Jug)
Bonus - Climbing Finger Rock and Nankoweap trail - Grand Canyon
other epic hikes:
Rincon Peak - Rincon Mountains
Rogers Canyon - geology and ruins in the Superstitions
Redfield Canyon - Galiuro Mountains
Red Ridge trail loop - Santa Catalina Mountains
Thimble Peak hike - Santa Catalina Mountains
Palisades - canyoneering trek on Mt. Lemmon
Cochise Stronghold and Sheepshead - Dragoon Mountains
Mount Wrightson - Santa Rita Mountains
Mt. Ajo - Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument