February 27, 2013 · 9:00 AM
Distance: 5.2 miles rt Elevation Gain: 1700 feet.
Please note that this is an intermediate hike due to elevation gain and not suitable for beginners.
This trail follows the route of an old road and power line from the Catalina Highway to the site of a now-abandoned prison camp beside the Highway. The camp has been razed and the power line removed, while the road has been closed and is being allowed to return to a natural condition. The trail follows portions of this old route and provides access to an excellent example of Sonoran desert habitat that is conveniently close to Tucson.
As the trail winds up the mountain, it visits a few ridge tops that provide good views back toward the city before dropping into Soldier Canyon, where there are some picturesque waterfalls when the stream is running. The boulder-strewn cascades over which those falls tumble are pleasant to spend a few moments by even when they are dry.
The trail rating is moderate, as is its length, and it is relatively easy to follow from beginning to end. In a few places, however, spur paths that lead to overlooks or other off-trail places of interest have developed through repeated use and could prove a bit confusing. The trail ends at a the western limit the old prison camp, from which it is a short walk on the road to a closed gate that marks the trailhead.
Please Bring: -3 liters of water -lunch -sun protection -good attitude, -Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen would probably be a good idea.
Meetup at LeBuzz Bakery and Cafe on the NE corner of Tanque Verde and Catalina Hwy for carpool up the mountain. May be cool weather at beginning but very nice at end of hike.
HIKE AT YOUR OWN RISK
No dogs please.