TOUR DESCRIPTION

This diverse and exciting three-day adventure features flowing singletrack trail through oak and juniper forests, across golden grasslands and finishing among stands of giant saguaro cacti. The Santa Rita Mountains are incredibly biodiverse, and are one of the only places in America where you might share the trail with a jaguar or ocelot (both have been documented here in recent years).

We created this trip for those who don’t want a guide, don’t want to be supported during the week and generally just want their own self-serve adventure with a bit of logistical assistance. Each day we relocate a very deluxe camp setup (provided by Ready Camp) of (2) 10×10 canopies, full kitchen, dry firewood, camp chairs, fresh water, coolers of food and beverages (you purchase prior to trip) and all your personal gear like tents, bags and clothing. You can go as cheap or deluxe as you want on food, beverages and amenities!!

Arrival day

 

Our meeting point for this trip is Tucson, AZ at the Super 8 on Starr Pass Blvd. The day before the trip starts you can pick up a cooler (if needed) from us to do your shopping for the week.

 

Day One

 

Ascending into the heights of the Santa Rita Mountains is no easy task. The day’s hike begins on a wide dirt road that eventually becomes trail, climbing 2,000 vertical feet over 7 miles. You’ll see and feel the biotic communities transforming around you as the grasslands give way to forest. After your highpoint near Bear Spring, the trail descends and begins its picturesque journey along the canyons, ridges and hidden corners of the Santa Ritas. Keep an eye out for black bears, coatimundi and other critters along this seldom-traveled segment of trail. The final six miles of this route are bliss, and you’ll splash through ephemeral creeks as you approach Gardner Canyon Road. Hike length is about 15 miles.

 

Day Two

 

Walk up a short, steep series of switchbacks before descending toward historic Kentucky Camp. Old adobe structures and rusting mining equipment help tell the story of when this area was bustling with hopes of riches in the dirt. The trail rises and falls through a series of canyons, testing your legs and lungs throughout the day. This area is a bird watcher’s paradise and you’re likely to see everything from tiny grassland sparrows to elegant trogons. Today’s scenery alternates between dense forests of juniper, oak and manzanita to grasslands and agaves with inspiring views to the east. Camp is in a remote valley in the foothills of the Santa Ritas. Hike length is about 16 miles.

 

Day Three

 

Continuing north along the Arizona Trail, today’s route features a lot of elevation loss between the start and finish. The terrain makes the first few hours a challenge as you hike through the accordion-like ridges of the foothills. But soon you’ll be sailing through formidable terrain on purpose-built trail with outstanding views of the Tucson Mountains, Rincons, Santa Catalinas and other ranges of southern Arizona. Look closely among the creosote forests and you’ll spot night-blooming cereus, red pineapple cactus, and other seldom-seen denizens of the desert. The miles will pass quickly as you approach the day’s end near Twin Tanks – the only water source in this part of the desert. Hike length is about 10 miles.

What’s Included in My Trip?

 

  • Shuttle Van and driver
  • Luggage, gear and cooler/food relocation
  • Ready Camp kitchen and general gear

 

Not Included

 

  • Alcoholic Beverages – we can haul and keep them cold though!
  • Lodging
  • Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
  • Weather Control – Mother Nature has a mind of her own

Tucson International Airport has plenty of flights each day.