Santa Rita Mountains Tucson AZ

 Majestic Santa Rita Mountains Southeast Of Tucson

One Of The 5  Mountain Ranges In Tucson

Santa Rita MountainsThe Santa Rita Mountains are 40 miles southeast of Tucson. The Santa Rita Mountains are 26 miles long. The range runs from north to south/southeast. At their southern end they combine with the Patagonia Mountains.

On Tucson’s far south side, the scenic Santa Rita Mountains are a biodiversity hotspot. They are an important habitat for many species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and bees.

Madera Canyon is a world-famous spot for bird watching. But it is also provides hiking trails. In the lower canyon include paved, handicap-accessible trails and gentle walking paths.

In the upper canyon, trails are steep and rugged as they move to the top of 9,453-foot Mt. Wrightson. This peak is the highest point in the range and the highest point in the Tucson area.

It is higher than Mt. Lemmon by 300 feet.

The Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory ( part of the Smithsonian Institution) can be found on nearby Mount Hopkins.

The Santa Rita Mountains are in the Coronado National Forest.

They were the primary component of Santa Rita National Forest. The Santa Rita National Forest became part of the Coronado National Forest 1908.

Rugged Terrain

This Wilderness area has rough hillsides, massive canyons, and lofty ridge lines. Peaks are surrounded on nearly all sides with dry hills and gradual grasslands. Ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir dominate the upper elevations.

The stream-fed canyons support an amazing amount of plant and wildlife. Mexican plants that grow nowhere else north of the border are in this area.

At the foot of Madera Canyon along the edge of the Wilderness is a recreation area. It serves as a popular gateway for backpackers.


Bog Springs Trail

A moderate, 5-mile (round trip) loop trail with bubbling springs, green grasses, and big trees. During the cooler months this trail is great for observing birds and other wildlife.

Old Baldy Trail

Ok, this bad boy trail is for experienced and well fit hikers. It is a challenging 10-mile trek (round trip). Hikers face a climb of 4,000 vertical feet, topping out on one of the most spectacular summits in the state.

Cave Creek – Gardner Canyon Loop

This is another strenuous, long (10-mile round) hike. The trail is on the eastern slopes of the Santa Rita Mountains. Some of the trails are remote and rarely used.

One More Thing – Permits

If you are new to hiking these trails you may want to get a map or hiking guide. Most hiking/camping storres with have them.

Another option is to contact local hiking groups. Summit Hut and Southern Arizona Hiking Club are good places to start.

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By the way – the other mountain ranges surrounding the Tucson valley include the Santa Catalina Mountains, the Rincon Mountains, the Tucson Mountains, and the Tortolita Mountains.

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