Although it is known as the most popular hike in Tucson, there is a reason it is so popular. It is our favourite hike in the area. This is a breathtaking jouney that takes you from the foothills of the Santa Catalina mountain range to a relatively high elevation waterfall composed of seven falls. With plenty river crossings and lots of scenery change, this hike gives you a great look at the region, as you watch the saguaros thin out in rank and vegetation become more varied, while being exposed to all the glory of running water in a desert.
After the rains and the snow melt, this river was rushing – it was coursing down extremely fast, and flowing so high that at the first river crossing you had to remove your boots and wade across water that was about knee deep. Usually, this area is a relatively slow with little water. While it, and the whole national park are popular and typically crowded, if you leave early enough on a weekday, you will have little company. When we went on a Monday, mid-morning, during the busiest time of the year in Tucson (the main week of gem shows), the turnout for the entire day was only around 20 groups of people.
Our hike was made more interesting on the way back down, when I slipped off a rock on the first river crossing (pretty much at the top of the trail) and filled my boots with water. The next three miles were hiked barefoot for me. Many visitors carried a pair of sandals with them, as well as hiking boots. There is also little shade on this trail, so be sure to come prepared.
This is the google maps listing for Sabino Canyon National Park Visitor’s centre.