Agua Caliente and Milagrosa canyons are beautiful destinations at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains on the east side of Tucson. Interesting sections of both canyons can be enjoyed as loop hikes starting from the end of Suzenu Road – this weekend we decided to visit Agua Caliente Canyon. Map.
To get to the trail follow Snyder east – after Synder divides look for a left turn onto Suzenu Road. Park on the right side of the road before the T intersection. Start the hike by taking a right – thru the gate – and to the end of the road. At the end of the road continue past a gate (several ‘No Parking’ signs) and across a wash via an old road – after a few minutes (and heading downhill) look for the trail on your left (if you start to cross the wash you have gone too far).
The trail has great views of the Santa Catalinas and the Agua Caliente Hill area – the trail also has very little shade and can be quite hot (be prepared!). It is fairly easy to follow the trail into the bottom of Agua Caliente canyon. The canyon bottom is unremarkable for the first minutes, but keep hiking and you will arrive at a rocky section with falls/drops/pools. There are several obstacles to bypass down canyon – these will likely require bushwhacking, scrambling and/or following faint trails on the loose/sandy/exposed/bushy side of the canyon (be very careful!). The canyon gradually mellows as you head towards the junction with Milagrosa canyon – we spotted an impressive beehive high on the cliffs during our hike. When you reach the junction work your way back up onto the trail and head back to the parking area.
Update! 2007-10-28 – For another description of Agua Caliente Canyon (and Milagrosa) see Arizona Technical Canyoneering.