Dirt road from Highway 80 to the San Pedro.
In the past two months while working on sections of the Sky Island Traverse I have been south of St. David more times than in the previous decade – and I love it! These sections have been a great reason to get to new areas – it seems like every time I get outside and explore I find something amazing – this section of the San Pedro was certainly no exception.
From Highway 80 at the Curtis Windmill a dirt road cuts west across Arizona State Trust Land into the The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, passes an old windmill and ends just short of the River. From the end of the road a small path wanders down to the river and then fragments – I work my way down to the River and smile at the shallow flowing ribbon of water!
The River alternates between flowing and dry (and sandy!) – cattle have obviously been here, but I don’t see any – I do see Vermilion Flycatchers, Great Blue Herons, small fish and a troop of Coati! The River is amazing but it is getting hot (very very hot…) so after a few minutes in the Contention Ruins Area (some information about the area) and a nice break I make my way back to the car.
Wasson Peak is the Highest point in the Tucson Mountains and has several possible approaches – tonight we picked the King Canyon trail – Alison, Kirsten, Richard and I started at 9pm and made our way up the rocky trails to Wasson Peak under the light of a nearly full moon. Spider eyes sparkling in our headlamps, a bit of wind at the top, an escape from the increasingly hot Tucson days, great company!
Trails in the Tucson Mountain District – This is a simple but useful map of the area, no topographic detail and does not cover everything in the area but still very useful!
HikeArizona – King Canyon Trail – good source for information including GPS track of the trail.
Summit Hut Trail Talk Blog – King Canyon – a nice post by Dave Baker and map – includes a great link to a picture of John Wasson!
I started the AM with the intent of just doing a quick run on Forest Road 687 to fill in a gap in my section hike of the Sky Island Traverse (my first post about the SKIT), but when I arrived at the Slavin Gulch Trailhead I could not resist going up the trail. The trail winds thru some great terrain – great rock formations, shade from cliffs, lovely dry wash and good views – the trail was fairly easy to follow and I never spent more than a few minutes wondering if I had gotten off track. The day was warming up fast but I was too close to turn around and kept going to the area pictured above – this is below the Abril mine and the old ore chute is visible in the top of the picture near my turn around point.
Great Information on Slavin Gulch and the Abril Mine from Green Valley Hiking Club (PDF)
My GPS Information
Hike Information on HikeArizona.com