Tag Archives: santa catalina mountains

Sad Signs – Pictures from the Santa Catalina Mountains During the Government Shutdown, October 2013

1310 Trails Open Campground Closed
 Joy and Sadness – an informative message at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

The shutdown of the Federal Government is, at least for me, (beyond encouraging people to think about improving how our government works and/or who we elect) pointless.

One victim of the shutdown is our Federal Lands – a shame since they are truly one of the best things about the USA – parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon closed? Why? I was certainly deeply disappointed to have a vacation with good friends in the Grand Canyon destroyed – camping, dayhikes, R2R criss-crossing with friends, supporting R2R2R runs…

Thankfully Tucson is surrounded by quite a bit of National Forest, BLM, State and County land that is – unlike our National Parks which are ‘truly’  closed – still open for hiking/climbing/running/recreation!

The trails of the Santa Catalina Mountains (Mount Lemmon) remain open – trailheads, pullouts and the highway – open – but bathrooms, visitor centers, picnic areas and campgrounds are closed.

1310 Sabino Canyon Parking and Facilities Closed
Most of the trailheads at the base of the mountain are open, but the Sabino Canyon facilities (including bathrooms) and parking area are closed – if you can figure out where to park the area is still open to hiking (the Pima County Bear Canyon Trailhead is one option – beware the No Parking signs along Sabino Canyon Road near the parking lot entrance…)

1310 Molino Basin Bathrooms and some parking closed
The Molino Basin area is partly open – this is the only trailhead I saw where some of the parking spots were blocked – perhaps the parking spaces were blocked for reasons other than the shutdown? (note that the Prison Camp gate is closed limiting parking to the smaller parking areas near the highway – but that gate has been closed for months now).

1310 Cypress Picnic Area Closure
Sadly every Picnic Area and Campground that I saw was closed and either gated or blocked by caution tape and a sign. Note that the caution tape blocks access to the entire area (including parking) – not just to bathrooms/picnic tables…

1310 Windy Point Bathrooms Closed
The Windy Point Bathrooms – closed… Summerhaven has the only open public bathrooms on the Mountain that I am aware of – of course Summerhaven and Ski Valley businesses are still open as well.

1310 Mount Graham in the Distance from the San Pedro Vista
Taking a break and enjoying the view across the San Pedro River into the Galiuro and Pinaleno Mountains – vistas are open!

1310 Spencer Campground Closed
Campgrounds are closed – interesting that these signs have a slightly different tone than the white signs at the picnic area.

1310 Summit Parking Area Open and being used
The Summit Trailhead – alive with cars and hikers! The Bathrooms are closed but the trailhead and hiking is open!


Above the Falls in Pine Canyon, July 2013

The Palisade Canyon Trail starts – unsurprisingly – along Palisade Canyon – within the first mile you might be tempted down to the water and rock, after that Palisade Canyon is a memory… a few miles later the trail has traversed to Pine Canyon, coming within a few feet of it and then running high along the west side – a look down into the canyon and it is hard to resist exploring…

0809 Pine Canyon Falls and Canyon

0606 Pine Canyon Falls

The falls – marked on the USGS maps of the area – are a favorite.

0407 Pine Canyon CliffsThe tall cliffs above the falls – about a 6 mile round trip to the top, part of the hike is off-trail.

0209 Camping above Pine CanyonThe top of the cliffs is a special spot – a picture from camping with Alison in 2002.

1110 Frank above Pine CanyonWith Frank in 2011 – taking pictures for the Summit Hut.

1307 Above Pine CanyonAnd visiting in 2013…

Incinerator Ridge Trail – Kellogg Mountain Trail – Mount Bigelow, July 2013

1307 A Climber on Ridgeline
Taken from the extension of the Incinerator Ridge Trail down to the San Pedro Vista was completed last year – a climber at the top of a climb at the popular climbing area Ridgeline.

1307 Clouds behind Mount BigelowNice view of clouds behind Mount Bigelow – taken from the Incinerator Ridge Trail – Kellogg Mountain is hidden by trees.

1307 Mount Lemmon SunsetMount Lemmon – Sunset – from just below Mount Bigelow.

Almost 7 miles, 1800′ of elevation gain, Upper Green Mountain Trailhead, Green Mountain Trail, San Pedro Vista, Incinerator Ridge Trail, Kellogg Mountain Trail, Mount Bigelow – and the back the way I came.

There are plenty of scenic hikes in the Santa Catalina Mountains – but with the new section of Incinerator Ridge finished San Pedro Vista to Mount Bigelow surely becomes one of the best.