The greater Tucson area encompasses hundreds of trails. You could hike a different trail every day for a year and still have more to see. Whether you prefer challenging climbs or scenic strolls, there are trails for every interest, age and ability. This series will introduce you to some of the many available options, including short walks, nature trails, birding trails, biking trails, scenic trails, historic trails and trails to test your stamina. Read on, then get out there and explore!
Tucson Mountain Park is part of the Pima County park system. It also happens to be one of the nation’s largest natural resource areas owned and managed by a county. Two popular tourist destinations can be found within its boundaries: the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Old Tucson Studios.
In addition to picnicking, sightseeing and wildlife viewing, the park offers 62 miles of trails for hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers. The Gates Pass Overlook, located in Tucson Mountain Park, includes one of the most beautiful and scenic views of the Tucson area. The overlook area also includes displays and historical structures. Be sure to bring your camera!
- Gates Pass Trail — 5 miles, one way; easy
- David Yetman West Trail — 12 miles, round trip; moderate
- 36th Street Trail — 2.4 miles, one way; moderate
- Explorer Trail — 2.3 miles, one way; moderate
Beyond the featured trails listed above, Tucson Mountain Park includes a number of other trails, including a couple that extend into Saguaro National Park West [if Saguaro National Park article is published first, add a link to that article]. For trail information, see http://www.pima.gov/nrpr/parks/tmp/TMP_Map_11x17.pdf.
Tucson Mountain Park is located approximately 20 miles north of the Lazydays Tucson Campground. The intersection of Kinney Road and Gates Pass Boulevard is at the heart of the trails. GPS: 32.22160, -111.13216
Please note that RVs may not use Gates Pass Boulevard. Vehicles over 12,000 GVW are prohibited on Gates Pass due to the narrow, winding road and steep grade. RVs must use I-10 or I-19 to access other trails and areas within Tucson Mountain Park. Equestrian staging in Tucson Mountain Park is located at the Richard Genser Starr Pass Trailhead. Paved parking for cars at the Gates Pass Trailhead is limited to 50 vehicles at the overlook.
For additional details about Tucson Mountain Park, visit http://www.pima.gov/nrpr/parks/tmp or call 520.877.6000. You can also download a trail map from the website.
Note: All trail lengths and difficulty ratings are estimates only; always confirm your route in advance of each hike. Be aware that park and trailhead hours may vary by location, season and managing agency, so be sure to check before you go. If you’re new to Tucson’s trails, heed our hiking tips for the safety and comfort of
you and your hiking companions.