My Top 3 Favorite Hikes in Tucson, Arizona
If you know me, you know I'm spending my Saturdays and Sundays out on a hiking trail.
Hiking is easily one of my favorite hobbies because it allows me to clear my mind, get some fresh air (and hopefully some sunshine), and since I'm not a gym girly, it keeps me active.
Part of my reason for deciding to live in Tucson from mid-February to late April was because there's so much hiking in the area, plus it's warm that time of year. So it just made sense for me in my digital nomad life at the time to live there.
While I lived in Tucson, I went on 15+ hikes. I have that "+" in there because there were some extra walks that some might consider hikes. But anyways, there were so many hikes to choose from so I really had to do some research and pick out ones I really wanted to go to. Obviously, I would have hiked more if I had the time, and if the weather hadn't gotten so hot by the end of my time there. Hiking in the desert can be brutal!
If I'm being honest, I liked pretty much all the hikes I went on, but...
Here are my top 3 favorite hikes in Tucson:
Seven Falls Trail
Talk about a fun hike! When my Uber dropped me off, I had no idea I was going to have such a fun day!
From pretty much the get-go, you come to a creek crossing. I was wearing my hiking boots, but because I did my research, I knew I'd be crossing through water, so I packed my Tevas to switch into for the water parts of the hike. Had I known that crossing was pretty much immediate, I would have just worn the Tevas from the beginning.
BRRR! That creek water was ice cold! Keep in mind that at this time, it was March 11 and it had snowed only 10 days earlier. That's actually partially why I did this hike, because I was hoping the snow melt would create more water for the falls.
I didn't actually count how many times you cross over the creek on the way to the falls, but I believe it was over 7-8 times. And at a few points, the water was kinda deep and went above my knees. And for probably the last 5 on the way back, I really couldn't feel my legs, feet, and especially not my toes anymore. They went numb!
And a funny story came from this hike! I started to head back around 4pm. Well, about 15-20 minutes into the hike back out, there were still groups and groups of people headed to the falls, and as I passed one group of men possibly in their early 20s, the one leading the pack told me good morning. I said my usual hellos but after they completely passed. I stopped and had a good laugh!
Pusch Peak via Linda Vista Loop Trail
This hike really tested my physical abilities and my mental toughness—probably unlike any hike I've done in the past.
When I got to Linda Vista Loop to hike, I had in my mind that I was hiking to the top, even though I had gotten a little later start than I would like for a full hike.
Part of the way up, I had kept pace with this couple probably 15-20 years older than me, but really hadn't seen many people on the trail, and not many people coming down from the top. At this point, I had gotten to a great viewpoint and decided that I would hike a little further up but not to the top.
Well.. me being me, I hiked a little further up and felt like I was getting to another nice viewpoint, so I kept going. As I kept getting closer and closer to a sharp turn, I told myself to keep going and make it around the curve to check out that view, so again, I kept going.
I continually kept finding reasons to just go a little further, until at one point, I decided I was going to the summit.
This trail had a pretty steep elevation gain (or at least compared to what I'm used to) so I took my time to get to the top, constantly reminding myself that "slow and steady wins the race."
When I was maybe 10-15 minutes from the top, there were two men, probably 60+, coming down the mountain. I asked how far the top was, and then they proceeded to tell me "you're so brave for hiking this mountain alone" — to which I replied, "well I'm not there yet." After I kept going, I thought more about what they said and realized I should have said no they were the brave ones for hiking such a difficult trail at their age, because I'm a healthy 30 year old—I should be able to do these things even if I'm alone.
Hugh Norris Trail - Saguaro National Park West
Admittedly, I didn't hike this trail to the top. I didn't even come close. I really only hiked this trail about three-fourths of a mile up and then back.
But I absolutely loved it and wished I had planned better for this hike. I hiked this trail on a day where I was planning to visit the entire national park, so I really only budgeted a small amount of time to hike. Plus if I were going to hike this trail to the summit, I would have needed to start much much earlier to beat the heat.
This trail started with a fairly steep incline. After maybe 15 to 20 minutes, I felt like I had gone really far, but I really hadn't. I thought to myself, "this is stair master extreme!"
When I got to the false summit, where I spent my time relaxing and taking pictures, there was a gigantic buzzard at the top of the boulder next to the one I wanted to chill at. I observed from a distance until he flew away, and even then I felt a little leary about hanging out next to where he would probably come back to.
I think something that made this hike even better was that the yellow poppies were in full bloom. I went on this hike in the middle of spring in the desert, and flowers of all colors were blooming everywhere. You can't really see the yellow poppies in this picture, but they lined the stairs the entire way up to this point.
If you're headed out to Tucson and enjoy hiking, I highly recommend each of these hikes. I truly enjoyed most of the hikes I went on, so I'd also encourage you to read up on what trails are available, what their difficulty levels are, and find ones that interest you most. Tucson is full of amazing hiking spots for all types of hikers.