Iris O. Dewhirst Pima Canyon Trail #62 – Trail Report

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Located at the Northeast side of Tucson on the edge of front range of the Santa Catalina Mountains lies the Iris O. Dewhirst trail. Also commonly known as the Pima Canyon Trail #62. This well traveled and well known trail is popular among trail runners,  hikers, and day trippers of the Tucson area. This one way trail runs 6.4 miles up into the canyon.

The road to the trail head takes you through a residential area which seems to be misleading at first but the road ends at the trail head parking lot. The lot opens at dawn and closes at dusk. Dogs and bicycles are forbidden on the trail.

I arrived at 10am on a very beautiful Saturday morning. The parking lot was nearly full with only a couple parking spots avilable. A large number of trailer runners and day hikers were already packing up to head home. The is very busy on weekends and it is recommended that you go early or on weekdays to avoid a crowded trail.

As you start the trail it climbs quickly allowing you to look over the city of Tucson. The morning that I was on the trail it was crystal clear out and we could see for miles to the south across the city. As you continue to climb up into the canyon your view of the city changes to that of the canyon itself.

Brief History: The trail-head and easement area developed to allow access to Pima Canyon is named in honor of Iris O. Dewhirst, a former member of the Governor’s Advisory Board on the Arizona Environment and a consummate lobbyist for outdoor recreation. Click to read a full history!

Trail Stats

Distance One Way6.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation2,880 feet
Elevation Gain4,275 feet
Accumulated Gain4,380 feet
Avg Time One Way3.5 hours

 

The trail is considered to be an advanced trail during optimal hiking conditions. The rating in my opinion has been given due to some moderately steep and rocky inclines and areas that could be considered hard or challenging to those who might be expecting a paved bike path. The trail grade in some areas also makes hiking in places tricky.  If raining parts of the trail could become impassable due to flowing water.  Trail rules prohibit people from wandering more than 400 feet from the trail to help preserve the trail and its surroundings.

Trail Safety tip: check the local weather before leaving the house or getting to the trailhead.

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LOOKING west across Tucson

 

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Looking up into the beginning of canyon!

Trail Points of Interest:

Trailhead to…LengthGainTime (Avg)
First Dam3.0mi800′1.5 hours
Second Dam4.2mi1850′2.5 hours
Pima Spring4.9mi2600′3.5 hours
Pima Saddle6.4mi3300′4.5 hours
Mount Kimball8.2mi4310′6.0 hours
Finger Rock Trail8.6mi3940′6.0 hours
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Another look up into the canyon.

As you hike up into the canyon you will notice a nice change in the vegetation and depending on the time of year you go you might see a few streams running near the trail.

Trail Safety Tip: DO NOT drink untreated water.

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Spring has sprung on the trail!

The trail provides a nice and easy way to escape the city for an hour or even the whole day. A great location for family outings, group hikes or trail runs. The trail is easily recognized and marked. Spectacular views of the city and of the beauty of Pima Canyon area is a must see if you are visiting the Tucson area.

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Happy Trails and Enjoy the Hike.