King Canyon - Gould Mine Loop

Mountainside cactus forest and an old copper mine, plus a backcountry picnic area with a view.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
4.2 km
Ascent
142 m
Descent
142 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
877 m
High Point
988 m
Gradient
King Canyon - Gould Mine Loop Map

This loop combines the Tucson Mountains' nature and scenery with some interesting history, in the form of an old copper mine. More traces of mining can be found all along the hike if you look carefully. The trails of this loop begin in Tucson Mountain Park, not in Saguaro National Park, but they enter the national park soon after the start.

Description

The loop is good in either direction, but going uphill on the King Canyon Trail is a bit easier than going up on Gould Mine. King Canyon Trail is an old mining track, now littered with loose rocks, but it’s wide and never too steep. It traverses a long hillside among all types of Sonoran vegetation, overlooking a wash in the bottom of the valley. Higher in the valley, the trail meets this wash, and you’ll cross it to continue on Sendero Esperanza Trail. A side trail goes to the Mam-A-Gah picnic area, which has shade structures, picnic tables, and grills, but no water. Because of the hike to get there, the picnic area is lightly used. If you pack in your supplies, you can have a very rewarding meal with a view down the valley.

From the picnic area, the trail climbs briefly to a saddle, then crosses into a neighboring valley, where you’ll see the orange and green waste piles of the mine. Continue just past the junction with Gould Mine Trail to reach it. You can peer into disused shafts and find ruined stone structures beside the trail. To complete the loop, backtrack to Gould Mine Trail and take it down this valley. The rocky trail descends to the wash, then crosses it to climb out the other side, and later rejoins King Canyon Trail at the starting point.

Sources: https://www.nps.gov/sagu/planyourvisit/saguarohiking.htm https://www.americansouthwest.net/arizona/saguaro/gould-mine-trail.html

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area