Wasson Peak Loop

A beautiful loop in Saguaro National Park, with a summit of Wasson Peak along the way.

Trail Running Difficult

Distance
12 km
Ascent
581 m
Descent
581 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
877 m
High Point
1.4 km
Gradient
10˚
Wasson Peak Loop Map

While the Tucson Mountains don't soar nearly as high as the Santa Catalinas on the opposite side of the city, the moderate elevations mean that the trails here generally stay snow-free all year long. Wasson Peak, featured here, is the tallest of the peaks in the Tucson Mountains and the highest point in Saguaro National Park, rising to an elevation of 4,687 feet above sea level.

Description

The climb to the summit begins on a wide, rocky trail that slowly climbs through the desert. After a couple miles, the grades get considerably steeper as the trail climbs up a canyon, making for the summit in earnest.

Soon you'll reach a saddle between two mountain peaks, with Wasson Peak to your right. From the saddle, you'll glimpse your first views to the west of the Tucson Mountains. The expansive vistas of Saguaro National Park spreading out below you are definitely camera-worthy!

From the saddle, turn right for the final, steep ascent to the summit of Wasson Peak. You'll have to scale a few steep, rocky switchbacks along the way, but before you know it, you'll find yourself on top of the Tucson Mountain Range.

"From the top you can see all of the Tucson Mountains, the city of Tucson, the Santa Catalina Mountains, the Rincon Mountains, and if you've already hiked Picacho Peak, you should be able to pick out its distinct shape out to the northwest," writes Richard Oppelaar on SoCalHiker.net.

This version of the climb to Wasson Peak follows a loop route that ascends the King Canyon Trail and descends Hugh Norris Trail to Sendero Esperanza. This lengthier approach and descent of the peak provides a gorgeous loop run through Saguaro National Park with an incredible highlight along the way!

Sources: https://socalhiker.net/hiking-wasson-peak-in-saguaro-national-park/ https://www.theoutbound.com/arizona/hiking/summit-wasson-peak https://www.summitpost.org/wasson-peak/151398

Difficulty

Difficult

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

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area