A cactus-filled hike through eastern Tuscon Mountain Park.

Statistics

2 - 3

hrs

231

m

230

m

3

max┬░

Difficulty

FATMAP difficulty grade

Difficult

Description

Located in the eastern portion of Tuscon Mountain Park, this hike is one of the best ways to experience the trails around Starr Pass.

This is also a popular route for mountain bikers and trail runners, so always be aware of other trail users. The views around this loop are endless, and massive saguaro cacti line the way.

Smaller teddy bear cholla (named for their fuzzy appearance), and prickly pear cactus are also abundant.

A wide array of desert wildlife also reside here including countless snakes, lizards, tortoises, and even roadrunners. Beginning at the Starr Pass Trailhead, the Rock Wren trail winds around a small hill that many choose as their destination for a short hike.

A trail junction lies ahead.

Most choose to hike this loop counter-clockwise, so keep straight and follow Rock Wren Trail as it follows a relatively groomed singletrack around another hill. Crossing through a sandy wash, two trail intersections can be hard to navigate.

If you're looking to shorten your hike, a small spur trail links to the Starr Pass Trail and returns back to the trailhead. Ahead, you'll follow the Yetman Trail as it gently climbs its way up the wash.

Winding around the western edge of the mountain, keep left and merge onto Starr Pass Trail to begin your return trip.

The high peak slightly to your west is Golden Gate Mountain at 4,265'. As you head southeast along the edge of the mountain, the trail begins to turn as it leads through a narrow passage between two peaks.

From this spot, you have some of the best panoramic views on the entire route.

Looking northeast, you can even see the top of Mount Lemmon. To finish out this hike, stay on the Starr Pass Trail until it merges back onto the Rock Wren Trail.

From here, simply retrace your steps back to your vehicle. Sources: http://www.sdmb.org/trails/starr-pass/ https://www.nps.gov/sagu/learn/nature/reptiles.htm