Summary: As you look toward the Santa Catalinas from Tucson, a distinctive landmark resembles a closed hand with the index finger extended to make a #1 sign. This is finger rock, a 200 foot rock formation, with the extended finger at about 80 feet.
The Hike starts out easy for the first mile, then progressively gets harder as the trail begins to steepen. Continue hiking along the right side of Finger Rock canyon for about an hour and a half to about 5000 feet elevation level. This is right after several sections of steep hiking up rock slabs. The trail levels out and turns right (east) but you DO NOT. From this look out area, walk north towards the canyon and you will find a trail down into it and back out which can be followed to a saddle just northeast of the Finger. Follow this up steep, loose gullies to a the saddle of the west side of the Finger. Note: look closely for trail markers after crossing the canyon, they become more spread out, every 50' or so.
Trailhead: At the corner of Sunrise Blvd, and Swan Rd., head north up swan, until you reach Skyline Rd., and make a left (west). Continue west on skyline until Alvernon Way and make a right (North). Take Alvernon Way North until it dead ends into the parking lot and trailhead. There is no Fee. (Lat:32.33645 Lon:-110.91049)
Trail Guides for Finger Rock:
Tucson Hiking Guide
by Betty Leavengood (Pruett Publishing Company)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Santa Catalina Ranger District 520-670-4552
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Lawrence Knight, who has posted 5 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 7 Submit your own review
Reviewed by DJM on 3/20/2014
Do not make this mistake. Where the canyon walls become narrow a line of rocks is placed across the trail which I ignored. At that point the "obvious" wrong trail goes straight ahead and the real trail (which I never even noticed) starts up the right-hand canyon wall. The wrong trail goes into Finger Rock Spring area and all ways forward are false trails. At least one hiker made the same error.
Reviewed by Bob on 3/17/2014
I’m 67, but in excellent shape. I started alone(dumb)at 6:30 am and made it to the Linda Vista turn off in 1.5 hours. The summit of Mount Kimball in 2.5 hours, and round trip in 5.5 hours consuming 4 liters along the way. The Sierra Club suggest that the second half of the hike is easier – it is not. The sloping rock slab covered in fine grit about 50 minutes into the hike is potentially lethal. Look for a rough track that by passes this stretch. I did not carry poles, but wore gloves with grippy palms to help with the bouldering. Coming down is hell, and will destroy your legs for days.
Reviewed by Hikester on 3/12/2014
It's more than 6 miles round trip. I'd say closer to 10. It's a very difficult hike and not for beginners. But the views at the top of Mt. Kimball make up for it.
Reviewed by EricL on 2/18/2013
My son (11) and I (41) made it to Linda Vista on 2-17-13! It is worth the switchbacks to go up. For someone to get up there (from the base) in an hour and half they must be in great shape and not take any breaks. It took about 3 hours from the base to get up to the Vista with my 11 year old son. There were a few slippery spots along the rocks, but not too bad. We got to see some snow around the North side and have a little snowball fight. It was a great hike and one of my favorite trails around. Finger Rock is definitely good for training and has less people on it than Pima Canyon trail, which can get kind of crowded some times.
Reviewed by Jean on 2/17/2013
I find the other reviews pretty entertaining, especially the 300 lb, 60-year old guy who hikes up to the finger in 2 hours! We went to Linda Vista Saddle. This is a tough hike, even if you are in shape (see comments from the marathon runner, Gary). It took us 6 hours, up and back, which is 1-mile per hour (I think). The trail does not become "progressively" steeper but abruptly steeper after the first relatively level mile. Once it becomes steep it stays that way, and there are virtually zero switchbacks. Coming down isn't much relief since you must concentrate to avoid stumbling. It's like hiking through a dry creekbed, only upwards. The views are great but I can think of several hikes with views just as good without the punishment.
Reviewed by Montaigne on 11/15/2012
Hiked Finger Rock trail to Mt. Kimball Summit yesterday for the first time. I've lived here 12 years, and this hiking season, I'm determined to hit a whole bunch of hikes I've never done. The view from the top of Mt. Kimball (the rock outcropping 50 ft. to the right at the end of the trail) is REALLY nice. Tomorrow: Cathedral Rock. Wish me luck!
Reviewed by JR on 11/8/2012
I am 60, overweight (300) and have been doing this hike since I was 16. It usually takes me 2 hours from the trail head to the finger. I have never found it hard. We used to hike up there and study in college
Reviewed by Kirst on 8/7/2012
I'm NOT an experienced hiker, but I work out often. Even then, I was unprepared for the level of difficulty of this hike. We did Finger Rock trail and back down Pima canyon (I think...) We left at 4:30am and didn't get to the car we left parked outside Pima canyon until 8pm. Both trails combined were 17 miles... not 12. No joke, bring at least 6 liters of water per person, 2000+ calories, hiking shoes, rain gear, sunscreen, a GPS, first aid kit. I feel lucky to have made it out, as I almost slipped over a canyon, got overheated, hit my head on a tree and our group ran across a rattle snake. This is NOT for the faint of heart. 3 stars because I was expecting to enjoy it, which I did not. Not even pizza/beer made up for it.
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