Summary: The trail mostly follows the bottom of Florida Canyon, crossing it a few times then climbing up onto the left shoulder with some nice views across the canyon as you get higher. The canyon ends in large bowl and the trail begins a series of long steep switchbacks as it climbs up to the crest arriving at Florida Saddle. Turn right and follow the sign for the Crest Trail, follow it for 0.3 miles to a signed junction for Armour Spring. Follow the Armour Springs trail for 0.4 miles to a saddle at the base of a rocky ridgeline. Up to this point the trail is well maintained and easy to follow.
The trail to McCleary peak begins at a cairn a few hundred feet north of the saddle; it is hard to follow and very overgrown in places. Small cairns mark most of the trail, but they are not always reliable. The closer you get to the peak the rockier the trail becomes, which makes it easier to follow. The views from the summit are spectacular and are well worth the extra effort.
Trailhead: From Tucson, follow I-10 to the intersection of I-19. Turn right and follow I-19 south to Green Valley, take the Madera Canyon exit (63). Continue on towards Madera canyon until you are about seven miles past the town of Continental, here the main road turns to the right and heads south and Box Canyon road (FS 62) branches of to the left. Follow FS 62 east for a little over three miles to Florida Work Center. There is a trailhead parking lot just before the entrance to the work center. (Lat:31.77 Lon:-110.844)
Trail Guides for McCleary Peak: Florida Canyon:
Hiking Guide to the Santa Rita Mountains of Arizona
by Bob and Doty Martin (Pruett Publishing Co.)
Tucson Hiking Guide
by Betty Leavengood (Pruett Publishing Company)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Coronado National Forest, Nogales Ranger District
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Rob Brinkerhoff, who has posted 33 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Ryan on 11/2/2007
A very aethsetic hike, however degraded trail conditions from fire and erosion will most likely prevent me from returning for a long while. A trickle of water is availible in the canyon about 3/4 of the way to the crest trail.
Reviewed by DRP on 3/16/2006
Note: this hike is currently listed by NFS as closed due to the Florida fire. My favorite hike near Tucson, relatively unpopulated and goes through many life zones crossing streams now and then. Not for the faint-hearted but one of the best.
Reviewed by JAW on 3/14/2005
A terrific hike - my favorite in the Santa Ritas. If the crowds in Madera Canyon ever get you down, exploring Florida Canyon is well worthwhile. This route is unrelentingly steep, but the payoff from the top of McCleary is tremendous. A few notes on the numbers: the hike to the top of McCleary Pk is 12 miles roundtrip and has an elevation gain of 3700 feet (check the map if you don't believe me!). The route from the saddle near Armour spring to the summit of McCleary is actually pretty well marked and the brush not too bothersome. Stick close to the ridgeline and you won't go too far wrong.
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