Summary: Mt Wrightson is the highest peak in the Santa Rita Mountains, measuring in at 9453 feet. Old Baldy trail is the shortest route the summit, it is also the steepest and most strenuous.
At the parking lot, near the trailhead, a brown sign provides information for the several trails in the area. The first half of the trail leads to Josephine Saddle, the prominent saddle between Baldy Summit and Mt Hopkins. At a mile from the saddle, you will catch your first glimpse of the majestic summit crown. From the saddle the trail continues east, keep an eye open for a trail sign.
The next section of trail leads to Baldy Saddle. It passes through sections of steep strenuous switchbacks, which gain elevation rapidly. From the saddle the summit is only a mile away, but the hike is not over yet. The last section is the steepest; you will hardly realize how difficult the hike is, since you will be too busy enjoying the spectacular views from 9400 feet.
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). Follow signs to the top of Madera Canyon. Trailhead is located at the upper parking lot, at end of Madera Canyon. (Lat:31.69582 Lon:-110.84875)
Trail Guides for Mt Wrightson: Old Baldy Trail:
by Bruce Grubbs and Stewart Aitchision (The Globe Pequot Press)
Tucson Hiking Guide
by Betty Leavengood (Pruett Publishing Company)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
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 Page 1 of 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by MBM on 2/17/2013
My friend and I did this hike in mid-February. It was a lot less difficult than we expected: The trail wasn't very steep, and we weren't clear as to why it was an "A" hike. It took us about 7 hours, potty breaks and all. The only part that was challenging was manuvering across the snow and ice (which covered about 75% of the trail). If you're going to do this hike in the winter, wear crampons and bring poles!
Reviewed by Jesse on 1/19/2013
Absolutely Love this hike. Beautiful view of the Santa Ritas the whole drive there as well. Be prepared for a very icy, snowy, and slippery trail in the winter though.
Reviewed by Greg on 10/10/2012
My wife & I hiked it and thoroughly enjoyed the whole day! Came across some serious snow in the switchback sections between Josephine Saddle & Baldy Saddle, but we took our time and prevailed. Great scenery and a good trail otherwise. Spent plenty of time on top, taking in all the views. Allow yourself time to kick back some on the trail. Going to do again in October with my brother. Yes!
Reviewed by Arthur on 1/13/2012
I hiked on 4 Jan 2011 and it was awesome. When I went, there was a lot of ice on the trail and it was hard to see. Without the right gear it was very difficult not to slip. Once at the top it was all worth it. The hike offered a bit of danger and adventure but I loved it!!!
Reviewed by Saumya on 10/2/2011
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Reviewed by Fons on 10/3/2010
Hiked it on 10/02/2010. Challenging hike ,gets very steep from Josephine to Baldy saddle in places . Last part is rocky in places but well worth the spectacular view on top of the summit.If you're a relatively inexperienced hiker like myself you feel like turning back at times. Don't ...you'll get there on adrenaline and you'll never forget it!
Reviewed by Joel on 4/22/2009
I very nice lung busting run to the top. The trail has been getting a little rockier every year, but if you have the lungs, it still can be done in under 1 hour and 15 minutes. My best times have been achieved when the parking area was under 50 degrees in temperature. You will be generating a lot of heat on the way up. Enjoy!
Reviewed by Chuck on 2/21/2009
Hiked with a friend 2/15/09. Very tought hike. Took 4 1/4 hours to get to the top and 3 1/2 hours to get back down mostly due to the knee deep snow and very slippery trail for much of the way...but what a view at the top! Would do it again but without the snow!!! Something I will never forget.
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