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Mt Wrightson: Old Baldy Trail

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Exceptional peak climb, unforgettable 360 degree views
Near:Tucson, AZ
Distance:9 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:4122 ft
Hike Time:6 hours
Trail Condition:Well maintained trail
HikeType:Out and Back

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:
Hiking Arizona
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 4   Submit your own review
Reviewed by YN on 5/31/2016
The views from the summit are spectacular, some of the best I've seen in southern Arizona. This is a great hike. Took 6 hours including a few breaks.

Reviewed by Lori D on 3/23/2016
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Reviewed by Dave H on 10/11/2015
Amazingly scenic hike. 6.5 hrs round trip for my wife and I. Suggest taking a windbreaker if you plan to scale the summit, as it can be windy and cold. Good footing most of the trail. Fellow hikers saw several black bears, and we saw many deer. Views from the top of Baldy are spectacular. Highly recommended!

Reviewed by Tim on 11/29/2013
My wife and I just finished the Old Baldy Trail Hike to Mount Wrightson. We started at 0630 am and finished at 1340 pm (7 hours roundtrip). Very windy at the top but the view was awesome. A little of snow and ice towards the top.

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!!!

Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: Arizona Hiking, Arizona Trails, Arizona Hikes, Pima County Hiking, Pima County Trails, Pima County Hikes

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