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Table Top Mountain Trail

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Remote desert summit, pristine desert experience, spectacular views
Near:Tucson, AZ
Distance:8.1 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:2241 ft
Hike Time:4.5 hours
Trail Condition:OK, but a few difficult spots
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: This hike is located in the Table Top Mountain Wilderness. The wilderness is very remote and you are unlikely to see another party during your stay. The top of Table Top Mountain sports two summits separated by an isolated forty acre island of desert grassland .

The trailhead starts at the eastern end of the campground. The first two miles of the hike are relatively flat and very little elevation is gained. The next half mile gradually gets more difficult as you wander through the foothills of Table Mountain. The next mile to the first summit is the steepest. As you work your way up the many switch-backs of this steep section of the hike keep an eye out for the mysterious stone walls that were crafted by unknown hands. The trail ends at the lower of the two summits. To reach the high point you will have to hike cross country through thick stands of pricklypair and hedge hog cacti. At the summit you will be reward with an unforgettable 360 degree view.

Trailhead: From Tucson follow I-10 northwest to the intersection of I-8, which is just south of Casa Grande. Head west on I-8 for about 25 miles until you reach the Vekol Valley Exit #144. Drive south on Vekol Road for 2 miles until you reach a fork in the road. Head right and continue on for another 13.5 miles to its end at a parking area near the Table Top Mountain Trailhead. Also at the trail head are a few small campsites and a restroom, but no water. Note that signs at the entrance to the wilderness area recommend a high-clearance vehicle, but a 4X4 is not required. (Lat:32.71622 Lon:-112.15874)
Trail Guides for Table Top Mountain Trail:
Hiking Arizona
by Bruce Grubbs and Stewart Aitchision  (The Globe Pequot Press)

Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers, Horses,
Ranger Contact: Phoenix Field Office, BLM
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 Wildcat Tom on 7/28/2011
Scenic and fun in the winter or late fall. However there is debris from smugglers, and you have to be careful about armed smugglers, who are in the area. Its not fair, but that is the way it is. Talked to some Border Patrol guys and they said it can be dangerous in this area.

Reviewed by MM on 11/17/2009
Easy to find a nice hike , the only thing I didnt like was running into illegals running drugs in burlap bags . With people with weapons escorting them . Why is this allow to happen .I hike with my children and will not return.

Reviewed by D. Gross on 8/18/2008
Found the trail head by accident. Turn off the Velok Rd was not well marked. Solitude is the name of the game. Exepct for a helicoptor or two looking for "strays". I waved to one that was flying low, waiting for us to pass and check us out. Started up the Table top Mountain trail. Working up to the whole trail, plus a late start was getting kind of hot. Will definetly return. A definete hidden jewel.

Reviewed by Mike on 10/14/2007
Because of its proximity to Maricopa, we hike this trail several times a year. Usually we are the only ones on the trail. The hike to the top provides a good strenuous workout that is rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding area. The section from the trailhead to the switchbacks is pristine upper Sonoran desert, with lots of saguaro, ocotillo, palo verde and ironwood (in the washes) plus an abundance of chain-fruit cholla. The road to the trailhead is easy to follow, but a little rough because of some sandy areas. I strongly recommend a high clearance vehicle. This hike is great for those looking for a winter hike with solitude. There is little shade and no water anywhere on the trail.

Reviewed by Robert on 3/24/2006
Wow! just a super hike. Last hiked trail 3/4/2006. Don't stop at the end of the offical trail, and be sure to do the easy bushwack on to the summit to the north where you can sign the unofficial register and drink in the great views. If a concern you will probably pinstripe sides of your vehicle on drive into the parking area. Be sure to put a club on your vehicle as lots of illegal aliens pass through campground/parking area on way north to I-8. Please pick up their trash to try and keep the area looking nice.

Reviewed by SJS on 9/3/2004
I hiked Table Top Mountain in January, 2003. Unfortunately, the temperatures that day were well into the 80s, so it was a bit warm. The first part of the trail across the desert is very pleasant, climbing a few rolling hills and dipping into a couple of washes. Once you reach the switchbacks, you'll be glad you had an easy part to start and end this hike. One interesting thing about the switchbacks is the part where you make your way through an ancient lava flow. Once you get to the top of the trail, you'll have to make your way to the left around the horseshoe shaped mountain-top to reach the actual highpoint and the benchmark. Watch out for the shindaggers and the hedgehog cactus!

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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