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Wasson Peak: King Canyon Trail

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Excellent peak climb, spectacular views of Tucson and Sonoran Desert
Near:Tucson, AZ
Distance:6.5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:1939 ft
Hike Time:4 hours
Trail Condition:Well maintained trail
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: As you climb to the summit of the highest peak in the Tucson Mountains, you will see an exceptional display of giant saguaro, prickly pear and barrel cacti, cholla, ocotillo, mesquite and palo verde.

The first mile of the trail follows an old dirt road on the west side of the canyon. Soon the trail drops down and crosses the canyon near the intersection with the trail to the Mam-A-Gah picnic area, King Canyon trail turns right. A nearby sign indicates that the summit of Wasson Peak is only 2.6 miles away. From here a rocky trail continues to a ridgeline that splits the Tucson Mountains east and west; at this point you will catch your first views of the Tucson valley. Follow the trail to its intersection with the Hugh Norris trail. At this point the summit is visible and very much within your reach.

Trailhead: From Tucson, follow Speedway over Gates Pass to its junction with Kinney Road. Turn right, follow Kinney until you reach the Sonora Desert Museum. Parking and trailhead are 0.1 miles from the museum entrance and across (North) the road.
(Lat:32.2732 Lon:-111.14802)

Trail Guides for Wasson Peak: King Canyon Trail:
Hiking Arizona
by Bruce Grubbs and Stewart Aitchision  (The Globe Pequot Press)

Tucson Hiking Guide
by Betty Leavengood (Pruett Publishing Company)

Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Saguaro National Park, Tucson Mountain District
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Rob Brinkerhoff, who has posted  33 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews  Page 1 of 5   Submit your own review
Reviewed by Ian on 3/21/2015
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Reviewed by Lmo on 11/18/2014
Don't miss the turnoff like I did! At about 1 mile in from the Kings Canyon trailhead, there's a direction sign that gives directions to King Canyon Trail, Sendero Esperanzo Trail, Sweetwater Trail, and WassonTrail. I found this sign really confusing. But, just about 15ft past the and on the right, there is a very hiden rock stair case that takes to up to the peak. I walked passed it a couple of times before proceeding for 30 minutes along the wrong route. BUT, once you're on the correct trail, it's fabulous! I'm from Colorado and hike frequently, and I was able to complete the trail (minus my diversion) in 2 hours.

Reviewed by JM on 4/27/2013
Our favorite hike in the Tucson Mountains. Starts fairly mild but picks up about halfway in. You'll reach the saddle back and have to decide if you want to try the peak, which I highly recommend you do. Bring lots of's a tough climb from that point on. From the peak, you can see for miles in all directions. Takes us about 3:15 round trip.

Reviewed by Jesse on 1/19/2013
Hiked today, 1/19/2013. This hike can easily be completed in 2.5 hours (round trip) for the experienced hiker, and probably 1.5 for runners. Very rocky trail. Nice summit and great views at the top.

Reviewed by AMJ on 3/1/2012
Awesome hike to the summit, the views are spectacular, & the wildflowers were amazing!

Reviewed by Mitzi on 12/12/2011
Nice scenery, well maintained trail. There is another entry point- go west on Ruthruff until it dead ends into the trail parking lot.

Reviewed by Kat on 5/1/2011
Enjoyed this hike, looking forward to the visit.

Reviewed by Joe on 4/25/2011
LOVE this hike. One of the best in Tucson. Be sure to take plenty of water and start very early in the summer months.

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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