Trailhead: Sabino Canyon Recreation Area
Length: 8 miles roundtrip
Wilderness Area: Pusch Ridge Wilderness
Journal: "Naked By a Creek"
**Kid Friendly Hike (older kids)**
Directions to Trailhead:
In Tucson, take Grant Road east until it becomes Kolb Road. Turn left onto Tanque Verde Road, and continue east until you come to Sabino Canyon Road - turn left, and from there go north approximately four miles until you come to the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, on the right. Parking is limited when the weather is nice, so get there early! There is a fee for parking at the trailhead.
This trail starts at the end of the paved road in Sabino Canyon. To get to this starting point you can either walk the road, take the tram ($6.00), or take the Phoneline Trail.
From the end of the road, the Sabino Canyon Trail #23 begins by climbing some really long switchbacks. These switchbacks take a half mile to gain 200 feet. There are usually crowds on the switchbacks, but they thin quickly after you reach the junction with the Phoneline Trail #88 (0.5 miles).
From the junction, turn left and follow the Sabino Canyon Trail #23 as it stays high above Sabino Creek. The trail is rocky, but well maintained. It remains about 200 feet above Sabino Creek for 2 miles and then drops down into Sabino Basin, where it ends at the junction with the East Fork Trail #24A and the West Fork Trail #24.
If you are following along on the Sabino Canyon USGS topo map, the trail no longer goes northeast when you get to the Sabino Basin. Instead, immediately after you cross the unnamed creek at the bottom of the hill, a cairned rocky route takes you boulder-hopping across the East Fork of Sabino Canyon. You are now on the West Fork Trail #24.
West Fork Trail is a really easy hike. Although somewhat overgrown, the trail crosses Box Camp Canyon and the climbs gently over a low ridge. From the top of the ridge, good views of Sabino Basin and Cathedral Rock are visible. The trail then switchbacks down and follows through a grassy area on the north bank of Sabino Creek.
About 1.25 miles from the start of the West Fork Trail, there is a crossing of Sabino Creek for the north to the South side. This crossing was quite treacherous in late March 2001. If Sabino Creek is really flowing well, this crossing may be impossible. Heather was only able to cross only by bushwhacking upstream for a tenth of a mile to a deep shallow area and wading. I was able to cross a little sooner but it was quite difficult.
About 10 minutes after crossing the creek, you will reach the unmarked turnoff for Hutch's Pool. To find the turnoff, look for a large tree that seems to be growing in the middle of the trail. There is a cairn there also. If the trail begins to switchback, you have passed the turnoff and need to backtrack about 120 yards.
The pool is quite beautiful. It is about 150 feet long with a sandy beach on the downstream end. The upper end is surrounded by low cliffs and is fed by a cool waterfall. Although it would be a hot hike to get here in the summer, I can imagine that jumping off the cliffs into the water would be a refreshing dip.
Return the way you came.
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This site maintained by John and Heather Verley, © 2001-2010.