9.0mi | 2,760aeg
This is a very pleasant hike to escape the heat in Tucson and to take in some very nice forestry as well. There are some areas that were affected by the Aspen Fire here, but overall not much and all things considered the abundance of vegetation on this hike is still great. This hike swings around the eastern slops of the Catalinas and the way out is the descent (making the way back the climb).
There is a relatively new trailhead, so don't head for the San Pedro overlook, rather start from the new signed small parking area for the Green Mountain trail. It quickly climbs up and away from the trailhead over a ridge. Now you start switchbacking down Green Mountain. Immediately there are great views to your left and very nice pine forest. Very quickly you come to a junction for the Brush Corrals trail - hang right at signed intersection.
You gradually wind down the mountain, enjoying nice views. Enjoy the trees and groundcover including an adunbance of brilliant green ferns. You also trek out and around a couple of nice ridges offering huge views of the San Pedro River valley and the Galiuro Mts. After about 1.25 miles or so you will come to another signed trail intersection for Brush Corrals Shortcut trail (a loop possibility exists here). Again follow the way of Green Mt to the General Hitchcock campground, which is the final destination.
Continue winding along the easy to follow trail until you come to a signed intersection for a spur trail to Maverick spring. Keep on going scrambling along some boulders and washes until you ultimately come to a signed intersection at a nice saddle (Bear Saddle I believe). Another spur trail leads off to Mt Guthrie, but that's for another day. Hang a right over the ridge/saddle and start a more pronounced descent. Here the hike takes on a slightly different feel as you start down the uppermost reaches of Bear Canyon. Very pleasant part of the hike here. The trail reaches and follows the canyon down for a waysm, crossing over the wash then sort of scrambling cross country. Sometimes the trail is a little faint, but cairns are abundant and if you pay attention you'll be fine.
Finally you again reach a more pronounced descent then reach the canyon bottom again, crisscrossing over the sandy wash. There is ridiculous vegetation here, probably my favorite part of the hike. You basically are now at the General Hitchcock campground and soon enough you'll see some tables and stuff. I not sure that this site is currently open, but I saw nobody today..other than a ton of birds singing and rummaging about. Hammer your lunch and get ready for that climb back up and out.
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The Green Mountain Trail leads from a trailhead at the San Pedro Vista on the Catalina Highway to the General Hitchcock Campground. Good views start as soon as you step out of your car here where the Galiuro Mountains, Mount Graham and the wide San Pedro River Valley are framed by the pines and firs that cling to the slope below the overlook.
The trail is located on the east side of the parking area behind a metal trailhead sign. Finding it can be a bit tough due to the large number of well-worn pathways that radiate from the parking area, but if you follow a line of rough rock steps up the slope you'll find that all the routes rejoin in a short distance into a well defined trail that turns toward the panorama. Good views continue for some time as the trail bends around an exposed point.
About a third of a mile from the trailhead, the Brush Corral Trail #19 branches off on its 3,200 foot dive down the mountain's east side. The Green Mountain Trail drops gradually through thick forests out and around a major ridge to a junction with the Shortcut Trail, which provides a little used and hard to follow connecting route to the Brush Corral Trail. From this point the Green Mountain Trail climbs up and over Bear Saddle at the head of Bear Canyon, but not before passing another junction with another side trail, the Maverick Spring Trail, which leads less than half a mile to a picturesque natural seep. This spring usually has water in it and is located in an area that is quite lush.
From Bear Saddle, the trail drops down into Bear Canyon through forests of ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir and Arizona cypress. After crossing usually dry Bear Creek a number of times, it ends in the General Hitchcock campground at the parking lot.
Views of wide valleys and distant mountains
East side trail
Scenic trailhead One-Way Notice:
This hike is listed as One-Way. When you hike several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example