Many Forest visitors, upon driving the road to Herb Martyr Campground and seeing Winn Falls tumbling 400 feet off the north shoulder of Sanders Peak, start looking for a way to get a closer look. The best way to get a close look, relatively speaking, is via the Greenhouse Trail. This route from canyon bottom to high country starts at the end of a 4-wheel drive road (FR 713) off the Herb Martyr Road (FR 42A) and switchbacks its way into the Chiricahua high country. Along the way, it passes an overlook that presents a fine view of the falls. Remember that in early summer it's liable to be dry and in winter it becomes a 400 foot icicle, but even if it's only a bare cliff, it's still worth a look.
Beyond the Winn Falls viewpoint, the Greenhouse Trail continues climbing to a high divide between Cima and Greenhouse canyons that presents more good views. From this scenic vantage point, the trail follows a more gradual course into a mossy basin where big trees and wildflowers flourish on the moisture provided by a perennial stretch of Cima Creek. In this idyllic setting you'll find a couple of old Forest Service cabins where Forest officers once spent spring and summer. It is a restful spot to view history before completing the last stretch of the 1,600 foot climb to the Crest Trail #270 at Cima Park.
An alternate way to access the Greenhouse Trail is via the Basin Trail off Forest Road 42. This friendly pathway follows a moderate gradient through oak/pine woodland, past Welch Seep, to a junction with the Greenhouse Trail at the end of FR 713. The Basin Trail is a good place to see white-tailed deer and other wildlife. This trail is also accessible via the Ash Spring Trail #247A out of Herb Martyr Campground.
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.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
To Herb Martyr Campground Trailhead From Tucson, take I-10 east 139 miles to US 80 (you will cross the New Mexico border to get to this intersection). Turn right (south) and drive 28 miles, then turn right (west) on the road to Portal, 7 miles. Drive west on FR 42 approximately 4 miles, turn left (west) on FR 42A and continue 2 miles to the Herb Martyr campground and trailhead. All roads are paved and suitable for passenger vehicles.
From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 293 mi - about 4 hours 40 mins From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 183 mi - about 3 hours 5 mins From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 436 mi - about 6 hours 46 mins
Warning: heat kills!
Avoid 8am to 6pm over 90 degrees. Prehydrate & stay hydrated. Avoid Heat Illness - do NOT hike when temps exceed 100 degrees, period.