This beautiful little hike is truly an alpine escape. We had a great time. It was perfect for the kids and our new
friends Peter and Petra from Germany whom we met at the
campsite next to ours. They even ended
up coming to visit us in Phoenix a couple days later.
We actually drove to the top of the mountain on the old Mt.
Lemmon road, which is on the west side and was much closer to our campground at
the northwest corner. It was passable with
2WD, but what a long and grueling drive.
It is also very dry and arid on the western slopes compared with the
beautiful southern slopes we experienced on our drive back down.
We did this loop in the counter-clockwise direction
beginning with the Marshall Gulch Trail.
This first section goes pretty fast with some mild gains in elevation
and very pleasant alpine scenery. There is a four-way intersection at Marshall
Saddle with the Wilderness of Rocks Trail going straight. You need to make a very hard left turn
almost in the reverse direction to continue the
The Aspen Trail continues some gentle climbs to a few spots
just off trail that offer some
spectacular views of the
Pusch Ridge. From here you start back
down and after going through a
nice stand of oaks, I was
wondering where the aspens were. We
finally encountered them in a
basin, their tops just catching the afternoon sun on the
bright white bark.
Surprisingly, just before reaching the end of the loop, you
are treated to a magnificent view of the head of Sabino Canyon from atop a
sheer rock ridge.