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Seven Falls - Mt Lemmon, AZ

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Guide 176 Triplogs  3 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson N
4 of 5 by 48
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 8.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,732 feet
Elevation Gain 673 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,400 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 - 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 15.6
Interest Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible & Connecting
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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8  2019-04-04 Pivo
2  2018-11-12 Merianne
13  2018-11-09 DixieFlyer
6  2018-10-06 adv_trev
10  2018-03-11
Thimble Peak
22  2018-02-02
Bear Canyon Trail #29
4  2017-10-04
Bear Canyon Trail #29
6  2017-04-01 sugarl1952
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Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,825
Trips 4,257 map ( 21,432 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Nov, Mar, Apr → 9 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:08am - 6:27pm
Official Route
9 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
by joebartels

This is an out and back hike. You can shave off 3.6 miles by taking the tram. However, you'll have to pay and wait for the tram both ways. The parking lot tells the story. It's huge and crowded. Expected though as this is a great area attached to a city. Hiking this trail out of season "may" thin the crowds. If the signs along the way are confusing enough my distances below don't agree with the posted distances. Sorry, normally I'd just go with what's posted. However, they seem to be off by a quarter mile in places.

At the visitor center check out the maps. From the men's restroom head out on the trail. Shortly after at the wide three way intersection take a left onto the super wide trail. It's wide because it used to be the tram road. Be forewarned it gets rather muddy when it rains. Follow the old dirt road to the 0.5 mile point at which you encounter the paved tram road. Take a right onto the paved road. Follow for 1.3 miles to the 1.8 mile point. Along the way you have two questionable intersections. Take a right both times. The first is approaching some restrooms. The second comes shortly after crossing a bridge.

Now 1.8 miles into the hike you've reached the real trail. It's 2 miles to Seven Falls. You must cross the small-boulder lined creek bed numerous times. Each crossing is marked on both sides so you shouldn't have any problems finding your way. Old concrete dams or bridges (I'm not sure which) have been washed away by flooding.

The seventh crossing comes shortly after some big boulders. A switchback takes you up a bit. Soon you will look over to the left and Seven Falls is right before you. You come to a sign stating Bear Canyon Trail #29 continues on. A short side trail takes you to the falls. It goes down left from the sign. Be careful hiking around the pools. The lowest pool is the largest. I believe the second pool up is deeper as that's where the divers seem to be. Overall this is an easy hike. The obvious attraction is the falls. Personally I don't find the approach very photogenic without running water. Don't take that wrong I recommend the hike!

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2000-05-26 joebartels
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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.

Most recent of 30 deeper Triplog Reviews
Seven Falls - Mt Lemmon
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Out of season hike... not gonna lie- it got hot. Was well prepared with good covering, 3 liters of water, and electrolytes. Took the tram to the trailhead- about a 15 minute shuttle. There are bathrooms and potable water at the tram stop. Got situated, and headed up the canyon around 9am. First half-mile easy service road, then the trail starts. It works back and forth across the river bed- unfortunately, no water was flowing. Hiked in about 2/3 of the way, not much wildlife except for some very large lizards, and a cardinal. Found a nice snack spot in the shade, and then turned back (got word that, in their current states, the pools were just stagnant water). Views were nice- can't wait to get back to see what it's like with running water. Nice just to get out into the wilderness.
Seven Falls - Mt Lemmon
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i was nearly 3 miles up canyon at dawn when the dead silence was broken by incredibly loud wild shrieking? i knew it was no bird so i studied the canyon wall and spotted 3 bobats fighting and screaming. And i don't mean posturing, i mean full on throwing down! all i can say is wow :o

made good time. falls in 47
Seven Falls - Mt Lemmon
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Overcast skies, light rain, and temps in the 60s made for perfect hiking weather for a 16+ mile day. When I hiked Thimble a month ago, the only water in Bear Canyon was a few stagnant pools. But with a little bit of recent rain, the canyon was transformed! Lee was impressed with Seven Falls and all the cascading waterfalls throughout Bear Canyon, which was a relief since I accidentally made us hike 6.5 miles more than we had originally planned by parking at the wrong trailhead and not checking my last trip log (*oops*). The scramble and ladder climb up to the top of Thimble is always fun; definitely nothing outside our comfort zones. The 360 deg. views from the top of Thimble are pretty incredible, and the Catalinas were looking extra dramatic with the overcast skies. We maintained a solid pace the whole day, and even ran the last 4ish miles to push through all the crazy crowds heading to and from Seven Falls. I was so impressed with Lee's trail running abilities that I stole his credit card and signed him up for his first 50K trail race. :)
Seven Falls - Mt Lemmon
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Carrie and I left the pups at home to do Thimble today. We thought the hike was only going to be 10 miles, but that was because someone was looking at the description for Thimble from another trailhead and somebody else forgot how many miles it was the last time they did it. Anyways, we committed to the longer day and it turned out fantastic.

We beat the crowds to Seven Falls and the hike up canyon was great. It is hard to beat that area when water is flowing. From the falls we started the climb towards the intersection with the official route for Thimble Peak. The final push to the summit smoked me a little, but the little bit of extra work to get to Thimble was worth it. A nice summit with some great views! Had the ladder not had a top rung that I initially could not see, I may not have been able to do it and actually almost skipped the final climb due to still not entirely trusting my shoulder, but it proved pretty easy once Carrie pointed out the additional rung and I was up in no time. The hike down was quick a part from a quick stop at a scenic little cascade in Bear. That canyon was nothing short of spectacular today with the running water and dramatic clouds. Seven Falls was a zoo by the time we passed by there a second time and the trail was pretty crowded, but we knew that was coming and just pushed on to the trailhead. In the end, A nice quick big mile day today and not entirely by design, but it turned out perfectly and I left very impressed with the area.

Note: The AEG seems a little high, but it is out of Route Scout and it was "synced," so not entirely sure what is going o there.

Seven Falls - Mt Lemmon
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I have been eyeing Thimble Peak for a while, and finally got on top of it (both sides) today!

We decided to do the approach from Bear Canyon trail. The first few miles to Seven Falls were unsurprisingly a little boring, but the trail was empty in the early morning hours. We made our way up to the plateau of Bear Canyon, and all enjoyed the beautiful canyon views along the way. From the plateau, we could see Thimble about a mile and a half in front of us. It was a nice, steady climb to reach the base, but nothing too strenuous.

Once we reached Thimble, we decided to summit the lower of the two peaks first - just to be able to say we'd been on top of Thimble in case the other peak was too scary. From the top, we saw the ladder calling our names on the other peak, and couldn't resist trying that approach, as well. We climbed down from the lower peak and made our way over to the chute. It was a really fun scramble up to the ladder. The ladder itself was pretty wobbly on the climb up (much easier going down), but we all made it to the top without issue. The views from the top of Thimble were pretty amazing. We took a nice, long break at the top, signing the log book and taking ample photos. We made great time on our way down, but were ready for the end once we reached the crowded Seven Falls trail with newbs playing music and littering. *eye roll* Post-hike beers with Chloe at Tucson Hop Shop!
Seven Falls - Mt Lemmon
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as nice as the weather can get for this one

saw nobody on the entire bear canyon trail, except a rattler that buzzed me and scared the pumpkin out of me :lol:

just a couple of people the rest of the way. felt great on the whole ascent to bear saddle. the last 5 miles or so were more on the painful side. beat my last time by 15 minutes.
Seven Falls - Mt Lemmon
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Most of the hike was in light rain. Up Bear Canyon and down Sabino. My first time on #23, boy howdy does it sing! Steep and narrow up top. With the creek roaring below like a river reminded me of Vivian Creek Trail out of San Gorgonio California. I'm not sure if it was the sun making a bold appearance for the first time in days or the angels singing in the background but #27 seemed pretty cool to me. It rides high with commanding views out over Tucson and down to the bustling tram.
Seven Falls - Mt Lemmon
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I hiked this route from the alternate trailhead, off Bear Canyon Road. Just wanted to post that it is under 7 miles this way. Agree that this is an easy hike. It was also a very crowded hike. There were dozens of people on the trail, and dozens of people at the falls. First time that I have seen trash in Sabino. Had a pack full of water bottles, wrappers, and even some cans by the time I got back to my car. Disgusting. ](*,)
Seven Falls - Mt Lemmon
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very humid and hot early. it drizzled on me on the way back. after i reached the falls i got back to the main bear canyon trail junction before i realized i had left my shades down at the back i went :bdh:
Seven Falls - Mt Lemmon
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My neighbor cancelled out on a trip we had planned to drive old route 66 from just outside of Flag and stay overnight in Havasu City. Had a dog sitter lined up so we went to Tucson to hike instead. Went down on Tuesday and stayed on the East side of town and got up Wednesday at 5:30 AM to drive to Sabino Canyon and hike to the falls. Signage has been improved since my last hike here in 2010. On that trip is was...just follow Bear Canyon signs. This time many junctions along the way had signs for Seven Falls. There were about 50 cars in the parking lot at 7:10 AM compared to about 10 when was here in 2010. Just another example of the growing popularity of hiking. Not as busy on the trail as I expected as we saw about 3 small groups coming out and about 10 going in on our way out. Only a group of 3 when we got to the falls for a break. Not much water this time. Don't mind the 2 mile walk on the road to get to the TH going in, but on the way out.... :(

Tried and liked the Cafe Poca Cosa for dinner. In the past we have always eaten at Guadalajara Grill.

Permit $$
Visit this link for full details.

There are four specific day use areas that require a Coronado Recreational Pass or a National Pass/America the Beautiful Pass.
1) Sabino Canyon - located on the Santa Catalina Ranger District (520)749-8700
2) Madera Canyon - located on the Nogales Ranger District (520)281-2296
3) Cave Creek - located on the Douglas Ranger District (520)364-3468
4) Mt. Lemmon at 11 day use sites.

Catalina State Park $6 per day. Sabino Canyon Tram is $10 extra.

Coronado Forest
MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To Sabino Canyon Recreation Trailhead
From the intersection of Tanque Verde and Grant/Kolb Rd head northeast on Tanque Verde. Turn left at the second light on Sabino Canyon Rd. Go about 8 miles up Sabino Canyon Rd and you come to a four way stop with Sunrise. Go straight through the intersection and take the next right into the parking lot of Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. Signs marking the way start on North Kolb road.

This is the universal directions to Sabino Canyon Recreation Center. Hikes take off from all directions and some you might need to hike another trail to get to the start of your hike. Reference the hike summary for details.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 117 mi - about 1 hour 57 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 14.1 mi - about 30 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 261 mi - about 4 hours 1 min
128 GB Flash Drive... $14
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