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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Mint Spring Trail #20, AZ

Guide 40 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
  3.5 of 5 
1 Active
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 1.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,130 feet
Elevation Gain 239 feet
Accumulated Gain 493 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.17
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5  2020-12-05 andrewp
11  2019-07-15
Aspen-Marshall with a hint of Mint
22  2019-06-29
WOR - Lemmon - Mint Loop
14  2019-06-29
WOR - Lemmon - Mint Loop
4  2019-06-29
Catalina Camp Trail
9  2016-06-11
Catalina Figure 8
7  2015-08-09 AZ_Step
11  2015-07-11 AZ_Step
Page 1,  2,  3
Author fricknaley
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 387
Photos 3,974
Trips 3,106 map ( 20,172 miles )
Age 45 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Aug, Sep, Jul, Jun → 7 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  5:17am - 7:34pm
Official Route
11 Alternative

Can I offer you a mint?
by fricknaley

Likely In-Season!
Page statistics reflect #20 one-way segment. The description below is for a 3mi / 960 aeg / 1.5hr shuttle.

The Mint Spring trail offers yet another little meandering trail up on Mt. Lemmon, perfect for adding on to other routes. The Aspen/Marshall Loop, in particular, goes well with a hint of Mint. This trail can be accessed both from Carter Canyon Road in Summerhaven or it's terminus at Marshall Saddle. I will describe it from Marshall Saddle because it just seems to fit in so well on a Marshall/Aspen loop hike.

From Marshall Saddle a sign points the way north (Mint Spring #20). The trail is narrow and pretty easy to follow. It cuts through heavily burned areas most of the way. There is a lot of ground cover/regrowth, with tons of ferns. There is very gentle up-and-down along the way.

The trail cuts over a couple of ridges first, dropping down then over the intervening washes. Currently these were dry washes, but after true monsoons I'm sure they flow. There are a lot of penstemon and geraniums along the way. Also the farther you go, the thicker the ferns become to the point of just coating the hillsides. It is pretty sweet. Lot of birds flickering about too. You will cross over 3 such washes along the way as you head into thicker and thicker fern cover. This area is really kind of interesting.

After about a mile, you start to gently climb up to a type of saddle and everything changes in a flash as you cross over, then swing left. Now you are along a steep embankment/wall with the trail falling away severely to your right and climbing up to your left. The burned trees here are surrounded by tall grass. At the bottom of the slope to your right is a level plateau. Through the burned trees you will be able to see the full extent of Summerhaven and all the rebuilding cabins. What a strange and unique view. I was somewhat bewildered for a while. After about 0.6 miles along this section, the trail starts to switchback down Carter Canyon and ultimately ends at the gravel road, which serves as the other signed trailhead from which to start this hike. Take notice, on the last stretch of this trail near the Carter Canyon end, there are a lot of leg level thorns. If you hike in shorts be prepared for some scratches.

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2007-07-15 fricknaley
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    guide related
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.

Permit $$
Visit this link for full details.
2021 - FAQ
$8 per vehicle per day
$10 per vehicle per week
$40 per vehicle per year (valid for one year from date of purchase)

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.

2021 Catalina State Park
Per vehicle (1-4 Adults): $7.00
Individual/bicycle: $3.00

2021 Sabino Canyon Tram is $12 extra. [ website ]

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 hike
From Tucson, at the intersection of Tanque Verde and Catalina Highway, go North on the Catalina Highway just over 30 miles. You will pass the small community of Summerhaven. The road ends at Marshall Gulch picnic area. You really can't miss it, it's all the way to the end. The parking is limited so come early!

Take the Catalina Highway off Tanque Verde Road in Tucson. Drive 4.2 miles to the Forest boundary and continue 26 miles through Summerhaven to the Marshall Gulch Picnic Area. All roads are paved, but chains or 4-wheel drive may be required in winter because of snow. The trailhead is at the end of the road. You'll have to walk the last couple of hundred yards in winter when the road into the picnic area is gated closed.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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