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Yetman Trail, AZ

Guide 57 Triplogs  1 Topic
  2.9 of 5 
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 6.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,674 feet
Elevation Gain 508 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.39
Interest Off-Trail Hiking
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
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11  2019-01-11
Yetman Trail Loop
4  2018-12-09 fricknaley
15  2018-02-03
Starr Pass Resort Trails
9  2018-02-03
Bowen Homestead
65  2017-01-21
Bren Second Ridge & the Bowen House
10  2017-01-18
Starr Pass-Yetman
1  2016-05-02 wha
11  2016-02-10
Circumnavigate Bren
Page 1,  2,  3
Author Crzy4AZ
author avatar Guides 31
Routes 96
Photos 2,637
Trips 601 map ( 2,170 miles )
Age 48 Female Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar → Any
Seasons   Winter to Late Spring
Sun  5:17am - 7:33pm
Official Route
22 Alternative

The Desert Speaks
by Crzy4AZ

I could see the parking area for the Yetman trail a few hundred feet from the bed and breakfast where my husband and I were staying for our five-year anniversary. We spent the day exploring the Tucson Mountain Park trail and took a few accidental and intentional side trips. There are two trailheads for access. This description is from the Camino de Oeste trailhead; however, the signage is easier to follow starting from the Gates Pass trailhead.

The trail is named after David Yetman - an author, environmentalist, and three-term member of the Pima County Board of Supervisors in the 70's and 80's. He is known more recently as the host of KUAT's public television show "The Desert Speaks". I have religiously watched old and new episodes, which led us to explore this name-sake trail while visiting Tucson.

A work-related decision brought us to Arizona in November of 2002, and after three years we thought we should move back "home" to the Southeast. We regretted our decision later and realized that Arizona was our true home. Watching David Yetman on his show was a way to feel connected to Arizona for the eighteen months we were away from the desert. Now back as Arizona residents and on the Yetman trail, I am glad to be in the desert rather than watching it on TV!

Approaching this 6.7 mile one-way trail from the Camino de Oeste trailhead, you will find space for a few cars at the end of a gravel extension in a quiet neighborhood of large acreage homes. (The paved lot at the Gates Pass trailhead has more parking.) The first mile crosses through and in a sandy wash. At 1.2 miles, you come across the ruins of the Bowen Ranch built in the 1930's by an east coast newspaper editor.

Vista Diversion: Around 1.9 miles, you will see a trail that leads up the hill to your right. This is not part of the Yetman trail, but you can add some elevation to this hike and find nice views of Cat Mountain from an overlook about a half-mile up.

Staying on Yetman, continue to a small saddle where the Marriott Starr Pass Resort will be visible to the northeast. At 2.1 miles, stay to the right as the Starr Pass trail (from its east trailhead) intersects with Yetman. Continue another 0.4 miles where the Yetman trail takes a sharp turn to the right (west).

The next 3.7 miles are mostly flat in and out of washes through a wide basin until the last half-mile as you ascend to Gates Pass. Watch out for dead-end side spurs in the section before you go up to the pass. At the pass (highest trail point 3182 feet elevation), you will intersect with the Golden Gate Trail and have beautiful views of Saguaro National Park West. You can continue 0.5 miles down to the paved parking area to complete this one-way hike.

I would recommend this hike as a shuttle with cars at either trailhead rather than out-and-back.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2007-11-25 Crzy4AZ
  • 2020 Tucson Mtn Park Trails
    area related
    2020 Tucson Mtn Park Trails
  • sub-region related

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking 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.

Permit $$
Pima County-managed trailheads open at dawn and close at dusk, except as otherwise noted (link below). Be aware that trailhead hours may vary according to location and managing agency. The following trailheads allow after hours parking with a permit: Avenida de Suzenu, Bear Canyon, Campbell, El Camino del Cerro, Pima Canyon, Finger Rock, and Ventana Canyon. No after hours parking is allowed at the other Pima County trailheads. Trailhead parking permits are available at no cost.

Permits are required for Cienega Creek Natural Preserve, Empirita Ranch Access, and overnight parking at Pima County trailheads. Please call 520-877-6158 to request a permit or come in to the Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Administration Building at 3500 West River Road Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Permits are not issued on Saturdays, Sundays, or county holidays. Vist for more information.

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
Take Speedway Boulevard west (about 4.5 miles from I-10 in Tucson), and go left (south) onto N. Camino de Oeste. Continue 0.3 miles on paved road and another 0.1 mile on dirt road to the parking area.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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