register help

Brittlebush from Picture Rocks - Saguaro NP W, AZ

Guide 6 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3 of 5 
8 6 0
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,385 feet
Elevation Gain 450 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.45
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
4  2021-02-27
Ironwood Forest Trail - Saguaro NP West
20  2017-08-24
SNP West Thunderbird Cactus Canyon Loop
8  2007-11-25 fricknaley
Author fricknaley
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 387
Photos 4,001
Trips 3,138 map ( 20,383 miles )
Age 45 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Jan, Dec, Feb, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:38am - 7:23pm
2 Alternative

Wash Wandering
by fricknaley

remove free decal offer
I wanted to take a new wander in the desert today to scout out some nameless peaks in the foothills of Saguaro West National Park. There's a nice network of trails out here that can be linked together into all sort of loops, of all sorts of distances. Many require some wash walking.

For this nice out and back take off from the familiar trailhead just west of Contzen Pass on Picture Rocks road, where I have previously described the Cactus Canyon trail and many others. Cross the street and enter the wash, passing through the little gate immediately where a sign tells you that you are on the Ringtail trail. Take this wash, which soon becomes a trail for about 0.4 miles. Here a sign marks the Muledeer trail to your right.

Take this short connector for 0.3 miles to the Ironwood Forest trail. The Muledeer has some nice views of Picture Rocks and Peak 3263. When the Muledeer drops you on the Ironwood Forest trail there is a sign, and it is in a wash at first. Hang a left and cruise up the wash, which soon narrows in a little meandering trail. There is mild elevation gain and every shape of saguaro you could imagine. The views throughout Saguaro National Park are very nice, and occasionally you can see the Catalinas looming across the way.

In about 1.2 miles the Ironwood will terminate in the broad Picture Rocks Wash, where there's a sign. Hang a right and go about 0.1 miles to a signed fork. Hang a left for the Brittlebush trail. Brittlebush is a combo of a wash, then trail, as it wanders pretty much due south through the foothills. There are nice views of Wasson for a while, and other nameless peaks out in the hills. There are all sorts of cacti. The wash is relatively narrow. The trail breaks out of the wash after about 0.7 miles and there is actually a little sign pointing you out. The narrow, well-defined trail rambles back through the wash and out the other side, gaining a little elevation as you go. After a total of about 0.9-1 mile the trail comes across a sign announcing it as the Brittlebush. This is a boundary with some state trust land, and the trail keeps going. If you follow it for about another 0.15 miles it tops out on a nice saddle looking east. From here you have a nice view of the Catalinas. You can also see the "Three Sisters" as I call them; three prominent pyramidal nameless peaks in the foothills that are just begging for climbing. The trail continues down to intersect with the Thunderbird trail down below.

Check out the Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2007-11-25 fricknaley
  • Rincon HAZ Map
    area related
    Rincon HAZ Map
  • Rincon Mountain Distric East
    area related
    Rincon Mountain Distric East
  • Tucson Mountain District West
    area related
    Tucson Mountain District West
  • SNP Cactus Forest Map
    area related
    SNP Cactus Forest Map
  • nps related
  • sub-region 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 $$

Saguaro National Park
2020 $25 vehicle • $20 motorcycle • $15 individual on foot or bicycle
Receipt is valid for 7 days
$45 Annual Park Pass View All

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Tucson take exit 246 off I-10 and go west on Cortaro until it ends at a T. Turn right here onto Ina for a short distance, then Left onto Wade. Wade quickly becomes Picture Rocks Road and crosses through the Tucson Mountains. You'll see a couple of signs announcing Saguaro National Park. As you come down the west side of the mountains the road swings hard to the right and there is a paved pull out area to the right. Park here. The trails take off just across the street.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
prehydrate & stay hydrated
help comment issue

end of page marker