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Colossal Cave to Pistol Hill, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson
Rated
3
3 of 5 by 1
 
1
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,500 feet
Elevation Gain 600 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8
Backpack Yes
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
9  2013-12-28
Rincon Valley - AZT #8
mazatzal
6  2013-12-28
Rincon Valley - AZT #8
BobP
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Preferred   Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr → 9 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Winter
Sun  6:55am - 5:21pm
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Colossal Cave to Marsh Station
Colossal Cave to Marsh Station
0.1 mi away
6.0 mi
640 ft
Colossal Cave Mountain Park
1.1 mi away
Rincon Valley - AZT #8
2.6 mi away
14.7 mi
1,490 ft
Papago Springs Trail (FSR 3541)
Papago Springs Trail (FSR 3541)
3.3 mi away
3.0 mi
900 ft
Aliso Spring Trail
Aliso Spring Trail
3.8 mi away
5.6 mi
1,837 ft
Rincon Mountains - AZT #9
Rincon Mountains - AZT #9
5.8 mi away
22.1 mi
6,551 ft
Quilter Trail
6.3 mi away
4.6 mi
1,500 ft
Hope Camp Trail
Hope Camp Trail
6.5 mi away
7.8 mi
755 ft
Madrona Ranger Station from Loma Alta TH
Madrona Ranger Station from Loma Alta TH
6.5 mi away
15.2 mi
1,749 ft
Rincon Creek Trail
Rincon Creek Trail
7.2 mi away
7.7 mi
3,200 ft
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caves to guns
by BrettVet

This part of the Arizona Trail has recently been constructed and hasn't made any of the maps or books about the AZT. It is part of the connector trails form the Santa Rita Mountains to the RINCON Mountains and passes through the entire length of Colossal Cave Park. Even though it is considered a connector trail and has yet to be finished. It is in great shape and is easy to follow. The foothills it passes through are scenic and not your normal desert passage.

The trail head starts in the "Cowboy" parking lot which is part of the La Posta Quemata Ranch located within the parks boundaries. At the west end of the parking lot there is a small picnic ground with an aluminum gate. This is where a small connector trail goes across the wash up a small incline to intersect the main Arizona trail. Go left at the AZT junction. The trail traverses the hillside to the east of the park. Then drops into the wash and circles the park on the eastern boarder. There are a few intersecting trails that the horseback rides use that cross the trail. If in doubt go straight ahead. This part of the trail is in a mesquite grove and is the most scenic area in the trail. After crossing to the east the trail follows a canyon out the north end of the park that goes from the east side of the drainage to the west side and then past a picnic ground with tables and campsites. There are bathroom facilities here. The trail follows the west side of the hill and the canyon opens up allowing wonderful views of the Rincon mountains and Tanque Verde ridge.. The trail then drops down into a flatter area of desert, rolling small hills and ends at Pistol Hill road. For those of you that want to avoid the park fee. The pistol hill trailhead is 2 miles down pistol hill road just before the first cattle guard. The AZT crosses the road at the cattle guard with the southbound trail starting about 50 yards down the road.

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.

BrettVet
  • 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 $$
AZ State Parks more info
2018 Day Use Fees range from $2–$30


Directions
Map Drive
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Road
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
I-10 to 22nd st go east.From east 22nd Street, turn south onto scenic Old Spanish Trail and follow it about 17 miles to Colossal Cave Mountain Park. Past the fee booth go straight 0.5 miles to the gate then left into the ranch. 100 yards to the paved parking area. Trail is to the east of the parking lot behind a picnic area. Or, take I-10 east from Tucson to exit 279 (the Vail/Wentworth exit), turn north, and follow the signs for about 7 miles to the park. The park opens at 9:00 AM
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