register help

Wild Mustang - Alamo Spring Loop, AZ

Guide 69 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3.2 of 5 
no permit
176 69 0
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 8.75 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,675 feet
Elevation Gain 1,276 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,983 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 18.67
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
7  2020-01-01
Tortalitas loop
5  2019-12-25 GrottoGirl
22  2018-12-19
Tortolita Mountains Inner Loop
25  2018-12-17
Tortolita Mountains Super Loop
8  2017-03-28
Wild Burro/ Upper Javelina/ Wild Mustang loop
1  2016-11-20 fricknaley
1  2016-11-09 fearnestiv
9  2014-12-24
Christmas Backpacking Trip
Page 1,  2
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   Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar → 7 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:38am - 7:23pm
Official Route
11 Alternative

AKA Tortolita Superloop
by fricknaley

remove free decal offer
2013 Route Modification Access is now from the Ritz.

I've been waiting for years to go hiking in the Tortolita Mountains, just north of Tucson in Oro Valley. It's a range of low 4000 foot peaks, not totally unlike the Tucson Mountains. But it's different... much larger and deeper is this range and far less well known. There are some nice, new trails here, mostly focused along the Wild Burro Canyon on the west end of the range. They are worth checking out.

The Wild Burro Trail is the gateway into the mountains, and you take this for about 1.25 miles to the trailheads for most of the other trails that exist here. So no matter your destination, your origin will begin the Wild Burro.

Take the Wild Burro Trail out of the gravel parking lot. It immediately drops down into the wide, sandy wash. This will take you into the mouth of the canyon. The trail itself snakes along the wash, crossing over and coming back. You can take the trail or go straight up the wash. The wash passes through a new high-end golf course and resort being built... we'll see how they preserve or reroute this passage. As you get closer to the mouth of the canyon, the vegetation perks up, and the canyon walls slowly close in. After about 1.25-1.3 miles, you reach several signed trailheads, and the fun begins.

Hang a left at the signs for the Upper Javalina and Lower Javalina trails, with the Upper Javalina being the goal for now. Soon the Lower Javalina breaks off to the right, stay left on the Upper Javalina as it climbs up and swings out west. This trail crosses over a steep descending gulley, then switchbacks up the other sidewall to gain access up the north wall of Wild Burro Canyon. This trail is beautiful with a great assortment of cacti and flora, mainly when there has been ample rainfall.

After about 1 mile or so on the Upper Javalina, there is an intersection with the Wild Mustang Trail, which breaks off right. This is the primary route out to Alamo Springs. This winding trail dances along ridgelines and the upper bank of the north wall of Wild Burro Canyon for a total of roughly 4 miles. The views along this trail are occasionally phenomenal out over Tucson and up at the northern peaks of the Tortolitas. There are also sweeping views out over the southern wall of Wild Burro Canyon. The Wild Mustang crosses over some side washes but is always easy to follow in such circumstances. The one point of note near the beginning of the Wild Mustang leg is one unsigned trail intersection. Take the right leg, which clearly climbs, not the left, which clearly descends. Otherwise, everything is well marked and easy to follow. Near the end of the Wild Mustang, you pass through an old rickety gate and start to descend to the wash bottom. The trail dead-ends at another gate just beyond which lies Alamo Spring. This is an old settlement with strewn remnants of an old corral and a building foundation. The Spring lies at the head of a spot where the canyon briefly narrows down and is quite pretty. A lot of greenery around the spring too.

Across the floor of the wash lies the signs for the return routes. Take a left onto the Alamo Spring trail. This climbs back up the south face of the Canyon and takes you back. This also offers excellent views way out into the Tortolita interior. Very nice out there. The Alamo spring trail winds it's way back along the ridgeline with multiple areas of up and down. There is one intersection near the beginning where the Alamo Spring continues to climb up and left, and a trail marked only Spur breaks right and down. Otherwise, there is no issue. There are lovely saguaro and rock formations along this route. After about 3.75 miles, the Alamo Spring trail starts to rapidly descend back to the Wild Burro Wash/Canyon floor to place you back after about 4 miles total along its way. There is a sign for a right onto the Lower Javalina trail near the bottom. Ignore this and continue onto the wash bottom. Follow the Wild Burro back to your car to complete this excellent, roughly 11.75-mile loop.

Check out the Official Route and 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.

2008-02-17 fricknaley
  • guide related image
    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 $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To Wild Burro (Ritz) Trailhead
From I-10 in north Tucson take Tangerine Road exit (#240) and head east. In about 5 miles the 1st stoplight you come to is Dove Mountain Blvd. Take left here and follow the road roughly 4 miles around the west end of the Tortolitas. Just past The Gallery is a small well-signed trailhead for Wild Burro Trail. This is on your right.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 104 mi, 1 hour 37 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 20.6 mi, 27 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 248 mi, 3 hours 43 mins
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool
help comment issue

end of page marker