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Super Trail #134, AZ

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Guide 148 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson S
4 of 5 by 21
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Distance One Way 8.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,400 feet
Elevation Gain 4,050 feet
Avg Time One Way 4.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 21.6
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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4  2019-08-03
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
7  2019-07-25
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
4  2019-05-04
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
18  2019-02-10
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
11  2018-09-03
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
10  2018-09-03
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
12  2018-09-03
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
5  2018-04-28
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
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Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Oct, Nov → 7 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:07am - 6:30pm
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52 Alternative
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by HAZ_Hikebot

This trail leads to the 9,453 foot summit of Mt. Wrightson, the highest peak in the Santa Ritas. The Super Trail is long, but has a moderate gradient. When combined with Old Baldy Trail, it forms a figure eight, making it possible to put together a number of different loops, using different portions of each for ascent or descent.

The Super Trail stays within the same drainage as its steeper cousin in the lower loop of the "8", Old Baldy, but follows a more south-facing slope through a high desert environment in the upper loop. Above the midpoint of the "8", at Josephine Saddle, the Super Trail loops around the south side of the mountain through even more arid country, while Old Baldy switchbacks through thickets of New Mexico locust on a west-facing slope at Baldy Saddle. The last mile to the summit of Mt. Wrightson via the Crest Trail is the same no matter which trail you've followed to the saddle.

The views from the summit are, to say the least, breathtaking. The Santa Catalinas near Tucson, Mt. Graham to the east, and the high peaks of the Huachucas to the southeast combine with sweeping views of the Santa Cruz and San Pedro valleys to form a 360' panorama. Actually, you don't even have to go all the way to the top to enjoy great views. Many of these landmarks are visible from dozens of overlooks along both trails. And while you're at it, remember that all that's worth seeing here is not in the distance. The bird watching' heaven that exists in Madera Canyon extends up the mountain into this area where, in addition to the birds, you may see Coues white-tailed deer, black bear, and even mountain lion if you're very lucky. The Old Baldy trail also boasts an impressive pot pourri of tree species characteristic of southeastern Arizona including Arizona, Apache, and Chihuahua pines, as well as Arizona madrone and a variety of oaks.

7.6 miles of the Super Trail are within the Mt. Wrightson Wilderness. Mechanized vehicles, including mountain bikes, are not permitted in Wilderness areas.

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2008-02-20 HAZ_Hikebot

    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.

    Most recent of 41 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Super Trail #134
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Hoping to avoid storms later in the day we got started at 7:30 and made quick work of the climb reaching the summit at about 10:20. It was a bit humid at the start, but cooler weather higher up and some light breezes made it pleasant.

    A couple got engaged on the summit, and as an ordained minister, I offered to officiate. Sadly, they didn't want to seal the deal right then. [-(

    Typical clouds started building by 11, and we lost the sun for good before we got around to Josephine. Thunder rumbled and light rain cooled us off for the final four miles. We never did pull out the rain gear as it was more pleasant than annoying.

    The informational sign at the summit with the picture of the old fire lookout house on it isn't there anymore.
    Super Trail #134
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Headed down south for a day trip to Mount Wrightson with Chumley & Kyle. This is one of my favorite hikes in southern Az and this hike didn’t disappoint. We made the drive down and then made the figure eight loop. We saw Vince near the Josephine Saddle on our way down and chatted for a few minutes. Nice day on the trails!
    Super Trail #134
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    One of my favorite old stand-bys. You just can't go wrong here!

    A nice breeze offset the warm sun, and on the way down at lower elevations we got shade from some clouds. Talked to a few trail runners today, one at the summit who had made it up in about 1:15 I think he said. He said that 1:02 is the current day fkt, not too bad if you ask me!

    Save for Bellows and the very bottom, not much water on the mountain today. But the whole loop has been freshly relieved of all deadfall, and the Super trail has received a full trimming, with a nice clear 4-6 foot wide path the whole way now.

    On the way down we passed ultrazona and chatted for a minute before continuing on our way. BK's for tacos on the way home! :y:
    Super Trail #134
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Super Trail - Baldy Loop
    jj suggested Battleship or Wrightson. Since I told one of my neurologists yesterday I'm only doing easy trails Battleship from the jokester got nixed :lol:

    The first five miles went off at 20 minutes a pop. Then the wind had my non blinking eye watering so I slowed down to manually blink or my depth of field gets funhouse mirror scary. The final 0.9 mile to the summit was a grunt.

    Super Trail #134
    The upper miles are scratchy, most will likely prefer pants.

    Down Old Baldy Trail #372
    Per typical I slow down descending to be careful not to slip. All went well. Today I went without the Camelbak and only used my medium sized fanny pack. Worked well but 14 miles would be my limit as it doesn't hold a lot of water.

    Great weather, maybe 80 degrees at the warmest point. Large group of ladies at the summit and only a few others. One fit older guy was doing two laps on #372, he must be enjoying the retired life!

    Mentioned several times to jj that I thought I'd done the Super Trail once or twice. Only to come home to realize I know the author of [ Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop ] pretty well ](*,)

    Yellow knee high daisies were putting on a stellar show!
    Super Trail #134
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Excellent figure-8 route on well-constructed trails. Just a few patches of snow in shady areas. Also went down Gardner to the end of the road and back - the lower half is nice with good flow in the creek at the bottom, the upper half is recovering burn zone with some downed trees.

    There's decent at-large camping along Proctor Road at the mouth of the canyon (especially if you like cows).
    Super Trail #134
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    The second hike on my hit list this weekend was Wrightson.

    The first time I ever saw this peak was on the first AZT section I did (one of the first backpacking trips I ever did, too). It was in February, and we had driven in to the TH during the night. The next morning I was captivated by this peak, although at that time it looked like something extremely difficult to climb. With the kind of shape I was in at that time, it would have been!

    I brought my cousin, and my friend Alex along for this one. We left Phoenix around 5AM and enjoyed a pleasant drive down to the TH. We started up Old Baldy Trail and got a few moments of rain before reaching the Old Baldy/Super Trail JCT. I enjoyed the lushness of Madre canyon, and just how quickly it went from cedars and sycamores to pines.

    The climb up Old Baldy is persistent, but the views will carry you along. You really feel the prominence on this one as you continue to climb up the north slope, and the desert floor below you seems farther and farther away. The top-of-the-world 360 degree views of Southern Arizona and northern Mexico on the summit are truly some of the better views I've ever had on a peak in Arizona, most definitely in the top 5.

    We returned to the TH down Super Trail. The weather was fantastic and life was good! The backside views of Wrightson from the Super Trail were also a highlight of the trip.

    Another Sky Island hike I've fallen head over heels for. All around this hike is a winner in my book. There will be return trips to this one for sure.
    Super Trail #134
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    This was my first time hitting Wrightson from Gardner Canyon and I am now under the belief that you really can't go wrong with any of the approaches to this worthy sky island peak.

    Its a bit of a drive to the Gardner trailhead from Phoenix and the road in was a little slow going in spots, plus some of the creek crossings may have been running a little high due to some recent rains, but we were still able to hit the trail by 8:30 a.m. The first mile or so along the creek was great and the water seemed to have a robust flow. The climb to Baldy Saddle was a little bland and warm at times, but the final push to the peak was breathtaking as usual. Jackie fell in love with all the flowers and the nice trail up to the peak, coupled with a manageable grade and tremendous views, immediately made this one of her favorite peaks. We hung out on the peak for a longer than usual time and chatted it up with a couple of really nice retired school teachers. Its always nice to see someone still standing after 30 years of teaching, it gives us young teachers hope. After the summit, its a pretty quick hike down and the return took just about two hours on the dot. The drive out seemed to go a little smoother, as I was able to hit some better lines with the creek crossings and crawled through a couple in 4L.

    I wanted to give Jackie the whole Wrightson experience, so I shot a text to JJ on the descent and asked for the name of the good Taco place we have always frequented on the way home. By chance (not really chance, as Tucson is JJ's second home) he was on his way there, so we all enjoyed a nice post hike meal together.

    Getting close to the end of the season, but they were still pretty substantial around the Baldy Saddle area to peak..
    Super Trail #134
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Josephine Wrongdaughter
    Great day to be in the Ritas!

    Saw three bears, one albino rattlesnake just below the peak, puffy clouds, a nice breeze, and surprisingly few people. Tough to ask for a better day!

    Summited Josephine on the way up. Signs of an old trail exist, but it's an overgrown, scratchy struggle in other places and gets steep. Was happy to get it done early as it may have been a bit warm later in the day.

    Following Linda resulted in a snake sighting :roll: ... it was very light colored with minimal or nonexistant markings. I actually wouldn't have guessed rattlesnake until it rattled. Very weak and high-pitched, as it quickly slithered off the trail and disappeared in the grass before I could get a picture.

    Shortly after discussing my life-altering bee sting experience as a 5-year-old, I was stung by a bee for the first time in as long as I can remember. Not a big deal until I got home. Will see how it looks tomorrow, but for now, it's swollen and very sore.

    At 2 hours from home, I could see myself doing this one more often. :)

    just starting to get going in the grassy burn areas
    Super Trail #134
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    denny invited john and i to hike wrightson today
    didn't have to think too hard about that one, especially with good weather forecast
    hard to believe it's been five years since doing the same hike for the first time with john :o
    left town early, hitting old baldy trail around 5:45
    quick breaks at josephine and baldy saddle, then up to the summit
    shade the entire ascent
    quite humid, given recent rains and lush vegetation
    lots of wildflowers
    just before baldy saddle, passed an older (than us :lol: ) couple, who would summit a short time after we did
    the guy announced that it was his partner's 299th ascent of wrightson
    they were long time sahc members and had done all kinds of adventures
    pretty fun chatting with them, and she took a couple photos of the three of us, then i took a few of them
    sure hoping i am doing those kind of hikes at that age
    nice temps up top
    lots of ladybugs, getting into and on everything
    probably the longest break we have taken on a summit, but soon enough headed back down
    descended the super trail
    aside from a few sticker bushes for about a mile and a half, the trail is in good shape and provides a nice grade for the descent
    a nice field of columbines near baldy spring
    loved this hike just as much as the first time
    much more to explore in the santa ritas; would love to spend several days down there
    stopped in sahuarita at pub22 for some lunch
    thanks for the invite, and thanks for driving, denny
    always good hiking with denny and john :)
    Super Trail #134
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    went at it hard and surprised myself by ascending in 2:28...4 minutes better than last year :y:

    spent a nice while up top (for me). on the way down i saw Boone and Wally near Baldy Saddle :)

    pretty consistent, though not fast, pace on the way down. legs were pretty thrashed by the end. ok...they were totally thrashed :lol:

    Permit $$
    Visit this link for full details.

    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.

    Catalina State Park $6 per day. Sabino Canyon Tram is $10 extra.

    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 Madera Canyon Trailhead
    From Tucson: I-19 south to exit 63 Continental. At the end of the exit take a left and follow brown signs to Madera Canyon. You'll be taking White House Canyon Road 13.2 miles to Madera Canyon.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 152 mi - about 2 hours 31 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 42.3 mi - about 55 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 295 mi - about 4 hours 37 mins
    $17 3L Hydration Bladder
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