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East Fork Trail #24A, AZ

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Guide 62 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson N
3.8 of 5 by 15
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 2.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,685 feet
Elevation Gain 916 feet
Accumulated Gain 972 feet
Avg Time One Way 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 5.44
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
28  2019-03-30
Santa Catalina Mountains - AZT #11
4  2018-10-19
Santa Catalina Mountains - AZT #11
18  2018-03-24
Soldier Trail to Mount Lemmon
15  2018-03-03
Sabino - Bear Loop
22  2018-02-02
Bear Canyon Trail #29
17  2018-01-19
Palisade Trail #99
13  2017-05-28
Box Camp Trail #22
5  2017-05-28
Box Camp Trail #22
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5
Author keepmoving
author avatar Guides 34
Routes 205
Photos 1,838
Trips 516 map ( 3,826 miles )
Age 33 Male Gender
Location Portland, OR
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Jan → Any
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:06am - 6:31pm
Official Route
22 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Where do we go from here?
by keepmoving

Overview: East Fork #24A does not offer the dramatic desert landscapes or cascading water falls that make many other trails in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness so memorable. This 2.2 mile segment of the Arizona Trail is a fairly simple hike with views that are decent at best. However, #24A is a critical link between six popular trails: Sabino Canyon #23, West Fork Trail #24, Bear Canyon #29, Sycamore Reservoir #39, Palisade #99, and Box Camp #22. Adventurous hikers looking to connect multiple trails and form their own unique hikes while escaping the crowds on Mt. Lemmon and Sabino Canyon are bound to find #24A essential. Although this trail can be hiked in any number of ways, I will describe it as hiked from West to East.

Hike: Starting at the Western terminus with Sabino Canyon #23 and West Fork Trail #24, East Fork #24A departs across the wash heading in a westward direction. This level section ends approximately one tenth of a mile later where you encounter a signed intersection with Box Camp #22.

From here you continue straight along East Fork #24A as it follows its westward path and begins a very gradually climb in elevation as it skirts along the hillside and begins to follow the wash. At first you find that you are above the wash looking down on stagnant pools of green water, but before long you find yourself at the same level as the wash as the trail stretches on. As you make your way closer to Palisade Trail #99 you will be treated to patches of shade provided by the oak trees that line the wash.

One mile past the intersection with Box Camp #22 you will arrive at the intersection with Palisade Trail #99. Those looking for a good spot to take a break would be wise to take advantage of this last opportunity for shade by the wash, as this final 1.1 mile segment will switchback up the hill as it works its way toward its Eastern terminus. Although the trail is not too steep, at least by Push Ridge Wilderness standards, it can be difficult with the midday sun beating down. At the top of the switchbacks you will arrive at a saddle and be greeted with a signpost marking your arrival at the junction with Sycamore Canyon #39 and Bear Canyon #29 and the end of East Fork #24A.

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2009-04-16 keepmoving
  • 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.

Most recent of 23 deeper Triplog Reviews
East Fork Trail #24A
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
as nice as the weather can get for this one

saw nobody on the entire bear canyon trail, except a rattler that buzzed me and scared the pumpkin out of me :lol:

just a couple of people the rest of the way. felt great on the whole ascent to bear saddle. the last 5 miles or so were more on the painful side. beat my last time by 15 minutes.
East Fork Trail #24A
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AZT: I-10 to Summerhaven
Day 1: I decided to join Dallin on a portion of his Spring Break AZT dash. We were dropped off at Gabe Zimmerman TH on Saturday a.m. and started the trek at segment #8. It was a sunny, beautiful day. The trail is mostly flat and winds through a scenic desert. Saguaros dominate, Rincon Peak looms and neat geology surrounds. The smell of spring Creosote wafted through the air. Plenty of mountain bikers on this stretch. We breaked at Rincon Creek and enjoyed a brief soak. Heading up and into the mountains we would cross many flowing drainages and even saw a distant waterfall. After some climbing, we both hit a wall and stopped for camp on a rock slab 2 miles short of Grass Shack. Worst campsite ever. We were joined at camp by Anna, a solo backpacker on the 2nd night of her maiden voyage, who we'd been leap frogging in those last 6 miles.

Day 2: We woke up refreshed and determined to make up some milage. We started our climb up Mica Mountain. The ever changing terrain kept me in awe. Unlike anything I'd seen in AZ. The Juniper grasslands gave way to pines. The trail was beautiful and easy to follow. The creek at Grass Shack was flowing good. Temps dropped as we climbed and we didn't see any sunshine all day. Our nutrition / water break at Manning Camp was fairly chilly. We reached the top shortly after and enjoyed the stunning views. We hit a few snow patches on the north face of Mica. Nothing too bad but the slow melt made the trail loose and slick. We made our way down through the oak and manzanita forest before a nice afternoon/evening stroll over the rolling grasslands. Winds were ripping, deer were grazing and we both nearly stepped on a very lethargic baby rattler. After an impressive sunset and 1.5 hours of night hiking, we settled on another lousy camp site, but made it work.

Day 3: Didn't start well at all. I woke up with a screaming IT band and a serious case of pumpkin chaffe with a 25 mile day ahead. I threw an elastic knee brace on and went commando to help combat the chaffe (it helps). Needless to say, it took some warming up before I could move. I limped my way up the pass and down to Molino Basin. Dallin informed me that this was one of my last bail out options, but encouraged me to keep going, so I did. Once we topped out and I saw the views down into Sabino Canyon, my spirits were instantly lifted. I pushed on through the pain and was grateful I did. Wouldn't want to miss this canyon. We made our way back down into Saguaros and a lush riparian zone. The entire canyon and every drainage was raging. Quite a few day hikers and a few backpackers along this stretch. I can see why, Sabino is a showstopper. Despite my ailments, we were cruising along the canyon and making great time. Romero Pass put an end to that. I could barely lift my right leg at this point but we pushed on. Eventually we topped out and down into Wilderness of Rocks. More snow patches in this area. Some icy, but no additional gear is needed, just a careful step. The snow melt fueled good flowing water everywhere. We had about 5 miles left and I was hurting, completely drained and flat out delirious. Spending another night wasn't an option. Temps dropped quickly and darkness fell. We had a couple hours of night hiking with some interesting route finding along snowy creeks. It took some teamwork but we made it out and to our ride after road walking up from Marshall Gulch TH. Temps were already in the mid 30's. Burritos and beverages saved the day. Overall, an amazing and epic trip. We knocked out a good amount of trail with big climbs but I also got my pumpkin handed to me a few times throughout. Well worth it.

Brittles and poppies mostly. Still too early.
East Fork Trail #24A
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Most of the hike was in light rain. Up Bear Canyon and down Sabino. My first time on #23, boy howdy does it sing! Steep and narrow up top. With the creek roaring below like a river reminded me of Vivian Creek Trail out of San Gorgonio California. I'm not sure if it was the sun making a bold appearance for the first time in days or the angels singing in the background but #27 seemed pretty cool to me. It rides high with commanding views out over Tucson and down to the bustling tram.
East Fork Trail #24A
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Palisade/Box Camp Loop
Dropped a car off at the Box Camp TH Saturday night, camped on Bigelow, and then got started down the Palisade Trail around 7:30. I've been around Organization Ridge quite a few times, but I had never been very far down this trail. It was in much better shape than I expected, and though the final descent was quite steep, it was a pretty easy hike down to the East Fork.

Box Camp trail was tough - especially with the sun beating down the first few miles - but I was bracing for much worse than it ended up being. The very steep and often eroded upper portions of the trail were tiring, but the views of Tucson over Sabino Canyon were unreal and definitely worth the effort. It was as clear a day as I can remember. We saw a few nice campsites in the final ~1.5 miles and a very nice shady section with water that reminded us of Mica Mountain. Some really fire-damaged areas near the end.

There was water at Mud Spring (unappetizing though) and sporadically along the BCT, but I wouldn't count on it to last long.
East Fork Trail #24A
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
I did the Seven Falls hike and Sabino Canyon tram ride quite a few times as a kid, but hadn't been back in forever. This looked like a good reintroduction to both. The original plan was Bear to Sabino, but't happen...

The Phoneline Trail was entirely shaded and a nice warm-up. We had lofty views all the way to the East Fork Trail, with pretty minimal effort compared to other canyons in the Catalinas. Surprisingly, the East Fork was where we did most of our gain for the day - this section must be amazing on the northbound Arizona Trail. Sycamore Reservoir was a nice little detour; I'm curious what it looks like during other seasons.

Thimble Peak, our second detour, was well worth the steep/scrubby little hike to get there. Getting introduced to class 4 climbing sounds fun, but I figured that with >14 miles in my feet, it would best be saved for another time. At the base, we still had views worthy of inclusion with Spud Rock, Kimball and Wrightson.

I was a zombie most of the way down Bear Canyon, but there was water everywhere, some deer, and of course, the falls. The sun in our eyes led to some embarrassing route-finding issues, but as the sun went down it was quite pleasant. I wasn't really in the mood for 1.5 more miles once we got back to the TH, but we survived and saw another deer on the way.

Note to self: bring a filter on future hikes of this size

PS- my first GPS route! Hopefully the triplog/route automatic link works ok. You still have to enter mileage/AEG/time manually, right?
East Fork Trail #24A
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Bear 7 Thimble Sabino
Great day in the Catalinas. It was still raining off-and-on after midnight Friday (and apparently some of this group were still awake for some reason :roll: ) but in the morning the stream gauges were around 100cfs and seemed passable. The clouds shrouded the mountains, and ice coated my windshield, but clear skies illuminated the valley.

We started as a group of 5, but Mark was under the weather and hiking in cold floodwater wasn't in his best interest. Carol similarly decided the flooding wasn't all that desirable, and both turned back at various stages.

Seven Falls was awesome, and half the joy was that there were no other people who had any interest in hiking in snowmelt flood waters to get there. (The guy in jeans who made one crossing before turning back did not receive any judgemental comments from me :whistle: )

Having never hiked any of this before, I had proposed the Bear Sabino Loop with a side trip to Hutch or Thimble. Belinda voted on Thimble and I was surprised how cool of a peak it is. While climbing the chimney we found out that not only smoke rises, and it left all of us with a bad taste in our mouths.

From Thimble we trudged through the little remaining snow and down into East Sabino. We took a break at the Sabino junction and were happy to have decided not to go to Hutch's since there would be numerous additional deep, cold crossings with the ample flow in the creek.

On the return, Mike and Belinda opted for the Phone Line Trail to keep their feet dry. I had hiked it a week ago and decided to head down and play in the water along the road. The last tram left shortly after I started, leaving the road peaceful and quiet with only a handful of runners along the way.

This was a great loop. It would be nice in normal weather, but was extra special with the snow and runoff. After drying off and warming up we devoured a delicious Italian dinner before heading our separate ways.

Apparently I need to add more pineapple to my diet.
East Fork Trail #24A
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ran the loop with jen early this morning. really nice morning. upper bear canyon and east fork are pretty overgrown right now. the last hot, exposed 2 miles were pretty painful for this 'ol bird :sweat:

the elevation on my track seems too high, i'm going with The Dude's numbers
East Fork Trail #24A
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Work finished up a bit early, so I thought I would treat myself to another trip up the to the Gordon Hiryabashi TH about 2:30 to find it closed. I parked in the small lot right by the road and hiked through the campground to the trail. The first mile or so of the trail are OK, lots of burn evidence with a slow recovery, plus marching thtough a gravelly wash. Once you hit the saddle views open up big time, slowed me down for a while. I also got cell service back so I had to stop and finish up a bit of work...back to the fun! Made my way to the Sycamore reservoir and poked around, lots of water to be found here. Got back on the trail and followed to the end, even did a little bit of the East Fork trail because I could. First time back to this gem since February! Headed back the way I came, saw a white tail about a mile from the TH. It regarded me cooly, let me snap a few photos and then we each went on our way. Dark looming clouds as I was heading back but I just got a few sprinkles. By the time I made it down the Catalina highway I could see where the storm hit below the mountains, fun stuff. Had to stop by IKEA on the way home to get some furniture for the wife, there is an hour of my life I wish was trail time...Great hike, and I got to do it without seeing anyone else, my favorite.
East Fork Trail #24A
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
What an awesome hike! My plans for a weekend backpack trip were quelled due to the impending weather, and not wanting to get stuck in the took me to Tucson for a second time this week so I got in a solid grinder to make up for it. This one has been on the radar for a while, and I finally had the time to get it in. I had done Bear Canyon about a mile past the 7 Falls, and I had done Sabino about a mile past the last tram stop, but everything in between was sweet, pristine desert. Got to the parking lot about 11, but I had to circle for almost 15 minutes before finally finding a parking spot. This is quite a feat considering there must be at least 250+ parking spots, but there were droves of retirees and also kids (must be school out for some folks), this had flashes of the Piestewa summit lot. I strongly considered going elsewhere, but I also knew I would have plenty of solitude once past 7 Falls. I really enjoyed the upper reaches of Bear Canyon once past the falls, and the East Fork trail was by far the highlight of the day. Only a few miles long, but boy the views are spectacular, 360 degrees of untouched desert. Everything was really green, and there was a surprising amount of bloom above about 4000'. So many great Sotols, Agaves, and Yuccas to see out here. I kept up a good pace with only a few breaks, at least half of my wait time was spent trying to finish a few work emails before dropping out of cell service for a good 3 hours. Made it back around to Sabino Canyon, I could not bring myself to hike the road this time so I took the Phone Line trail back. What is a little more mileage and AEG, I am a bit of a glutton for punishment, besides the Phone Line trail totally rocks! Much better views than the road, plus many fewer people. Back to the van a bit before 5, my only regret is not getting to make the side trip to Hutch's Pool, but I had to be home to Phoenix by 7:30 to take care of some stuff with the kids. This will be worth doing again for sure!
East Fork Trail #24A
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Big loop with Kyle on a Friday. We started from the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center and made a counter clockwise loop. We made stops at Seven Falls and Hutchs Pool. Both were very cool and had some pools of water. Not much was flowing. We finished our loop along Sabino Canyon. This is a really beautiful area that I hope to return to someday.

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
Connector trail - Not Applicable

To hike
This connector trail can be accessed from multiple trails, either from Mt. Lemmon or Sabino Canyon:

Bear Canyon #29: 8.3 miles from main Sabino Canyon Parking lot or 7.1 miles from Bear Canyon Rd Parking lot
Sycamore Reservoir #39: 4.35 miles
Palisade #99: 6.2 miles
Box Camp #22: 7.1 miles
Sabino Canyon #23: 2.5 miles*
West Fork #24: 2.2 miles*

*Both Sabino Canyon #23 and West Fork #24 are connector trails themselves and numerous options exist to reach them, mileage provided is for the specific trail segment. Hikers looking to access #24A using these options must do further research to determine actual distance.
page created by keepmoving on Apr 16 2009 3:52 am
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