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A fast hike through the saguaro forest
The Mica View-Cactus Forest trail is an easy two-mile loop that starts from the Mica View picnic site along the north end of the Rincon Mountain District's loop drive, makes its way through a saguaro nursery, up to the Broadway Trailhead, and back down to the Mica View picnic area. Along the way, it winds through towering cactus forests and Palo Verde scrub, with great views of the Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains.
The trail heads north from the Mica View picnic area and parking lot. This section of the trail is flat and basically heads straight north. It passes through areas where young saguaros are still growing under their nursery trees, primarily Palo Verdes. Mature saguaros begin to appear in greater frequency after the first 1/10th of a mile. This trail section is the Mica View portion of the trail, and it dead-ends at Broadway Road and the Broadway Trailhead.
The trail heads east briefly, drops into a small wash, and then climbs and branched to the right again, onto the Cactus Forest trail. This section of the trail has more elevation change as it crosses several washes. This trail should not be attempted when water is flowing in the washes, as crossing moving water in the wash bottoms can be very dangerous.
The Cactus Forest trail follows a series of ridges south until it reaches another signed trail intersection; the Mica View Trail South. This short spur takes you the 1/10th of a mile back to the northwest, crossing yet another wash. Beyond the wash is the trailhead. Another alternate way to extend the hike a bit is to continue south on the Cactus Forest trail to the loop road and then hike west down the side of the road to the Mica View road. Hike up the Mica View road back to the trailhead. The distance listed, however, is without this optional extension.
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