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Peak 3037 - Brittlebush Loop, AZ

Guide 8 Triplogs  0 Topics
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 6.85 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,385 feet
Elevation Gain 649 feet
Accumulated Gain 773 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10.72
 Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Peak
 Backpack No
 Dogs not allowed
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9  2012-02-25 leadhiker
19  2008-04-12 fricknaley
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 396
Photos 4,198
Trips 3,553 map ( 23,262 miles )
Age 47 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Associated Areas
list map done
Tucson Region
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Jan, Dec, Feb, Nov
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:21am - 7:23pm
Official Route
1 Alternative

Desert Wandering
by fricknaley

The Tucson mountain foothills north of Wasson Peak offer a lot of nice trails and nameless beautiful desert peaks that can be combined in all sorts of ways for various distances and difficulties. One of the nameless peaks I've been eyeballing is Peak 3037, which sits just north of a nice saddle connecting Thunderbird Trail with the Brittlebush Trail in Saguaro West National Park. The peak is a short desert bushwhack from the saddle. Can't miss stuff.

From the ubiquitous Ringtail trailhead just west of Contzen Pass, head across Picture Rocks road and cross through the gate into the wash. Hike the broad wash, which pretty quickly narrows down. In 0.13 miles the signed Camboh Trail breaks off right. Stay on the ringtail. It quickly narrows down to a path and leaves the wash. In 0.45 miles from the trailhead, the Muledeer Trail breaks off right, hang left, and stay on the Ringtail. This trail skirts around the west side of Picture Rocks with nice views and rambles through the desert on its way to Picture Rocks Wash. There is perfect desert vegetation along the way.

At just a smidge over 1 mile the trail ends in Picture Rocks Wash. Hang a right and head west along the wide, sandy wash. In roughly 0.4 miles a small signed trail breaks left out of the wash. This is the trail to Coyote Pass and Cactus Canyon. Follow the trail for about 0.2 miles to the signed split for the two aforementioned trails. Go right onto Cactus Canyon. This trail climbs gradually to a saddle, then descends down the canyon. There are tons of saguaro here (hence the name). The Cactus Canyon trail officially ends about 0.7 miles from the Coyote Pass junction. There is a sign announcing its presence coming from the other way (Gila Monster Trail). Just past this sign, a small trail breaks off right and heads south. Take this unsigned trail. This is the Thunderbird trail. It heads south towards Wasson Peak, crossing over a couple of washes along the way. The pointy Peak 3022 is just to your left, a very picturesque peak itself. To your right, you can eventually make out the equally steep Peak 3037, with its westerly pointed shoulder. Cruise along the Thunderbird for a total of 0.7 miles (right about 3 miles from your car) and then look for an unmarked trail breaking off to your left and heading west to the saddle just south of Peak 3037. Take this trail and climb briefly for 0.25 miles to the saddle at 2743 feet.

Mark your spot and eye Peak 3037 due north. There is no trail. Just leave the saddle and head straight up. It's only 0.2 miles to the top, about 300 feet straight up. You can see the false summit to the left (west) so just make sure to keep right of it. There is a lot of cholla and loose rock on the way up so please be careful. The top provides excellent 360 views of Tucson, Saguaro National Park, and the Catalinas. Be careful on the way down and just pick your way back to the saddle.

Back at the saddle continue west on the Brittlebush Trail. It soon dumps you in Brittlebush Wash and heads north. This is a more narrow wash, with nice vegetation and color. Smooth sailing here for about 0.9 miles where you'll see a sign at the junction with Picture Rocks Wash coming in from the left. Almost immediately after is the signed take-off out of the wash for Ironwood Forest Trail. Take this out of the wash and ramble north and east through perfect desert and heavy saguaro stands for 1.2 miles to the Muledeer Trail. Hang a right onto the Muledeer and cut east for 0.3 miles back to the signed intersection with the Ringtail Trail. Take a right and hike about 0.45 miles back to your car to complete this roughly 6.85-mile peak-bagging 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.

2008-04-12 fricknaley
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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 $$

Saguaro National Park
2022 $25 vehicle • $20 motorcycle • $15 individual on foot or bicycle
Receipt is valid for 7 days
$45 Annual Park Pass View All

No fee required from Miller Creek Trailhead off Mescal Rd.

Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Tucson take exit 246 off I-10 and go west on Cortaro until it ends at a T. Turn right here onto Ina for a short distance, then Left onto Wade. Wade quickly becomes Picture Rocks Road and crosses through the Tucson Mountains. You'll see a couple of signs announcing Saguaro National Park. As you come down the west side of the mountains the road swings hard to the right and there is a paved pull out area to the right. Park here. The trails take off just across the street.
 90+° 8am - 6pm kills
Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool

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