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Peak 3037 - Brittlebush Loop, AZ

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Guide 5 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson W
3 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 6.85 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,388 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
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
9  2012-02-25 leadhiker
19  2008-04-12 fricknaley
Author fricknaley
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 383
Photos 3,724
Trips 2,745 map ( 18,154 miles )
Age 44 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Dec, Feb, Nov
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:12am - 6:23pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
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 distance and difficulty. One of the nameless peaks I've been eyeballing is Peak 3037, which sits just north of a nice saddle connecting the 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 it's 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 in about 0.7 miles from the Coyote Pass junction. There is a sign announcing it's 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 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 it's 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 the 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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Peak 3037 - Brittlebush Loop
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Saguaro West Double
For some reason, I was really feeling like getting in some off trail today. Freshly armed with my newly renewed Saguaro Annual pass, I made my way out from the El Camino del Cerro TH about 3:30. North on the Thunderbird trail to the old mining prospect, and then I started up the eastern side of 3373. I made it up to the ridgeline and continued up to the highpoint for a short break. I continued down the northwest slope and dropped into the Brittlebush wash. This was a nice stretch, almost better than the actual trail. I reconnected with the trail in about a half mile, and then circled east to 3037. I headed up the south face of this one, I actually found it to be more difficult for the sake of more loose footing, and much more cholla. I took another break on top, and then back to the trail and around to the van. Views were good, I could see the Superstitions to the north, but a little hazy. Good off trail excursion, I made it through with only a few little scratches. Shorts approved bushwhack! Two more peaks I haven't yet climbed as well.

Good Brittlebush show, some Creosote bloom, and some occasional Desert Zinnia and Penstemons
Peak 3037 - Brittlebush Loop
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Nice hike out in the desert this morning, trying to rack up the desert peaks while I still can. Perfect conditions allowed my first rattler sighting of the year and the first Gila Monster I have seen in about 3 years. What a beauty.

The hedgehog blooms stole the show, though....Wow.

Permit $$

Saguaro National Park
2019 $20 vehicle, $15 motorcycle or $10 for any individual on foot or bicycle - the receipt is valid for 7 days Fees

Map Drive
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.
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