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Sabino Dam, AZ

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Guide 56 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson N
3.3 of 5 by 6
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,700 feet
Elevation Gain 10 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 3.05
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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4  2018-11-05 gummo
6  2016-12-22 Timknorr
8  2014-08-26 winotron
14  2014-06-22 Timknorr
26  2013-09-19
Sabino Lower Canyon Trails
16  2013-05-06 Timknorr
4  2012-12-23 fricknaley
5  2012-01-01
Sabino Canyon Road
Page 1,  2
Author PhilipMueller
author avatar Guides 15
Routes 5
Photos 926
Trips 53 map ( 310 miles )
Age 43 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Apr, May → 7 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:11am - 6:20pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Easy Access to Water
by PhilipMueller

If you are in Tucson and are looking for some easy access to water in the desert, check out the short lasso loop hike to the Sabino Dam. After stopping at the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center & Bookstore amble down Bear Canyon Trail for 0.8 miles. The trail runs parallel with the road, but except for the occasional tourist tram, you're away from modernity and focused on the views of the Pusch Ridge Wilderness in the distance and the rich Sonoran Desert flora in the foreground. Head north off of Bear Canyon Trail onto Sabino Lake Trail and you'll walk above and parallel to the creek for about 0.6 miles. Shortly after passing Bluff Trail, which you can take to Upper Sabino Canyon Road, you'll cross the creek and head south on Sabino Dam Trail. On Sabino Dam Trail, you are pretty much walking in the creek bed for 0.3 miles to the dam. It's like a mini-mini Aravaipa with trees lining the water's edge and canyon walls framing the scene. Lots of great spots in those 3 tenths of a mile to relax in the shade, splash in the water, or soak up some sun--whatever your pleasure. Just beyond the dam, you have to make your own trail for about 0.1 mile west across the creek and climb back up to Sabino Lake Trail, on which you retrace your path back to the visitor center.

This is a great hike to do in the spring. You get to see lots of wildflowers and blooming cacti on your way to the dam, and you have a nice amount of water in which to cool off once you get there. Other times of the year could work, too, but spring is probably best. All of the trails are really well marked and groomed, and the hiking is overall relaxingly horizontal. If you want Sonoran Desert magic fast and easy, this hike is for you.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2008-04-23 PhilipMueller
  • sub-region related
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
Sabino Dam
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Bought a new annual pass and hit the hiker mall that is the Sabino trail network. Went up Phoneline Trail, admiring the view up Sabino Canyon that is always better than I remember. Dropped down Phoneline link to the Sabino Road, and ruined some family’s photo shoot by the stagnant creek with my lurching yeti stride. Sorry folks! Walked down the road wishing I could ride my bike up or hike the entire thing this afternoon. Finished up around dusk, and headed up into the foothills ‘hood for a family dinner rendezvous. Nice afternoon quickie hike.
Sabino Dam
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Evening hike with Niko and Jordan after work. Hiked up to Sabino Dam and then continued up along the creek to Phoneline Link Trail, which we took to Phoneline itself. Had a beverage and an anticlimactic sunset break at the Phoneline trails junction. A little chilly for a swim, but I wished I had anyway.
Sabino Dam
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After our trip up to Mt Lemmon we stopped by Sabino Canyon for another short hike. The weather was cool but humid, so I was still drenched in sweat. We just walked down to the dam and hung out there for a bit and headed back. I'm not sure how it normally is, but there was a lot of water at the dam and in the creek. Unfortunately the gnats were out in full force. The desert scenery here is very lush and there seems to be a lot of wildlife. Very nice area. We spotted a deer, a roadrunner and some cottontails in our short time here. I'd love to come back here soon and hike all the way to Seven Falls.
Sabino Dam
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holy humidity :sweat: :sweat: :sweat:
Sabino Dam
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After years of staring at it on the map, I finally got off my butt and hiked this loop. The morning started off cool and super humid. Weather just got nicer and nicer. The upper stretches of Bear Canyon are just fantastic, especially the rolling grassy hills high up in the canyon. The stretch just above the falls is cool too. Many little pools and waterfalls. Great trees and huge boulders all over the place, including one huge square monster that appears perched on it's point. The trees along the creek are turning, making for great ambiance.

The stretch along the East Fork just rocks, as always.

Coming back on Sabino #23, I had forgot how sweet this trail was. It has been years since I was actually on this trail, but the views came back in a hurry. Hiked the Phoneline back, then the connector down to Sabino Creek trail and Dam trails to make an overall 18.5 mile loop of perfection.

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 hike
From Tanque Verde Road in Tucson turn north on Sabino Canyon Road and follow it 4 miles to the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area Visitor Center.
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