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Cochie Canyon to Wild Burro Traverse, AZ

Guide 15 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3.4 of 5 
no permit
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 5 of 5
Distance One Way 8.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,683 feet
Elevation Gain 1,443 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,858 feet
Avg Time One Way 4-5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 14.59
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Historic & Seasonal Creek
Backpack TBD
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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1  2020-12-14 fricknaley
25  2018-12-17
Tortolita Mountains Super Loop
13  2015-04-25
Tortolitas Super Loop
24  2015-02-26
Tortolitas Super Loop
8  2014-02-08
Tortolitas Super Loop
41  2012-01-18 sirena
7  2010-03-09 fricknaley
Author fricknaley
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 387
Photos 3,971
Trips 3,102 map ( 20,159 miles )
Age 45 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Nov, Jan → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:17am - 7:34pm
Official Route
6 Alternative

You might see a cochie on this hike
by fricknaley

Overview: This is a route of interest for those hikers of the Tortolita Mountains. This is not a complete car-to-car description, rather a description to get you from the trailhead into Cochie Canyon and Cochie Spring, then up the ridgeline to traverse the Cochie Canyon/Wild Burro ridgeline and bring you back into Wild Burro Canyon via the Wild Mustang trail. Once meeting this trail, you have at least 3 (and potentially more) options of looping back to your car. Therefore, the end of the hike is left up to you as described below. The shortest loop hike for this one is 12.35 miles or so and it can be extended much beyond that. The connecting route is a purely off trail bushwhack on a primitive hikers route and requires familiarity with the mountains.

Hike: As always this hike starts from the Wild Burro trailhead off Dove Mountain Blvd and requires the mandatory 1.3 mile walk up the wash, past the foolish Ritz-Carlton to the real trail network. This has been described by me on several other hikes here on HAZ (including the Wild Burro to Cochie Spring Hike), so briefly: take the Wild Burro Trail out of the gravel parking lot. It immediately drops down into the wide, sandy wash. This will take you into the mouth of the canyon. The trail itself snakes along the wash, crossing over and coming back. You can take the trail or just go straight up the wash, it doesn't really matter. The wash passes through a new high-end golf course and resort being built..we'll see how they preserve or reroute this passage in the near future. As you get closer to the mouth of the canyon, the vegetation perks up and the canyon walls slowly close in.

After about 1.3 miles you reach a number of signed trailheads and the good stuff starts. Hang a left at the signs for the Upper Javelina and Lower Javelina trails, with the Upper Javelina being the goal for now. Almost immediately, the Lower Javelina breaks off to the right, stay left on the Upper Javelina as it climbs up and swings out west. This trail crosses over a steep descending gully, then switchbacks up the other sidewall to gain access up the north wall of Wild Burro Canyon. This trail is very pretty with a great assortment of cacti and flora, particularly when there has been ample rainfall. There are some unfortunate views of the Ritz along he lower section. The higher section climbs away onto the hilly ridgeline. In about a mile another trail intersection is met. The signed Upper Javelina continues off to the left, around and down a ridge. The Wild Mustang trail goes straight/right - take this route and continue higher up into the "highcountry" of the mountains. This leg of the hike is relatively short, perhaps 0.7-0.8 of a mile. You soon come to the signed intersection for the Cochie Spring Trail, breaking off to the left.

Take Take the Cochie Spring trail north as it continues to ramble across the hilltops, descending slightly through some magnificently huge saguaros. Soon the trail takes you by a drop off where you can look northeast into the wide Cochie Canyon. Thereafter, the trail descends down and west around a ridge(an old fence is encountered) before continuing back east and passing through a rickety old fence gate. You have now accessed the southern wall of Cochie Canyon. You will mostly continue on along the wall of the canyon, heading northeast for about 2.5 miles. There are some ups and downs along the way. The trail crosses over several drainages feeding down the canyon wall. There are big, long views into the canyon and up the canyon all the way. You can see some old, presumably abandoned buildings in the wide wash floor, along with an inhabited ranch and some old dirt roads. This canyon has a long ranching history and there is still one active ranch in the canyon, the Carpenter Ranch. As such, you may well encounter some livestock along the trail. Ultimately the trail begins an earnest descent into the wash, where you will encounter the old Cochie Spring, with it's requisite AERMOTOR CHICAGO windmill. From here, the route crosses over the wash and climbs up a short ways along a well-defined path before coming to a small dam. Cross the dam and continue up along the trail for a few minutes. You may notice a small cairn and some pink tags in the trees on your right, marking the start of the traverse route, possibly along with a faint path. The spot is at 32.50875 N, 111.08888 W.

Begin your bushwhack here. The route is going to basically head mostly east (and a little north) up a ridgeline to a small saddle, before climbing more seriously southeast up the canyon wall. There is a faint hikers route with some scattered cairns and possibly some tagged trees. Mostly make your way east up the ridgeline in front of you, climbing 0.8 miles to the small saddle between the last highpoint of the east heading ridge and the point where the route turns more southeast and climbs more severely. This little saddle is at 32.5116 N, 111.07734 W. From here you go mostly straight up 0.4 miles to the ridgeline separating the canyons and the highpoint of the hike at 4126 feet. The views are magnificent from here, including your first look at the Catalinas. From here you have a roughly 0.85 mile descent to the junction with the Wild Mustang Trail. The hikers route along the south flank of the ridge is easier to follow than the climb so that you may well be able to follow it without too much trouble (depending on your route finding skills). The descent initially begins to to the right (or southwest) before cutting back east and making a little cross country ramble through some fabulous saguaros, including a great crested saguaro, before meeting up with a wash and heading more strongly south. Once you hit this part, you may be able to look out over the wide Wild Burro Canyon floor to see where the wash lies. Continue down the route to ultimately hook up with the Wild Mustang Trail near a little brown sign naming it as such at a little wash crossing. This is at 32.50321 N, 111.06548 W. This is almost exactly 2 miles from the takeoff of the hikers route.

From here your choices include taking a left onto the Wild Mustang trail and hiking it about 0.65 miles to it's end at the Alamo Spring. From here you can hike the Wild Burro trail back to the trailhead for your shortest hike of about 12.35 miles. You can take a right onto the Wild Mustang trail and hike it all the way back, past the Cochie Spring trailhead and back to the junction with the Upper Javelina trail. Or you can take a left on the Wild Mustang, go the Alamo Spring and then hike the Alamo Spring trail roughly 5 miles back to the trail intersection and take the Wild Burro Wash back. The options are all worthy of a look.

Please take caution on this hike, the connecting route may be easy to follow for some, but could lead others into confusion and getting lost in these desert mountains.

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.

2010-03-10 fricknaley

    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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Wild Burro (Ritz) Trailhead
    From I-10 in north Tucson take Tangerine Road exit (#240) and head east. In about 5 miles the 1st stoplight you come to is Dove Mountain Blvd. Take left here and follow the road roughly 4 miles around the west end of the Tortolitas. Just past The Gallery is a small well-signed trailhead for Wild Burro Trail. This is on your right.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 104 mi, 1 hour 37 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 20.6 mi, 27 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 248 mi, 3 hours 43 mins
    page created by fricknaley on Mar 09 2010 11:01 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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