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Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson Summit, AZ

2.5k 398 6
Guide 398 Triplogs  6 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson S
4.6 of 5 by 67
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 10.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,440 feet
Elevation Gain 4,000 feet
Accumulated Gain 4,043 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5-6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 30.62
Interest Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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9  2019-08-18 trekkin_gecko
15  2019-08-18 johnlp
9  2019-08-14
Crest Trail #144 - Santa Rita Mtns
4  2019-08-03
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
5  2019-08-03
Madera Canyon
7  2019-07-25
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
15  2019-05-08
Vault Mine - Josephine Saddle Loop
4  2019-05-04
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
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Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,834
Trips 4,261 map ( 21,471 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → 8 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:12am - 6:20pm
Official Route
52 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Rapid Sky Access
by joebartels

Likely In-Season!
South of Tucson and down into Madera Canyon. The drive in is eye candy for any hiker. The trailhead is up slope from the restrooms. It starts off easy and wide going up. This is an old road that used to be lined with picnic tables before the parking was upgraded to accommodate the crowds. Soon you come to a junction with the Vault Mine Trail, proceed left on Old Baldy. Vegetation is loaded with various oaks and incredible mandrones throughout the hike. The area is popular with bird enthusiast. Be on the lookout for the elusive Elegant Trogon!

Almost 1,700 feet up Josephine Saddle is reached at 2.3 miles / 7,100ft. This junction intercepts six paths providing reason to return. It's another 1.8 miles around the northern slopes to Baldy Saddle.

The Super Trail and Old Baldy continue together for less than a quarter mile. Old Baldy continues to the left. Here the vegetation starts to turn. Beautiful trophy chiricahua pines fill the slope. Their limbs reach out far and wide. Views to the northwest open up. The slope of the mountain is steep. You barely notice it slicing through a pine needle covered trail. This picturesque setting is what every boyscout dreams of on their maiden voyage. Undoubtedly rushed they return decades later to savor the moment.

1.2mi from Josephine Saddle or 0.6mi before reaching Baldy Saddle you pass Bellow Springs. Soon followed by nearly a dozen tight switchbacks up to the saddle. Views on the saddle open up. From here it's 0.85mi on the Crest Trail to the peak.

Wide views on Mount Wrightson (noted as "Baldy 2" on topo) reveal mountain ranges few know exist. To the North and Northeast the Catalinas and Rincons dominate. Baboquivari and it's towering massif is easily spotted to the west. Only 25 miles away Mexico dominates the southern views.

Data is derived from a combination of GPS and topo map routing. The Coronado FS data is known to be erroneous.

As seen in the Wrightson Wilderness map, several trails ascend Mt Wrightson. Technically the shortest ascent to the summit is via the Garden Canyon Trail #143. However with its four-wheel drive access the Madera Canyon options are more appealing coming from Tucson. The Super Trail #134 has more switchbacks providing a less strenuous ascent. That might be a better choice if you're hauling a backpack or looking to ease the knees on your descent. Combing the two trails is a popular choice.

Revised 2008
Original summary posted on 2000-06-21

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2008-06-15 joebartels
    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 of 78 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson Summit
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I always like going down to Madera Canyon and hiking up to Mount Wrightson when the goldeneyes are blooming, and today was the day

    The weather is cooling off a bit, so we did the Old Baldy Trail-Super Trail figure 8 loop. On the way back we went offtrail through Fern Canyon and then took the Pipeline Trail back to the Super Trail, not too far from the trailhead

    The weather was pleasant, and it was a great day to be in the Santa Ritas!

    I met a couple on the hike who made their 500th ascent up to the Mount Wrightson summit today. Let that sink in. I am happy to say that I am only 496 Wrightson summits behind them!
    Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson Summit
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Decided to join the Tucson Trail Runners (TTR) on the first race of their season which runs from September until late spring. They've been putting on trail running events in the Tucson area since the mid-70's. Some of their old members include well known Arizona peak baggers like Bob Martin. A group with a long history in the area and some of the first to put on trail running events in Arizona. Love the low key approach, no entry fees and everyone gathers at the trailhead after the race for a beer or two. Not a mass start race, done on the honor system and you report your time at the end. Most people use Strava to keep everyone honest.

    First race for TTR is the Mt. Wrightson Ascent, everyone racing from the parking lot up to the summit. Still not feeling 100% but got from the trailhead to the summit in 1:52. Almost perfect weather, in the 60's and overcast most of the morning. Once on top, hung out for a bit and decided to check out Super Trail for my descent. Super Trail was fun to run down other than the patches of Cat's Claw scattered about. Took Super Trail down to Josephine Saddle and then hopped back onto Old Baldy again.

    The Santa Rita's are quickly turning into one of my favorite ranges in the state. I see another trail or two to explore every time I head up there.
    Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson Summit
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Perfect day to hit Wrightson, able to get there in 55 minutes from the house and greeted with 70 degree temps. Did this as a training hike, so put my head down and hard charged up to the summit in 2:05. Hung out for a bit and was able to shuffle back down in record time for me. Cool enough at the final push to the summit that I needed to put on a windbreaker, so quite pleased at how the weather turned out.

    Came within an inch of stepping on a rattlesnake, so that was my excitement of the day.
    Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson Summit
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Hoping to avoid storms later in the day we got started at 7:30 and made quick work of the climb reaching the summit at about 10:20. It was a bit humid at the start, but cooler weather higher up and some light breezes made it pleasant.

    A couple got engaged on the summit, and as an ordained minister, I offered to officiate. Sadly, they didn't want to seal the deal right then. [-(

    Typical clouds started building by 11, and we lost the sun for good before we got around to Josephine. Thunder rumbled and light rain cooled us off for the final four miles. We never did pull out the rain gear as it was more pleasant than annoying.

    The informational sign at the summit with the picture of the old fire lookout house on it isn't there anymore.
    Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson Summit
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Really nice day. The wind did drown out some of the birds including the very enjoyable Hermit Thrush, but I still heard quite a few, mostly down lower. Lots of cicadas, too. The air was pretty clean, much better than in the desert. Still, the front range of the Catalinas was hazy, as was most everything else.
    Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson Summit
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    didn't think i'd have time for this today, but decided last minute to just go bang it out and hit the road

    really nice day. breeze kept it pleasant and relatively bug free up top. Saw Mark and Joel on the summit :)

    Hurried down and then off to a wild birthday night on the town with some 11 year olds :lol: :y: :DANCE:

    edit: forgot to put in here that i had my best trogon siting to date. probably no more than 10 feet away!
    Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson Summit
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Headed down south for a day trip to Mount Wrightson with Chumley & Kyle. This is one of my favorite hikes in southern Az and this hike didn’t disappoint. We made the drive down and then made the figure eight loop. We saw Vince near the Josephine Saddle on our way down and chatted for a few minutes. Nice day on the trails!
    Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson Summit
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    One of my favorite old stand-bys. You just can't go wrong here!

    A nice breeze offset the warm sun, and on the way down at lower elevations we got shade from some clouds. Talked to a few trail runners today, one at the summit who had made it up in about 1:15 I think he said. He said that 1:02 is the current day fkt, not too bad if you ask me!

    Save for Bellows and the very bottom, not much water on the mountain today. But the whole loop has been freshly relieved of all deadfall, and the Super trail has received a full trimming, with a nice clear 4-6 foot wide path the whole way now.

    On the way down we passed ultrazona and chatted for a minute before continuing on our way. BK's for tacos on the way home! :y:
    Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson Summit
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    This was my second hike up Mt Wrightson. I love this hike. Such an incredibly scenic place.

    Both me and my pooch were whooped by the end.

    The first time I did this hike was about a year ago. It was a lot drier this time. However, the flow at Bellows Spring was good. I filtered a liter there on the way down.
    Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson Summit
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Super Trail - Baldy Loop
    jj suggested Battleship or Wrightson. Since I told one of my neurologists yesterday I'm only doing easy trails Battleship from the jokester got nixed :lol:

    The first five miles went off at 20 minutes a pop. Then the wind had my non blinking eye watering so I slowed down to manually blink or my depth of field gets funhouse mirror scary. The final 0.9 mile to the summit was a grunt.

    Super Trail #134
    The upper miles are scratchy, most will likely prefer pants.

    Down Old Baldy Trail #372
    Per typical I slow down descending to be careful not to slip. All went well. Today I went without the Camelbak and only used my medium sized fanny pack. Worked well but 14 miles would be my limit as it doesn't hold a lot of water.

    Great weather, maybe 80 degrees at the warmest point. Large group of ladies at the summit and only a few others. One fit older guy was doing two laps on #372, he must be enjoying the retired life!

    Mentioned several times to jj that I thought I'd done the Super Trail once or twice. Only to come home to realize I know the author of [ Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop ] pretty well ](*,)

    Yellow knee high daisies were putting on a stellar show!

    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 Madera Canyon Trailhead
    From Tucson: I-19 south to exit 63 Continental. At the end of the exit take a left and follow brown signs to Madera Canyon. You'll be taking White House Canyon Road 13.2 miles to Madera Canyon.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 152 mi - about 2 hours 31 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 42.3 mi - about 55 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 295 mi - about 4 hours 37 mins
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