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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Mica Mountain Trail, AZ

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506 18 0
Guide 18 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson
Rated
4.3
4.3 of 5 by 6
 
0
Statistics
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Distance One Way 1.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,935 feet
Elevation Gain 650 feet
Accumulated Gain 657 feet
Avg Time One Way 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 3.59
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes
Dogs not allowed
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Will recalculate on button tap!
35  2019-04-05
Rincon Backpack
BiFrost
9  2017-05-12
Turkey Creek Trail #34
gunungapi
47  2016-09-18
Your shoe's untied - Rincon's North Slope Loop
tibber
27  2016-09-17
Rincon Manning Camp Turkey Creek
BiFrost
199  2016-05-21
Mica Mountain Marathon Loop
AZHiker456
19  2016-03-24
AZT: Vail to Oracle
DallinW
79  2015-09-01
Rincon Mountains - AZT #9
The_Dude
26  2015-04-16
AZT #9c Manning Camp to Park Boundary
markthurman53
Page 1,  2
Author markthurman53
author avatar Guides 75
Routes 475
Photos 5,651
Trips 400 map ( 3,956 miles )
Age 66 Male Gender
Location Tucson, Arizona
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Preferred   Sep, May, Aug, Jul
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:10am - 6:19pm
Official Route
 
8 Alternative
 
Water
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Manning Camp to Mica Mountain
by markthurman53

Likely In-Season!
The Mica Mountain Trail is the main trail from south to north over Mica Mountain. It used to be used as the route from Manning Camp to the Lookout tower, now it is quite often used as the route for hikers to get to Mica Mountain and the North Fire Loop Trail. As part of the Arizona Trail #9 it is the main route over Mica Mountain to Redington Pass.

The Mica Mountain Trail is 1.4 miles long and climbs about 650 feet to the North Fire Loop Trail, 0.1 miles from Mica Mountain. The trail starts 0.1 miles from manning camp along the South Fire Loop Trail and heads up to Mica Mountain following the Upper reaches of Chimenea Creek. Mica Meadow Trail and the Spud Rock Trail intersect at about 0.5 miles and are connector trails to The East and North fire Loop Trails respectively.

Mica Mountain Trail makes for a good start for many possible loop trails in the Mica Mountain region if one is staying on the mountain for a few days. The Trail system on Mica Mountain allows you to create a couple of different loop hikes. With a little thought I was able to do all the trails including the North Slope Trail on two separate hikes in one and a half days without duplicating trails (much).

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2017-04-13 markthurman53
  • Rincon HAZ Map
    area related
    Rincon HAZ Map
  • Rincon Mountain Distric East
    area related
    Rincon Mountain Distric East
  • Tucson Mountain District West
    area related
    Tucson Mountain District West
  • SNP Cactus Forest Map
    area related
    SNP Cactus Forest Map
  • nps related
  • sub-region related

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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Mica Mountain Trail
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Headed over to Happy Valley on Christmas Eve to get up in the high country ahead of the big weather system that was predicted to dump a bunch of snow. No cars at Miller Creek, perfect clear cold weather. Miller Creek trail in good condition, a little confusing in a spot or two as it crosses some drainages. Headed up Heartbreak Ridge, my first time on that trail - wasn't sure what to expect as I figured it didn't get much traffic. Trail in excellent condition, surprised to see tons of steps build on a trail so far in the backcountry - a total contrast to the brushy thrash-fests on all the trails on the "back side" of the Santa Catalinas (like Samaniego Ridge or CDO). I guess the National Parks have a much larger budget for trail maintenance... Lots of water along the way to Devil's Bathtub, which I had never visited, which was also flowing strong. Headed up to Manning Cabin, nobody there either except for a few deer, think I had the whole mountain to myself. (Plenty of water at Manning, as always...)

Ran up to Spud Rock, and the weather started changing fast, was suddenly in a windy cloud with the temps dropping fast and smoky wisps of fog blowing through the forest. Put on some layers (tights, windshirt, buff), ran up to the summit and didn't even stop, and bailed down the Bonita trail, and by the time I hit Heartbreak, I was beneath the cloud ceiling that was enveloping Micah and back in the sun, but the temp kept dropping. Crazy wind along the ridge, literally pushed me off the trail a few times, lots of birds flitting around, couldn't figure out how they don't get blown off the mountain. Made time to run up to the Lookout on the way out, another first - incredible views of Rincon and San Pedro Valley, worth the side trip.

Tried to keep a strong pace coming down Miller, but that is one steep, boulder-filled descent. Returned to the truck in a total time a bit under six hours for 23mi and 6400aev, and cracked a beer just as the sky went black and that huge weather system hit, exciting drive back to Tucson rocking down the freeway in the old 4x4 truck with high winds, sideways precip, and wrecks here and there...
Mica Mountain Trail
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Your shoe's untied - Rincon's North Slope Loop
It says "would I do this hike again?". Not the North Slope for sure unless there is some trail maintenance. You do get some sweeping views, nice flora from time to time and it does make a loop but not much else to say altho you know I'll end up with several paragraphs.

After a nice nite, other than all of us getting cold feet in our sleeping bags for some reason, we had a leisurely breakfast before heading off for our various hikes of the day atop this mountain. Wendy wanted to go say hello to Helen so we headed northwest out of camp. Once again, there are sweeping views as you get to the edges, and there are lots of edges up here. We stopped for a selfie with Wrightson in the far background since we both were up there together in 2010. From this same point we could hear and then see Karl on Helen walking around so we got a couple pictures before heading on our way.

We continued on a nice trail across to the other side of the mountain where we met up with K&K as they were coming down from Helen. They headed off to Spud and we continued toward Italian Spring via the so-called North Slope Trail except that Wendy decided she was hungry. We stopped so she could fuel up and then she decided she wanted to go up and close with Helen. I waited below as I was still a bit sore from the previous day's climb, I mean hike. I could hear K&K up on Spud Rock and soon Wendy came back and off we went.

Well as soon as we rounded the corner to the other edge of the mountain, the trail blazing began. I think both of us thot it would be short-lived so we pushed thru ferns and over downfall and searched out the missing trail. But this went on for nearly two miles. We were going thru a burn section (I think from 1994). It was quite obvious there hadn't been any trail maintenance for a very long time. By the time we were wanting this to be over, it was really too late to turn back. My hopes were that after Italian Spring that the trail conditions would improve. So we pushed thru trees and brush and over and around deadfall that was on a narrow path of this slope. We were constantly having to tie our shoes :bdh: on top of trying to find cairns and metal blaze markers. Many times we found the markers but they were in the deadfall that we would have to negotiate. Oh, and one time we saw a big pile of bear scat and went "oh ya, bears"... kind of forgot about that.

We did stop to take in the views as you could see quite far today. As we paused for lunch not too far from Italian Spring in amongst some boulders, I pondered that we were the only ones up here; what would happen if something happened to us? No one would have a clue where to find us. Well that soon passed and we headed on down to Italian Spring. The trail from here on out was not too bad altho there were still moments when we lost the trail. Glad we stopped where we did too because there was nowhere to really sit around the spring area as it was surrounded by ferns and bees. At the spring there are two different trails to take too.

We continued up the hill thru the turning ferns with the light coming thru the forest for the trees. I'm still not fond of this "UP" process again but it wasn't too bad. Toward the end of the climb I was doing my tired dog imitation and hiking from shade to shade :lol: . Now our original goal for the hike was to do this little loop and then head back to camp where we would go to the Devil's Bathtub. Well that plan went out the window so Wendy suggested we hike to Reef Rock, a place she hadn't seen up here. We used the Fire Loop Trail once we topped out.

Now this plan worked out very well and we had a nice hike on this east side of the mountain. We came to where you could start seeing far yonder and came upon a flat rock area with a big boulder. I thot this was Reef Rock but it wasn't. So I just call it the Eastern Overlook. We had incredible views here including of Rincon Mountain. We checked out the area and then continued on our way to Reef Rock at 8300 feet. The views were equally awesome from here and you could see the trail we came in on way below between the Park Boundary and the TH saddle.

From here we headed UP again but I knew there wasn't much elevation to be gained on this mountain so we eventually ended up on a nice forest floor and headed toward Mica Meadow. We hung a right and headed up to the meadow but then realized we didn't want to go that way. The signs are a little confusing up here so you have to decipher them. For instance, :-k the question became: are we on the trail to Mica Meadow or is this the Mica Meadow Trail? The trail we eventually took is somewhat marked on the topo but not a named trail. So we took that and when it didn't quite match up we got a little worried but once it hung a left, it joined up with the Mica Mountain Trail... at least I think it did. We're not sure if that's a re-route or what.

But from here it was pretty much clear sailing back to camp. We followed a creek, altho those are not named on the topos, and thru some more fern-covered forest floors back to Manning Camp. It wasn't quite what Wendy had in mind for the day and I certainly didn't want to put those kind of miles on but it was quite an adventure and we covered a lot of the top of this mountain. We did encounter water everywhere too.

This mountain top has so much to offer as to its terrain with meadows and rock mountains and overlooks and creeks and all sorts of stuff; definitely worth a two-nite stay. However, please heed our warning, the North Slope Trail is really not and according to Karl, neither is part of the East Slope. It's too bad but if there's not enough traffic to justify the maintenance, I guess it's understandable.

K&K showed up about 1/2 hour later I think. I had quite a few scratches at that and some bruises from the day. K&K covered a lot of the mountain as well. We made ourselves some dinner, Karl kept a nice fire burning or we would have retired much earlier.


2-14-17 Part 1 to Helen's Dome and starting on the North Slope Trail [ youtube video ]
Part 2 North Slope Route not too far from Italian Spring [ youtube video ]
Part 3 Italian Spring via Fire Loop [ youtube video ]
Part 4 Reef Rock to Manning Camp via Mica Meadow [ youtube video ]
Mica Mountain Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
AZT: Vail to Oracle
March 24th
Miles: 17.46
AEG: 5,520 ft

We flew through the first couple of miles to X9 Ranch Road, where we left off the last time we got off the AZT in this area.

Back on the AZT!

Soon we reached the Saguaro National Park boundary. Up until this point the wildflowers were sparse and withered, but from here there were plenty of great looking blooms for the next couple of miles. After taking a short break at the Quilter Trail water crossing, we passed our first thru-hiker of the trip and started the long climb to the top of Mica Mountain.

As we climbed the environment slowly transitioned from saguaros and ocotillos, to shrubs and century plants, then oak grasslands, and finally pinion-oak as we rolled into the Grass Shack Campground. Here we met 3 other thru-hikers. One was on her first thru-hike, and the other two (No Trace & Unbreakable) are triple crowners (those who have completed the PCT, AT, and CDT). We stopped to eat lunch and enjoy the company at the campground. It's always fun to pick the brains of triple crowners.

After finishing up lunch, we filled our bottles at the spring and continued on the trail up to Manning Camp. From Grass Shack, the environment transitions to a hearty ponderosa pine forest. At the campground there was one other person staying the night, a section hiker from Canada who had picked up the trail at Grass Shack and was planning on continuing to Superior.

By the time we were going to bed I was feeling pretty crappy. Extremely soar throat and congested. Before starting the trip I was still getting over a chest cold, and apparently I wasn't better yet. We expected it to be very cold at 8000ft, but surprisingly we both kept pretty warm the entire night.

March 25th
Miles: 21.97
AEG: 2,910 ft

Today was our "long day", with minimal AEG. Our goal was to make it to Molino Basin Campground. I woke up feeling slightly better.

After packing up camp and getting some more water at the spring, we headed up the trail for the top of Mica Mountain. Along the way we passed No Trace and Unbreakable again. The pine forest on top of Mica is quite impressive. Once we topped out and started down the other side, views of the basin below and Mt. Lemmon open up. Italian Spring had drinkable water but lots of algae on top.

We started the long descent into the basin below, and then the traverse across the hills to the base of Lemmon. Beautiful grasslands! By now the mistake of wearing newish shoes for this hike had caught up with me and my right foot had been rubbed raw on the back. I tried fixing things up with some mole skin and some bandaids.

Just before the Lake, we caught up to the section hiker from Canada who was going to stop at the next drainage. We stopped with him at the drainage to get some water for the last hump into the campground.

Once we got to the campground we greeted the camp host to get a spot. We asked him if there was any water around, he claimed "there is no water, it's dry out here." We were both surprised a little considering how much water we had seen getting to this point. He kindly offered us a liter each to make it through the night, and gave us a spot which was right next to the AZT. We didn't quite believe him about the water situation, so once we set up camp we dropped into creek bed below the campground and sure enough there were spots that had running water (not even 200 yards away from the camp host, I might add...)


March 26th
Miles: 17.25
AEG: 5,133 ft

I woke up feeling terrible, super congested, coughing up lots of phlegm, and running a small fever. I thought about bailing at the Highway next to the campground, but decided to try a few miles before making the decision. The going was extremely slow, probably less than 2mph.

We reached Shreve Saddle and took a quick break, I popped some Tylenol for the fever. I knew after this point I was going to be committed for some serious uphill either going forward or turning back. I decided to keep going.

We saw lots of people along this stretch going to Hutch's Pool. It was cool to see Saguaros again near the bottom, because at the end of the day we would be back up in the Pines. I'm a sucker for "transition hikes." Once we reached the bottom, we took another break in Sabino Canyon where there was flowing water. This was the point where I was either going to commit all the way to Summerhaven or go back. I nearly turned back here, but there was just too much planning that went into this and I wasn't sure I would be able to come back to finish this up for a long time.

We passed the junction to Hutch's Pool and started the long climb up through the west fork of Sabino Canyon. This place is stunning. With every foot of elevation gain the views got better. The trail itself is graded extremely well so the climbing felt almost effortless. Once again we got to see the transitions from saguaros, to sparse pines on Romero Pass. There were plenty of pools and spots with running water in the canyon.

I was starting to feel a bit better after we took a 30-45 minute break at the pass. It was a good thing too, because this is where the real climbing starts. You aren't graced with very many switch back after this point, it's just straight up. About half way through huffing and puffing, I looked at my Arizona Trail app to see how much further we had to climb and let out a little snicker. My cousin asked "what's up?" and I told him "do you really want to know?", he said "yes", I told him "it gets steeper." We both laughed and continued up the mountain.

After topping out and taking a break, we joined the Wilderness of Rocks trail. This was by far my favorite part of the hike. This is one of those places that feel really special, a feeling of reverence overcame me. We meandered through the beautiful giant boulders and trees, before reaching an awesome spot to camp right next to Lemmon Creek.

By the time we were going to bed I felt great, except for my feet. I used some alcohol wipes, and anti-septic wipes before reapplying a few bandaids.

As we drifted to sleep I heard a series of bangs/explosions in the distance, which culminated into a bunch of bangs/explosions at once. Fireworks in Tucson?

March 27th
Miles: 18.8
AEG: 2,609 ft

We got up excited for a real meal in Summerhaven. It was actually warm enough during the night that I started sweating in my quilt. After eating a quick breakfast and filling our bottles with water out of Lemmon Creek, we started the gradual 1000ft climb to where we would meet the Marshall's Gultch Trail. I was still awe struck by beauty and grandeur of the Wilderness of Rock. We made our way to the paved road we would walk into town on.

After satisfying a soda and candy craving at the General Store, we ate some breakfast at the Sawmill Run restraunt. The manager or owner (not sure which) came out to talk to us and asked if we were on our way to Utah. We told him we were ending this segment in Oracle.

Oracle Ridge was hot. On the way down we met a 3 time triple crowner "One Gallon", who was taking a siesta in the shade of some cedars. We talked with him for about 45 minutes. Another very interesting person.

We reached the American Flag TH about an hour before the sun set.

This now puts us at just over 50% of AZT miles completed, and we have now connected a foot path all the way from the border to Roosevelt. Woo hoo!
Mica Mountain Trail
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Douglas Spring/Mica Mtn/Grass Shack
Day 1: Finished work at 4, dropped of a car at Loma Alta, and got shuttled to Douglas Spring TH just before 6. We had to use headlamps almost the entire way, but it was a pretty smooth hike. Thanks to the camper at Site 1 who directed us to Site 2 and let us use his bear locker (even though there was a bear locker at Site 3 just about 40 feet away from us which we were too stupid to see in the dark). Since we got there so late, there was a lot of getting disoriented trying to find our way around, and hopefully our confused ranting didn't keep the other camper awake. I'm afraid we were quite close to being those campers...

Day 2: Went up to Cowhead Saddle, Spud Rock, and Mica Mountain, then down the Mica Mountain Trail to Manning Camp and down the Manning Camp Trail to Grass Shack for the night. A pretty big day, and the weather couldn't have been any better. Back in May I only lasted about 5 mins on Spud Rock before getting cold, but now in December it was warm with just the slightest breeze. The descent from Mica that afternoon as the sun was setting was about as good as it gets.

Day 3: Booked it down to Loma Alta in 4 hrs so that we could make it to work that afternoon. Remind me to never ascend this route in the summer. Gorgeous this time of year though.

Plenty of water at Grass Shack and Manning Camp, and pretty good flow at Douglas Spring. No beer at Grass Shack. :-({|=
Mica Mountain Trail
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What a trip! I have been looking at this hike (or some variation) for some time now. I started from the Loma Alta TH about 3:30 after finishing up work, and about an hour later than I had wanted to start, but sometimes duty calls...Overloaded with more stuff than I need (as per usual) the grind up was pretty taxing, especially with the high humidity level. I was sweating buckets the whole way up! I had to navigate the last hour + by headlamp which made for really slow going, especially trying to find an overgrown trail and make my way across numerous wet creek crossings. There is flowing water everywhere in the Rincons right now, I have never seen so much water and green growth out here! All the washes are flowing, and there are waterfalls around every corner it seemed. The Quilter trail and the first 4 miles of the Mannig Camp trail are really overgrown, lots of annuals and grasses going to town with all of the moisture. Soaked my boots making the crossing to the Grass Shack campground, my destination for the night. I had enough energy to set up camp and filter some water, but I was too wiped to even worry about dinner. Slept really well in the tent, temps were in the mid to low 60's so very comfortable. Got up a bit before the sun on Wednesday for some breakfast, and then loaded up for the trip up the mountain. Made good time up to Manning Camp where I stopped for a break to look around, have a snack, and filter some water. Clouds were looming in and the thunder started up as I was approaching Mica Mountain, but I had come too far to not make my goal. Made it to the top and signed the register, saw a few familiar names in the book. From here I continued on the Fire Loop over to Spud Rock and made the scramble up. Fantastic views up above, simply breathtaking! Enjoyed a summit brew and had to skedaddle, there was a big dark cloud hanging over Mica and I knew better than to chance it. I went down the Fire loop to the Cow Head Saddle trail when the sprinkling started. This kept up for about 45 minutes, and then the real rain started. I had to take a break to stow my electronics in a dry bag and I got out my rain jacket, all the while trying to get further down the mountain and away from the potential lightning...Made the Cow Head Saddle and took the Douglas Spring trail on back to camp. It rained hard enough that my boots got soaked through in pretty quick fashion, this ended up rubbing a pretty nasty hole under my right ankle once I was back to camp to assess damages. I finally ate my lunch about 3:30, and dozed in the tent waiting for the bugs to go away with the dark. Woke up for a quick snack and to send off a SPOT signal to my wife so she didn't fret too much. Thursday I woke up about 5:30 to get in an early breakfast and get packed up for the trip out. I had my first human contact in two days when I ran into Andrew from the NPS trail crew about a mile or so onto the Quilter trail. I stopped to chat for a few and share some experiences, nice guy! From here I powered down to Rincon Creek (I am pretty sure) for a snack and to filter some more water. Finally made it back to the trusty Quest van about 11:30 to take off my boots and see that I had a big blister on my left foot and a few more rub marks form all of the wet boot hiking. I don't think my boots were ever dry on this trip, I might have retired this pair in style. Headed back into Tucson for some much needed lunch at one of my favorites, La Parilla Suiza. Promptly inhaled a chile relleno, enchilada, rice, beans, two bowls of chips, two cups of water, and two cups of iced tea. Refueled, I headed back to Phoenix for a nice shower at home and then some family time. Simply amazing trip, any time you can go through 6 different bio-zones on a hike you know you have done well. P.S., if anyone makes it up to the Grass Shack in the near future, there are a few extra Sunspot Gold ales in the bear box at site two, if the rangers do not get to it first...

Wildflowers
Huge amounts of color from about 3500' to 5000', spotty above there.
Mica Mountain Trail
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Rincon Mountains
Day 1: Parked at Turkey Creek TH (not at the actual TH, just where the road gets bad), walked to Miller Creek TH, hiked up to Happy Valley, dropped our heavy stuff, and headed up Rincon Peak.

Day 2: HBR trail up to Spud Rock Campground via the Deerhead Spring Trail, again dropped stuff off, then waddled up the rest of the way to see Mica Mtn, Spud Rock, Manning Camp, and all sorts of other goodies I hadn't seen before. Everything up there was amazing and well worth the schlep...

Day 3: Down Turkey Creek Trail. It was a much nicer trail than I was expecting, but it's not something I would want to do during typical May weather given how exposed it is.

No issues aside from a few scary looking clouds the second afternoon and lots of very excited (but non-threatening) bees on the Heartbreak Ridge Trail on the way up to Happy Valley Lookout. The Manzanitas were blossoming and there was a constantly disconcerting buzz the entire time... :scared: Otherwise it's a fantastic trail.
Mica Mountain Trail
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Up TVR and Cowhead Saddle trails to the Rincon high point at Mica Mountain, an outstanding ridge hike with huge views and gradually changing flora, cactus-to-conifers. Then back down on AZT #9 to the Camino Loma Alta trailhead. Juniper Basin was dry, good water at Manning Camp and Grass Shack. Bike shuttle between start/end.

Permit $$
NPS

Coronado Forest
MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

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


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Connector trail - Not Applicable

To hike
There are no roads to this trail. Access is via a couple of trails; Miller Canyon Trail from the East in Happy Valley and from Saguaro National Park, the Quilter or Douglas Spring Trails.
page created by joebartels on Apr 13 2017 8:22 am
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