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Jack Mountain Loop, AZ

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Guide 26 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson S
4.2 of 5 by 6
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 5.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,400 feet
Elevation Gain 2,030 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,110 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 15.85
Interest Historic, Seasonal Creek & Peak
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
7  2019-07-25
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
3  2017-05-19 fricknaley
30  2016-06-26
Amphitheater to Carrie Nation
24  2016-05-17
Jill & Jack Mountain Loop
12  2015-11-03 The_Dude
20  2015-10-22
Carrie Nation and Nature Trail Santa Rita Mts
23  2014-10-10 rwstorm
7  2014-07-20 neilends
Page 1,  2
Author fricknaley
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 383
Photos 3,724
Trips 2,746 map ( 18,187 miles )
Age 44 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Jun, Jul, Aug
Seasons   Early Spring to Early Winter
Sun  6:12am - 6:20pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
You don't know Jack...well now you do!
by fricknaley

Jack Mountain sits between the famous Mt. Wrightson to the east and Mt. Hopkins to the west. This little peak offers some of the best views in the Santa Ritas and is a blast to climb as well. Several routes can be put together to make a nice loop. This one will consist of going up Old Baldy trail to Josephine Saddle, then heading west on Agua Caliente Trail to Jack, then coming back down on the Carrie Nation Trail. You could also use to Super Trail and/or Vault Mine trails as additional routes to and fro.

From the ubiquitous trailhead at the end of the Madera Canyon road take off heading south on the landmark Old Baldy trail. This is a well known trail, and well known to Hike Arizona, so I won't belabor the details. It is 2.2 miles of nice, steady climbing up Old Baldy to the intersection of trails at Josephine Saddle. This saddle can be seen from all over the Santa Ritas, and Tucson too for that matter. It's about a 1600 foot climb to Josephine Saddle from the Baldy trailhead. Much of this trail is gorgeous.

From Josephine Saddle head west on the Agua Caliente trail...perhaps one of the prettiest trails in the Santa Ritas. The Agua Caliente trail climbs a little, but mostly just cuts through astoundingly refreshing pine forest. Through the trees are phenomenal views of Wrightson and Madera Canyon. I long ago hailed this as one of my favorite trails, and today I was reminded why. First off, you will skirt the south flank of the nameless peak just east of Jack, which tops out just under 7300 feet. After about 0.4-o.5 miles from Josephine Saddle you will come to the unmarked spur trail to Jack Mountain, which breaks off to your left. The trail is at the point where a ridge runs out to your right, and there is a little campsite and stone fire ring here. The little sput takes only 5 minutes to climb, gaining about 100 feet or so to the summit of Jack Mountain, which sits at roughly 7470. Jack was cleared out a bit during the fight against the Florida Fire and as a result it has WIDE open views out over Madera Canyon, Mt. Hopkins and Pete Mountain to the west and Mt. Wrightson and Josephine Peak to the east. Flowers dot the summit. Head back down to the Agua Caliente Trail and continue left or west. The next point of interest will be the unsigned, but easy to follow Carrie Nation Trail. This will break off right and head down canyon just after a major canyon crossing in roughly 0.2-0.3 miles from the junction of the Jack spur and Agua Caliente. Though not marked it is an obvious trail. If you miss the Carrie Nation trail you can just head down the Vault Mine trail, so no worries.

Head down the steep Carrie Nation trail as it descends through wonderfully shaded pine forest to access the canyon. There are all sorts of juvenile and full grown pines along the upper section making it splendid. The trail eventually meets the canyon then skirts along either side of it for about 0.6 miles, at which point you will come to an "End of Trail" sign, marking the upper end of "maintaned" Carrie Nation trail. The thing is the route above this, which you just descended, is just as easy to follow as the maintaned trail. At the end of trail region there is an old mine site. Cross over the creek/canyon to the west side and pass by some old machinery. The trail picks up and heads down along a canyon to your right. The trail is very shaded here and you may be lucky to spy or hear an Elegant Trogan in this area, I have in the past. After about 0.8 miles of easy descending you will come to the signed break off for the Vault Mine trail, which heads up to your left. There is a sign marking the way down to the trailhead. Continue on down the last 0.7-0.8 miles to the trailhead and your car. Madera Creek will be on your left on the way down.

I'd like to thank fellow HAZ member Saguarohiker (Bill) for the beta on the spur trail to the Jack summit. He is the resident expert on all things Santa Ritas.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2008-08-06 fricknaley
    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
    Jack Mountain Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    perfect day for this hike. got out of my car at relatively deserted roundup TH to the gobbles of the turkeys somewhere in the canyon. decided to go up carrie nation to the agua caliente trail (perhaps my 2 favorite santa rita trails?). found and watched a silent and beautiful trogon near the mine. this is probably now my 15th sighting or so, and i have gotten pretty good at figuring out a couple specific spots they like in particular over the years. hit up good old Jack mountain for my yearly visit (at a minimum). the route up there is getting more and more faint. enjoyed the fabulous agua caliente trail over to vault mine. had the pleasure of spotting and getting buzzed by a twin spotted rattlesnake on one of the rockfalls. i believe that is the third one of those i have seen in the santa ritas. quick and steep trip down the vault mine trail sealed the deal.

    as always this is a VERY high yield short hike in the santa ritas.
    Jack Mountain Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Work took me to Green Valley today, so that put the Santa Ritas right at the top of the docket! I hiked up Mt. Wrightston a few months ago and really enjoyed it, so this was an easy choice. I got started hiking a bit after 3 so I knew I would not have time for the big guy, as good as that may have sounded. I did this loop clockwise, up the Old Baldy trail to the Josephine saddle. I got off on the wrong trail here, I started getting suspicious after I lost a few hundred feet of elevation, I am pretty sure I was on the Josephine Canyon trail. Nice trail, but a bit overgrown and some downed logs. I got myself turned back around and onto the Agua Caliente trail. There were some nice views off the ridge, but the wind was howling pretty fiercely any time I was not protected by a slope face. There were a few overgrown spots, and the Jack Mountain spur took a little negotiating, but certainly nothing too crazy. I made the switch from short sleeve and ballcap to long sleeve and beanie up top to keep my warm enough. I found the Carrie Nation trail pretty easily and headed down. Very steep on the way down, but footing was good except for a few spots heavy with pine duff.I got back to the van about 5:30 for the long, windy drive home. Saw a few does on the drive out, but otherwise there was not much wildlife to be seen, I expected aas much due to the high winds all afternoon. I didn't see any bears this trip, must mean that the bear spray I bought works, right? :lol: This hike is a great alternative to Wrightston if you do not have as much time, good push for sure with some nice views to boot. Good water flowing all along the Carrie Nation trail too.

    Just a few Sycamores and Ash trees starting to turn. I would imagine the next two weeks will be good.
    Jack Mountain Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    No such thing as a routine hike! This one involved a bear sighting and my coming to the aid of a German tourist.

    My route was to go up the Baldy Trail to the Josephine Saddle. There was a hikers' traffic jam up there, including one particularly rude group from another country that I won't name that was blaring bad music from a cheap stereo during their hike. I love the country; not such a fan of that specific group. Anyway, the crowd and their absurd noise completely disappeared once I headed west on the Agua Caliente. The description is accurate in referring to the beauty of Caliente. It was a bit narrow at times, and steep, by my standards. A misstep wouldn't have meant death, but it definitely would have meant a fatigue-drawing, scratched-up scramble back up to the trail.

    From the Caliente, I connected with the Old Vault Mine Trail and started heading back to the trailhead. With about 1 mile to go, I heard a human voice yelling out from somewhere behind me. This was the first sign of another person I'd seen since the Josephine Saddle. I initially guessed from the tone that it was just someone calling out to a friend. But I then heard the yelling increase in urgency, and there were no responses, so I decided to call back. A man with a European accent yelled something to me about "a bear." Through more yelling back and forth, I tried asking him some questions: was he okay, which trail was he on, what direction was he heading, where did he spot the bear, and what direction was it headed?

    He wasn't sure of some of the answers, and I detected some anxiety in his voice. So, I suggested to him that he should simply walk back to the trailhead, and he and I would keep within voice contact of each other. I guessed that he was on the Carrie Nation trail, patting myself on the back for having properly studied the area topos for my pre-hike due diligence. I was right. I soon spotted him as the Old Vault and Carrie trails converged. I bushwhacked for just a minute or two and joined him. He was relieved and glad to see me, and frankly so was I because I didn't want a bear encounter while solo.

    My German friend had been taking photographs of lizards, while wearing flip-flops and armed only with his camera. Suddenly, a bear with brownish fur, that I assured him was probably nonetheless a black bear, startled him from about 10 yards away. From his description, the bear seemed curious for a moment, and then took off running in the opposite direction. So, no real danger. But in my opinion he was absolutely correct to follow his fear instincts. He was hiking alone, with no bear spray and no weapons.

    We enjoyed a good chat during the walk back to the parking area. What amazed both of us were the reactions of other hikers (well, so close to the trailhead they were mostly “walkers”) to our warnings of a bear sighting just half a mile away. Maybe my bear "training" from Denali and the months I spent in Alaska have put an irrational, irreversible fear of bears into my veins, to abnormal levels? But I stand by my position: if a bear is spotted in the area, you must leave the area immediately. That means cancellation your planned hike if there's only one direction to walk in. But of the approximately 10 hikers we warned, only one couple seemed remotely concerned and expressed an desire to be cautious and not proceed much further. The others ranged from apathetic, to cocky, to confused why we were even bothering telling them. "I see bears out here all the time. Not a big deal," one said.

    We had a bear fatality in Arizona within the last couple of years, if I remember correctly. A perfectly pleasant urban stroll by a 60-year-old woman walking her dog resulted in the unprovoked fatal attack. Bears sit on TOP of the food chain when we are in the wilderness, unless arguably we arm ourselves with bear spray or a high caliber handgun. But even that requires immediate access to the spray and/or expert gun handling skills that most gun owners don't have. Otherwise: Bear v. Human = bear wins. Am I missing something here? Am I the weird one?

    Spotted: a horned toad, many colorful lizards of a species I'll figure out soon, birds with blue feathers, and a big scary bear.
    Jack Mountain Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    they let me out of jail for 3 hours this weekend so i ran down to the santa ritas to visit ol' jacky boy. went up and down on carrie nation because i pumpkin love this trail. great pine scent on the breezes today...mmm...santa ritas 8)
    Jack Mountain Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Hiked up to Jack Mountain via the Vault Mine Trail and the Agua Caliente Trail, and returned using the Agua Caliente Trail and the Old Baldy Trail. Great hike! There were amazing views off of the Vault Mine Trail. It was very steep, but it's very soft (by SE AZ standards). There were long stretches of fairly deep snow along the Agua Caliente Trail. The summit of Jack offered an incredible 180 degree view to the E and S.
    Jack Mountain Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    my dad and i went wandering in the santa ritas.

    we hiked baldy up to josephine saddle, then took super trail up to riley saddle. had lunch there, came back down to josephine saddle and hiked agua caliente (hitting jack mountain on the way) over to carrie nation and took that back down.

    the weather was incredible all day and the highlight of the day was a perfect elegant trogon sighting on the way down :y:

    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
    page created by fricknaley on Aug 06 2008 5:56 pm
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