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Incinerator Ridge to Leopold Point, AZ

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Guide 21 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson N
4 of 5 by 8
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 1.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,027 feet
Elevation Gain 100 feet
Accumulated Gain 300 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 2.8
Interest Peak
Backpack Yes
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
7  2018-06-24 fricknaley
2  2018-01-02 friendofThunderg
7  2016-07-04
Incinerator Ridge Trail #18A
8  2015-04-30 Jim_H
4  2013-07-07 fricknaley
8  2011-03-23 kbunny
8  2011-01-29 Jonnybackpack
18  2010-10-02 Sarae
Page 1,  2
Author fricknaley
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 383
Photos 3,724
Trips 2,743 map ( 18,146 miles )
Age 43 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Co-Author Jeffshadows
co-author avatarGuides 28
Routes 20
Photos 672
Trips 169 map (1,088 Miles)
Age 41 Male Gender
Location Old Pueblo
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, Aug, May, Jun
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:07am - 6:28pm
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Short and Sweet
by fricknaley & Jeffshadows

Likely In-Season!
Aldo Leopold (January 11, 1887 - April 21, 1948) was an American ecologist, forester, and environmentalist. He was influential in the development of modern environmental ethics and in the movement for wilderness preservation. Leopold is considered to be the father of wildlife management in the United States. Leopold served for 19 years in the United States Forest Service, working in the American Southwest (New Mexico and Arizona) until he was transferred in 1924. He served two years in Arizona (1909-1911). An advocate for the preservation of wildlife and wilderness areas, Leopold became a founder of The Wilderness Society in 1935. Named in his honor, the Aldo Leopold Wilderness lies within the boundaries of the Gila National Forest, in New Mexico. Leopold was instrumental in the proposal for Gila to be managed as a wilderness area. As a result, in 1924, Gila National Forest became the first designated wilderness area by the US government. Together, the Leopold Wilderness and Gila National Forest, often are considered the starting point for the modern wilderness-conservation movement throughout the United States.

This is a short, simple hike along a ridegline high in the Catalinas to a simply spectacular lookout point.

From the Knagge trailhead at the end of Incinerator Ridge Road head out east on the trail. It gradually climbs from the beginning. Within 0.1 miles, the signed Knagge trail breaks off left and heads downhill. Stay straight on the Incinerator Ridge trail and keep slowly climbing. There are no route finding issues at all. The trail wanders along the some nice trees before reaching it's high point at Incinerator Peak, sitting at about 8135 feet. Beyonf the grassy peak, the trail or route actually continues on to Leopold Point with it's huge boulders on top. You will descend about 150 feet from the peak down to a beautiful little pine-littered saddle before climbing back up on the left or north side of Leopold Point. The trail just climbs right on up, passing along some minor false summits and wrapping around a couple of huge boulders before terminating on the boulder laced summit of Leopold Point where huge, sensational views looking south and east await. You can easilt see Mt. Wrightson and the Santa Ritas. Closer by is an outstanding look at the sheer wall of Barnum Rock and the forested summit of Green Mountain behind it. The Rincons are right there behind them and to the east you can see all the way to the Pinalenos. Looking back the way you came gives nice views of Incinerator Peak, Kellogg Mountain and the towered Mt. Bigelow.

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2008-11-23 fricknaley & Jeffshadows
  • 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
Incinerator Ridge to Leopold Point
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Finally had some time and clear schedule to get Sierra up to camp a night on Mt Lemmon. Chose Leopold Point and Barnum Rock as our first hike, to show her some sweet high country views. really beautiful day up there and she loved these peaks.

we also walked the climbers route out to the base of the barnum rock wall and saw some climbers
Incinerator Ridge to Leopold Point
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Catalina Peaks
would have loved to do more on such a gift of a weather day, but after a horrendous call night i was still tied locally.

this was still great.

hit barnum on the way out, then bigelow. took the roads out to the observatory and whitetail campground. came back and hit biggy smalls, bigelow and leopold point on the way back.
Incinerator Ridge to Leopold Point
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I did a little hike with my sister and niece on Lemmon today. They both loved the drive up and it was a successful first hike for my six year old niece. The dogs could not have been much happier as well. A little snow lingering in the shade, perfect hiking conditions and good bonding with the family.
Incinerator Ridge to Leopold Point
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Catalina Peaks
took AZT bypass to incinerator ridge, then kellogg mountain and bigelow trails to the bigelow FSR. ran that down to the observatory then down and around the white tail campground. came back and banged out some peaks: unnamed 8400 tower peak, mount bigelow, leopold point (took a stupid way down :? ) and barnum rock!

this is a very fun route. nice and cool up there early then fairly mild all things considered. was done before noon.
Incinerator Ridge to Leopold Point
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Started at San Pedro Vista. Up Incinerator Ridge Trail and then on to Mount Bigelow summit by dark. Followed Mount Bigelow road in the moonlight down to the observatory, and then walked back on the highway to my truck. Beautiful night, slightly chilly, and a number of summer wildflowers still around. Had dinner in the bed of my truck, looking out over the San Pedro River valley in the moonlight. I love a good night hike.
Incinerator Ridge to Leopold Point
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Sunset/night hike from San Pedro Vista up the AZT bypass/Incinerator Trail to Mount Bigelow. Slow moving storms worked their way down the San Pedro River valley in the distance. Walked the Bigelow Trail and highway back in the moonlight. Moist ground and very humid conditions mean shroom season has arrived in the high country.
Incinerator Ridge to Leopold Point
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clouds building early, but we took our chances and got a solid 3 hours of shenanigans in up on Lemmon before the storms came. Sierra made it all the way out and back and we had a blast
:y: :y: :y:
Incinerator Ridge to Leopold Point
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This delightful high-altitude hike was the perfect way to cap off our day on Mt. Lemmon. It encompasses a bit of everything the mountain has to offer: fragrant pine forest, eerie burn zones, dramatic rock formations, and of course, spectacular vistas in almost every direction (would be a complete 360 view except that Mt. Bigelow's summit blocks sightlines to the nw - but it hardly matters as it is at your back on the way out). There is just enough climbing to break a sweat (for me anyway), but on the whole it is my kind of trail - maximum payoff for minimal effort. The endless views of surrounding peaks and valleys, the desert floor beyond them, and about a half dozen other ranges in the distance would be well worth a much longer and more challenging trail.

The hike starts out along a ridge that is part forest, part burn zone, then takes a rocky descent into a little forested saddle, where for a moment you can imagine you are deep in the woods rather than up on an exposed ridge. Then you climb back up to the boulder-strewn knob that is Leopold Point. This is the only place where route-finding gets a little tricky. The trail seems to end where it deposits you on the left (east) side of the boulders. Don't give up! Rather, make your way through the boulder pile to your right - you will find that the trail continues on the other (west) side. The extra 100 feet or so of trail leads you to the true summit, where you can perch on the rocks and look down on Green Mountain with its dramatic rock wall, the rolling Catalina foothills, the Rincons beyond them, and the Santa Ritas, Pinalenos, and other several other ranges I couldn't name in the distance.

This area also appears to be popular for camping (there are a few established sites near the trailhead), and one could easily imagine the spectacular sunrise you could experience from the Point. I'd love to return in warmer weather and try sleeping there, maybe exploring the Knagge trail which breaks off to the east early in the hike.

A word about Incinerator Ridge Road (which was open) - it has a few spots that are *not* for the timid! Maybe it just hasn't been maintained in a while, but I couldn't imagine doing it in a low-clearance vehicle.
Incinerator Ridge to Leopold Point
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This is a perfect trail for an easy adventure, yet very rewarding view. The incinerator road is closed until may, so it adds .5 mile or so from the gate. I've done this in the summer and the contrast is worth noting.
Once to the trail head it is a easy 1.3 miles to Leopold lookout. There was up to 6 inches of snow in the shady spots and the wind was really whipping over the ridge. So it certainly was adding to the fun/difficulty of the situation.
We arrived 1 hr before sunset and set up fire and camp. The views are simply STUNNING. The Rincons, Mt Wrightson, the Galiuros, Mt Graham to name a few ranges loom in the distance. No clouds made the sunset a dud, but guitar and a Pliny the Elder double IPA were a nice touch. After the sun went down WOW did that cold come rolling in. I bet the wind chill got down to 20 degrees! A few funny moments and then off to bed for a 630 appointment with the sunrise.

I will admit on the way out i had a good fall, and got a nasty scrape. I am quite proud of it :D

To end the day we hit up Nimbus Brewery , a very enjoyable place.

I hope this uploads:
Incinerator Ridge to Leopold Point
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After camping along the control road on Friday night, Wendy and I decided to do a quick hike before heading back to Tucson. I wanted to check out a trail on the north side of the highway, since I haven't explored the north side of the Catalinas at all. We decided to take it easy with a hike from Mt. Bigelow to Leopold Point and back. I'm just guesstimating the mileage and AEG for right now.

We started by finding the not-too-well marked trail behind the towers on Mt. Bigelow and then we meandered down the trail to the junction with the Butterfly Trail. Every trail sign that we passed was heavily abused by people who think themselves terribly creative...sigh. We continued straight and then switchbacked down for a bit. Continuing along the ridge, we passed by several campsites that were littered with trash. We crossed the junction with the Knagge Trail, which I would like to explore at some point. Finally, we made our way along the ridge to Leopold Point where we crawled around the boulders and took in the views. As we progressed through this hike, we had been noticing the clouds starting to develop over each of the mountain ranges in view. We headed back the way we came in the hot, hot sun. Seriously... that sun was not messing around. The poor black-furred puppies (Lilo and Monty) were seeking shade at every opportunity.

We made it back to 'lil Bit in time to see a rain shower along the ridges further to the west. Nice! The drive down the mountain was sad, but we consoled ourselves with pizza at Eclectic Pizza, which I highly recommend :D

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
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To Knagge Trailhead
Take the Catalina Highway off Tanque Verde Road in Tucson up into the mountains. The Green Mountain and San Pedro Vista parking areas are at milepost 18. A short ways beyond this a gravel road takes off to the right, signed as Incinerator Ridge Road. Turn onto this road and drive between .25 to .5 miles up to the end. The road is a mildly bumpy and rocky, but a passenger car can make it as long as you go slow. If you see the Palisade Visitor Center on the Catalina Highway, you have passed Incinerator Ridge Road.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 144 mi - about 2 hours 58 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 35.1 mi - about 1 hour 22 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 288 mi - about 5 hours 3 mins
page created by fricknaley on Nov 23 2008 1:26 pm
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