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Knagge Trail #18, AZ

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Guide 11 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson N
3 of 5 by 2
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance One Way 3.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,084 feet
Elevation Gain -3,446 feet
Accumulated Gain 182 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 4.11
Interest Ruins, Historic, Perennial Waterfall, Perennial Creek & Peak
Backpack Yes
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
4  2009-07-26 dysfunction
13  2008-11-23 Jeffshadows
6  2008-11-22 fricknaley
Author Jeffshadows
author avatar Guides 28
Routes 20
Photos 672
Trips 169 map ( 1,088 miles )
Age 41 Male Gender
Location Old Pueblo
Co-Author fricknaley
co-author avatarGuides 93
Routes 383
Photos 3,724
Trips 2,743 map (18,146 Miles)
Age 43 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Aug, Sep, Jun, Jul → Any
Seasons   Late Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:07am - 6:28pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Get shaggy on the Knagge...
by Jeffshadows & fricknaley

Likely In-Season!
History: The Knagges are a relatively well-known Arizona pioneer family, having arrived in Tucson in the winter of 1908 and homesteading near Ft. Lowell. The family was originally known for selling and installing furnaces, but later became known for the pack train into Soldier Camp near modern-day Sumerhaven that the family operated. The Knagge pack train took goods and pioneer families to their summer retreats atop Mt. Lemmon from the Tucson valley by way of Sabino and the Box Camp trail for almost a decade. The train operated from 1913 until the completion of the Oracle Control Road in 1921. During this time, and for nearly a decade thereafter, the Knagges also worked a mining claim near Kellogg Mountain. The principal takings were silver ore; how rich the mine was has been lost to history. A spartan cabin was erected near a spring in the vicinity of the claim, along with a corral to house the Knagge pack animals. The remains of the cabin are still present, today, as is the mine. The area where the corral once stood is still identifiable. The trail that steeply descends into their workings from Incinerator ridge appropriately bears the family's name; the Knagge Trail, #18.

The Knagge trail once connected to Peck Basin not far from Araster spring, but this is no longer the case. As of the first edition of the Trail Guide to the Santa Catalina Mountains (circa 1970), Glendening and Cowgill were calling the trail the "Edgar Canyon" trail for the canyon into which it descends. They had also concluded that the trail effectively ends at the 2.6 mile point, which seems to hold true, today. The Forest Service overhauled the Knagge trail in 1993, but it is unknown whether they restored the section after this point that connects to Peck Basin. Where it restored, it very likely vanished into the Aspen Fire in 2003 (Along with whatever remained of the cabin). Recent work has clearly been done on the trail, but only on the section leading to the cabin site.

Hike: The trail departs 0.1 miles east from the Incinerator Ridge trailhead on Incinerator Road off Catalina Highway. The trail begins to descend immediately into the pine. Evidence of the Aspen Fire still lingers, and many downed trees litter the track ahead. Fortunately, many of the larger logs have been sawed in half or trimmed to allow passage. This section of trail is marked with engineer tape and cairns, as it becomes easy to lose in the underbrush. After a short while, the trail crosses Edgar canyon at a point marked by a kind of gate between two large cairn piles. Not long after the canyon crossing, the trail circles back northward and enters a side drainage. This area is predominated by a large stand of pine spared by the fire. Soon thereafter, the trail heads east, again, and descends a scree-riddled ridge as it approaches the remains of the Knagge cabin (about 1.4 miles). The trail splits after the cabin, the track on the left goes to a spring; follow the track on the right for another one-tenth of a mile and the mine is reached. The mine has been backfilled and is now the site of a small waterfall.

The maintained portion of the trail effectively ends here at the mine. Another 1.2 miles of trail continue down to a ridge overlooking Peck Basin and the San Pedro valley. The trail continues due north past another spring in a side drainage and descends slowly as it circles east along the rim of Edgar canyon. The trail is heavily overgrown and route finding will be a challenge. The trail soon approaches an obstacle that requires one to climb over a large downed tree and then immediately climb beneath another to continue; footing in this section is tenuous. The trail then approaches another small spring and begins to switchback down a grassy slope into Edgar canyon. The switchbacks are difficult to follow as the track is lost in the underbrush. The views from this section of trail are phenomenal. The trail enters the canyon bottom, which is lined with large slabs of granite. The view to the east here is breath-taking. After crossing back across the canyon, the trail begins to descend along the canyon wall again and approaches a large juniper with old blaze marks cut into the side. This section of trail is easily lost and heavily overgrown. The trail climbs here to a series of switchbacks that briefly ascend the ridge above the canyon before crossing northward into a large thicket of manzanita and juniper (roughly 2.9 miles). This area is probably a popular backpacking destination, as evidenced by the numerous old fire rings constructed in rock. The views from this site span north to east to south and are worth the extra effort. The trail ends at this point. Two or three faint tracks leave this point, but all quickly disappear or become game trails. Return by the same route.

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.

2008-11-23 Jeffshadows & fricknaley
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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
Knagge Trail #18
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For years I have looked down into the Peck Basin area and wondered about what it was like - I suppose the smartest way to explore the area would have been via the Davis Spring Trailhead on the north side of the range - but it seemed much more interesting to get there 'in the spirit of' the Knagge Trail!

I was dropped off at the bottom of the Incinerator Ridge Road - up the road, short section of Incinerator Ridge and then down the Knagge trail. The plants that were overgrowing the trail late last summer were largely brown and flat now and the trail was easier to follow.

At the end of the current existing trail I followed cairns along the ridge - but this trip I didn't waste any time trying to find the old trail, just looked for the easiest way down the ridge. As on previous trips the walking alternated between super easy grassy sections and never too terrible brush puzzles.

Soon enough I was down into the South Fork of Edgar Canyon - the flowing water was amazing! Followed the canyon down - I believe I stumbled across the shelter mentioned in the Cowgill and Glendening Guide - around a few obstacles and eventually over a ridge in the Araster Spring canyon (note the naming is a little confusing - the Cowgill/Glendening Guide seems to call the canyon with Pictograph and Araster Springs Edgar Canyon - but the USGS 7.5' map labels Edgar one Canyon south...).

The Peck Basin and Araster Spring area were fun to see - but the have been well used by the local cattle making the area just a bit less attractive than I imagined - don't get me wrong, not as if there are 100s of cows in the area, but enough to leave alot of dung, make faint trails all over the place and trample thru quite a few areas.

I took the hillside and ridges and looped back towards Edgar, by sheer luck ending up at the Davis Spring and Knagge Trail junction sign! Decided to try camping up on the point above and ended up camping near Point 4863 - great views!

Roughly re-traced my steps back up - did go a little further up the South Fork of Edgar, even following a worn track and big cairns for a few minutes - quite a climb back to get picked up!

Not sure I would repeat this exact trip again - interesting but I think that the real gem in the area was South Edgar, worth more exploration I think - hard to forget the rushing crystal clear water!

Knagge Trail #18
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After several visits to the current end of the obvious trail (2+ miles down below the cabin) it was time to brave the brush and look for more of the trail. Armed with GPS/Maps I thought for sure I could criss cross the trail as currently shown on the map and at some point pick up a faint track... But I didn't find any sign of the trail as drawn on the map!

There were several spots I thought would be a good chance of picking up a trace of the trail, but I had 0 luck... The top of the ridge above where the trail is currently marked is pretty decent walking - next time I won't bother trying to find the old trail (which I think will make the hike much nicer!) and walk the ridge instead. I managed to make it down to what I believe Cowgill/Glendening refer to as the South Fork of Edgar Canyon before I ran out of time.

It would be great if I was wrong/confused and a decent faint track still exists - but I have a feeling that the lower sections of this trail have been completely obscured - kind of amazing and inspiring that a trail can disappear. Looking forward to making it down to Peck Basin in an off-trail trip in a route that follows the spirit of the Knagge Trail one day!

Best wildlife of the day had to be a covey of Montezuma Quail! Only the 2nd time I have seen one.

I am curious about the earlier path of the Knagge Trail that Cowgill/Glendening mention in their hiking guide - has anyone seen a map of the previous version of the trail? Might be interesting to follow...

Pictures: ... 541249915/
Knagge Trail #18
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Hiked this to the old ridge top campground - looked like there might be some new orange flagging along some of the trail? Or maybe I just did not notice it when I was on this trail last month?

While wandering around the camp area my partner and I came across a fairly big pile of trash - looked like 2 big black 'Action Packer' plastic tubs had been hauled in with supplies - one was still closed but one was open - sleeping mats, Mountain House and MRE food packaging, fuel bottle, plastic containers, pot, TP, likely a tent in a stuff sack all spread across the ground - didn't look recent but it also did not look ancient... We were mystified how all that stuff got there (horse/mule?). Anyone seen that before? Needs a clean up for sure!
Knagge Trail #18
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Hiked about 2.3 miles down the trail and took a nice break at a well used old campsite on the ridge before heading back up. With some care the trail was reasonably easy to find and follow, but it was occasionally a little faint (ferns obscure a short section, watch for cairns and cut trees at a small drainage just after the ferns if you loose the trail). Some downed trees across the trail, but nothing that causes too much trouble. Stove, bedframe and some other metal pieces remain from the cabin - there was a trickle of water and a couple of holes holding water in the drainage near the cabin. We did not spend too much time looking, but after the campsite on the ridge at about 2.3 miles we did not see the continuation of the trail. Pictures:

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 Jeffshadows on Nov 23 2008 7:22 pm
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