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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.

Bigelow Trail, AZ

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Guide 39 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson N
3 of 5 by 10
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,910 feet
Elevation Gain 640 feet
Accumulated Gain 585 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.25 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.93
Interest Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
25  2018-06-14
Butterfly Loop
3  2015-08-30 winotron
13  2015-07-11
Butterfly Loop
5  2014-07-13 fricknaley
18  2014-06-15
Novio Spring Falls
12  2013-08-08
Green Mountain to Mount Bigelow
18  2009-11-30 PrestonSands
5  2009-02-23 keepmoving
Page 1,  2
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 149
Photos 5,534
Trips 1,317 map ( 6,690 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, Aug, May, Jun → Any
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:08am - 6:26pm
Official Route
9 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
where red lights mean go
by PrestonSands

Likely In-Season!
The Bigelow Trail provides an easy hike that connects the Catalina Highway to the towered summit of Mount Bigelow. Mount Bigelow, at 8550 feet, is the second highest named summit in the Santa Catalina Mountains. On this trail you will find wonderful views and an easy peak bag. The Bigelow Trail can also be done in combination with the Butterfly Trail, which it connects with.

The hike begins at a trailhead parking area directly across the highway from the Organization Ridge Road turnoff. Just west of the trailhead's restroom building, a large trail sign and map mark the beginning of the Bigelow Trail. The Bigelow Trail begins by climbing northward into ponderosa pine forest, but soon tracks northwest along a mountainside above the Catalina Highway.

At 0.2 miles (32.41178 N, 110.71472 W), the Bigelow Trail makes a sharp turn uphill to the right, leaving the route of an obvious trail that continues straight ahead. From this unsigned junction, the Bigelow Trail turns north to climb a shallow ravine, then continues to ramble upward across a gentle slope scarred by the 2002 Bullock Fire.

The Bigelow Trail reaches a saddle and a four way trail junction with a little sign at 0.65 miles, where the Kellogg Trail departs to the right, and the Butterfly Trail continues straight ahead. Turn left to continue on the Bigelow Trail.

From the saddle, the Bigelow Trail heads west along the ridgeline, but soon opts for the rocky southern slope of Mount Bigelow, where it leaves the fire damage behind.

The Bigelow Trail comes to an end upon arriving at a service road at 0.9 miles, amid the numerous communication towers of Mount Bigelow's summit. To reach the true summit, turn right onto the service road, and continue for 0.1 miles to the fire lookout tower. A few feet to the east of the fire tower you will find the USGS bench mark set into bedrock, minus the elevation (8550 feet). From the summit, there are spectacular views in almost every direction, both near and far. Many of southern Arizona's sky islands are visible.

For a longer return hike, one can descend the service road, or turn onto the Kellogg or Butterfly Trails. Otherwise, return the way you came.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2008-12-18 PrestonSands
  • 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 of 14 deeper Triplog Reviews
Bigelow Trail
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after (yet another) long night at work, got up as early as i could stand to try and beat the heat at least a little.

happy with the effort given the severe lack of sleep. still got warm on the low points but not unbearable. there are little stretches and spots that i rather like on butterfly. the fern jungle is over my head now and i was surprised to see some early flowers.

ran the bigelow segment better than anticipated so that was good
Bigelow Trail
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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.
Bigelow Trail
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Catalina Peaks
i was on call yesterday and last night so i paid the price on this one. started later than i wanted and was exhausted before i even got out of the car :lol:

hit Barnum rock for the first time in years. also hit Bigelow and some of the high peaks off the main Bigelow FSR. turned around at the observatory. lot of big nice open mountain views. too hot though. brutally hot today. last couple miles just killed me
Bigelow Trail
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Took a day trip to Mt Lemmon with my sister and her fiance to escape the heat. They had never been, and they had a lot of fun. This was our first short hike of the day. My first time on this trail. It was a good little workout (especially since I'm a little out of shape from not hiking much this summer) on the way up. Awesome views from the summit...We could see some storm clouds rolling in that would hit us pretty soon. The TH was pretty full but we only saw a few people on the trail.

After the hike we drove to Marshall Gulch and had lunch. It started raining on us on the way there. As we were eating lunch thunder started crashing directly overhead and the rain really started to pour. We hid out in the car, waiting for the storm to pass, and it actually hailed on us for several minutes. Fun!
Bigelow Trail
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big one today. up bigelow to the summit. then bigelow/bear wallow FSRs to sunset. took that to marshall gulch and then aspen up to summit of radio ridge then came back the same way and hit bigelow again. great weather. one storm looked ugly towards the end but luckily blew through. the wildflowers on the upper aspen trail are insane!

did better with nutrition and hydration this time :)

the last descent off the summit of bigelow was crazy painful :lol:
Bigelow Trail
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Nice morning. Started early (5:40am). Lot of monsoon activity going around, but except for a little sprinkle when hiking between Palisade Trail & Bigelow Trail, I was dry all morning.

Started at the Palisade Trailhead, hiked down to East Fork Trail and back up. Then hiked Organization Ridge Road to the Bigelow Trailhead and looked around up top there before heading back. Pretty quiet on Palisade, only 1 couple all morning. Bigelow had quite a bit more.
Bigelow Trail
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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.
Bigelow Trail
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On the drive up the Catalinas, Sierra decided she wanted to climb a mountain today. I will never argue with that :D

she kicked butt climbing up to the summit and we enjoyed an excellent lunch with outstanding views of Oracle Ridge

Bigelow Trail
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We hiked/ran the Bigelow trail for two reasons. First; my wife's knees have been bothering her on down hills and she wanted to see if trekking poles would help so we tried out a short easy trail for the experiment. She found them awkward but helpful. Second; we brought along a friend that is currently struggling with his weight and we needed a trail that would not kill him first time out. He loved the hike and will be going with us again. So that I could get a little more exercise in as we left the top I ran down ahead of the others and then back up to meet them on their decent. This trail is a fun trail for running. Down hill requires quick and decisive foot placement and up hill is just steep enough to make your heart explode. Not really explode, but I too am touch out of shape. At least for running at altitude. I will be back to run the whole thing and we will probably start including it in some loops.
Bigelow Trail
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Mt Bigelow from Sabino Canyon
Bigey Bigey Bigey can't you see, sometimes your towers just hypnotize me

been wanting to do this for a while and today seemed as good as any. made pretty good time all day. breeze up top was very pleasant. the birds were a'singing all day :)

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 hike
From Tanque Verde Road in Tucson, follow the Catalina Highway to the trailhead parking area on the right, at milepost 19.45. The trailhead is directly across the highway from the signed Organization Ridge Road turnoff, and is 0.1 miles before the Palisades Visitor Center. (see hike description)
page created by PrestonSands on Dec 18 2008 12:43 am
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