Linda Vista Saddle, AZ

Guide 28 Triplogs Mine 0 0 Topics
3.5 of 5 
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,054 feet
Elevation Gain 2,537 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,717 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 20.09
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
2  2022-02-20
Just Another Workout
30  2017-12-29
Upper Finger Rock Canyon
9  2017-08-03 rvcarter
3  2016-07-02 air
1  2016-04-04
Mount Kimball via Finger Rock
4  2016-03-17
Pontatoc Canyon to FingerRock Loop
3  2015-03-11
Mount Kimball via Finger Rock
Author rvcarter
author avatar Guides 36
Routes 310
Photos 2,235
Trips 241 map ( 1,467 miles )
Age 76 Male Gender
Location tucson, az
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Mar, Nov, Feb, Apr → Early
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:36am - 7:24pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2020 Bighorn Fire119.5k
Nearby Area Water
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Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
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Finger Rock Fun
by rvcarter

We were somewhat surprised that this hike had never been written up in HAZ. Mountain_Rat got it started with a placeholder/short description on April 1, 2015. There have been 20+ triplogs submitted over the years along with lots of pictures, but never a detailed guide. Probably just about everyone who has made the Mount Kimball trek knows the saddle as a rest/snack stop with killer views. It deserves its own limelight because it is an outstanding moderate hike on a great if sometimes rough trail.

Linda Vista translates from Spanish as “nice view” or “beautiful view”. Reached via a spur off the Finger Rock Trail in the foothills of Tucson, hikers are suddenly presented with fabulous and unimpeded views that extend far to the south Mt. Wrightson, southeast Tanque Verde Ridge and Rincon Peak, and southwest Baboquivari.

Unfortunately, the huge log served as seating at the saddle was burned in the fire that burned much of the ridge north of Pontatoc Canyon in August 2015. Evidence of the fire still abounds, but the grasses and small bushes have recovered to a great degree. Luckily, the fire didn’t spill over the ridge and continue down into Finger Rock Canyon.

One last thing, don’t confuse this hike with the similarly named “Linda Vista,” which originates at the junction of Oracle Road and Linda Vista Boulevard in Oro Valley north of Tucson and serves as the start to Pusch Peak.

Start at the Richard McGee Finger Rock Trailhead at the north end of North Alvernon Way and climb a few hundred feet up the relatively steep start to a sign that shows most of the area's trails. The trail heading east is Pontatoc Canyon #410, from which Pontatoc Ridge #411 branches off after about 2/3 mile. The trail running north from the sign is Finger Rock #42. FR42 eventually intersects with Pima Canyon #62 and continues a good bit further, finally terminating where it intersects with the Ventana Canyon Trail #98.

From the orientation sign, FR42 is relatively level for about a mile until you reach the Finger Rock Spring. Still, there is no mistaking that you are entering Finger Rock Canyon with the namesake Finger Rock looming to the north. The cliffs on either side get steeper, and there is virtually no chance that you will lose the well-used trail because there is no other place to go. After a couple of wash crossings, and just before the spring, look for the remains of a small former water catchment area on your left under some cottonwoods. If you want to see the spring, leave the FR42 where it starts switchbacking up a much steeper slope and hug the left side of the cliff. Note: there are no cottonwoods above the spring. There is some flow part of the year (during monsoons), but the wash is dry much of the time. On the day of our hike in early August, water was flowing nearly the entire length of the canyon.

Once you start up the right side of the canyon, the climb becomes serious. There is shade for most of the morning on the way up because of the way the ridge is oriented. There are a few shady spots along the way for mid-day and afternoon stops; look particularly for “the cave,” which is a well-loved shady, cool spot about 2 miles in and at 4400 feet elevation for a break. It will be easily recognized, so don’t worry about missing this excellent rest point (this is also a fantastic viewpoint for pix of Finger Rock).

From here up to the sharp right-hand turn, watch for narrow trails and considerable exposure. If you slide off the trail along here, expect the bounce to be significant. If heights are a problem, this will be difficult for you. Otherwise, follow the uneven trail and make the sharp right for the last 1000 feet or so to the spur, which is at a very sharp left turn in FR42. Follow the spur a few hundred feet out to the saddle, and you’re there.

This hike can be jazzed up a bit by climbing the little nearby peaks to the southwest. None are more than 120 feet above the saddle elevation. There is no trail, but the way up to each of them will be pretty obvious. Just look for safe scramble spots; nothing is class 4. Check out our August 3, 2017 track (not the official). If you’re concerned about scrambling, don’t do it. When you’re ready to leave, retrace your steps to the trailhead. Heck of a good hike.

Dogs are never permitted on this trail. Also, there are off-trail restrictions in this area from Jan 1 to April 30 (lambing season) each year because of the Bighorn Sheep Reintroduction Project. However, hiking/camping up to 400 feet off what the Forest Service calls a “designated Forest Service trail” is permitted. Bottom line, be aware that there are restrictions and that you may be at risk if you stray very far from established trails during the lambing season.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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

2017-08-06 rvcarter
    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.

    Permit $$

    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 Finger Rock Trailhead
    To reach the Finger Rock trailhead parking area from anywhere in Tucson, get to Ina road and follow it east until it becomes Skyline. Where Sunrise and Skyline diverge, enter the turn bay and turn left onto the continuation of Skyline. Follow Skyline until you reach north Alvernon and turn left (north). The turn at Alvernon is marked by a sign for the Finger Rock trailhead. Follow Alvernon north for just under a mile and the trailhead parking area will appear on the left (west).

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 112 mi - about 1 hour 49 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 10.2 mi - about 24 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 256 mi - about 3 hours 54 mins
    page created by Mountain_Rat on Aug 06 2017 10:53 am
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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