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Wasson Peak via Sweetwater Trail, AZ

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Guide 43 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson W
3.2 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 9.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,810 feet
Elevation Gain 1,870 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,180 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 20.1
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Historic & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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35  2019-04-06 GrottoGirl
9  2019-04-03 Pivo
15  2017-09-01
Sweetwater Mines 'n' Such
14  2017-08-30
SNP West Sweetwater Sendero Esperanza Loop
2  2016-08-17 Mountain_Rat
15  2015-12-22 Mountain_Rat
22  2012-03-12
Wasson Peak Loop
Author Mountain_Rat
author avatar Guides 10
Routes 91
Photos 550
Trips 192 map ( 1,893 miles )
Age 56 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Dec → Any
Sun  6:09am - 6:28pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
This could be a better way
by Mountain_Rat

Wasson Peak is without a doubt, the best known in the Tucson Mountains. It’s funny to me that there are so many approaches to this peak, but only on description to which everyone has logged their varying adventures. Today, I’ll do my part and write a description for the way I go. It seems that most people make a 30 minute drive over 15, slow-n-go miles to the side of the mountain opposite Tucson. I too thought that this was how it was done until my sister clued me into the El Camino Del Cerro Trailhead, located at the west end of El Camino Del Cerro. From this trailhead, it’s a whopping 6 mile hike to the Desert Museum, from which so many tend to launch for this summit. In my case, it’s a difference of a 30 minute drive versus 9 minutes. When picking your trailhead, this may make the difference.

From the parking lot, head due west for 2/10 mile where you’ll come to trail register. Your trail, the Sweetwater breaks south, carrying you gently back and forth, up and down (though primarily up) through the Tucson Foothills. The first 1-1/2 miles are real beginner type miles, but whoever laid out the trail decided to kick it up a bit here with a little steeper grade for the next 1-1/2 miles. Soon enough, you’ll come to a level spot, several hundred feet long, where 3 trails intersect. These are signed, but just so you know, take the rightmost trail. You are now on the King Canyon trail and are beginning the steepest 3/4 mile stretch of the hike. It’s really not too bad if you’re even a semi-regular hiker, in fact, I talked with a couple who still tag the summit on occasion and they’re both 91 years old. He said it just takes him longer now. Finally, at about 4 miles in, you start crest out as you cross a saddle, round counter clockwise just below the summit, to the final switchback. Just yards from the summit is another register, and now it’s time to suck up the incredible views.

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2015-12-22 Mountain_Rat
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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 15 deeper Triplog Reviews
Wasson Peak via Sweetwater Trail
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After spending most of the previous 72 hours trapped in a moving vehicle, I really needed a leg stretcher. As wiped out as I was, I had a ton of energy simmering inside, so I just swung in to the TH and went. I must have been only semi-conscious, cuz the whole thing is kind of blurry now, but I know it was really windy. Other than that, it was pretty pleasant out and I was appreciative to be out.

Had a pretty good run, all things considered; Up in 01:29, down in 01:22, 85-ish deg, winds 15-ish w/ 25+ sustained along the upper ridge, drank 40 ozs of warm water, saw only 1 couple the whole trip.

Now if you'll excuse me, I really need a nap. :zzz:
Wasson Peak via Sweetwater Trail
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Out to push myself today. First decent night of sleep in over 5 months, so I was good to go. Started with a warm up, track run (something that must happen every Saturday morning), then off to the TH. I tied my best up time, but was 6 minutes behind my best down time. This time, there was no running, so all around, I think this as my best go at it. Mid 80s and mostly sunny while I was out.
Wasson Peak via Sweetwater Trail
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Went out to check my status, and it seems identical to last week. :| I'm hoping this isn't my new normal.

On a brighter note, you can now add two slices of seared, pork belly to any sandwich at Jack In The Box, for the low, low price of $1.49. :o I'm pretty sure this will be my new normal. :y:

Wasson Peak via Sweetwater Trail
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Day 106 of recovery:

Did pretty good today. I'm up to 194 lbs and wore a pack for the first time. Though only using about 8 ozs of water, I carried 110 ozs. I also carried a bunch of crap that I would use on an all day hike, just to see how that would work out. I'm still a few minutes behind my benchmark, but with less pain and repercussion.

I ran into a couple of the Saddlebrook girls, Bertie and Margaret who had diverted here to avoid snow on Tanque Verde Peak (their original plan). Good to see them again.

Nice to get out on a pretty perfect day. :)
Wasson Peak via Sweetwater Trail
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Tucson Mountain Wander
When they said 90 days recovery, they meant it. This is day 93, and while it's still a bit uncomfortable getting out of bed in the morning, I feel pretty good once I'm vertical.

I set out today to do a test run on my benchmark trail, Wasson Peak. When I'm on par, it's 1:30 to the peak from the ECDC TH. While it was 1:37 today, about half of that discrepancy goes to the 25 hikers that I had to wait for as I tried to pass. All said, I am back to normal as far as pace goes. With that thought now seated in my head, I'm curious about my endurance.

I decided that since it was such a nice day, and I had only used a little of my water, that I would stretch this one out by taking the Hugh Norris :next: Sendero Esperanza :next: King Canyon route back, adding 3.75 miles to my trek. This worked out nicely, taking exactly the 5 hours I had to spare before getting back to not having a life, here on the couch. :?

The take away seems to be that I've got my speed back (at least reasonably so), but my dogs are barking a bit over a 13 mile stretch. Looks like I have to work on my long game now.
Wasson Peak via Sweetwater Trail
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First real accomplishment in months. It took 33% longer than normal and do I ever hurt today, but I did it. I'm on day 67 of a 60 to 90 day recovery, so I'm doin ok I guess. I've got big plans and a lot of lost time to make up for, so I need to get into gear. Can't beat the weather right now. It's a perfect time to get out and back into shape.
Wasson Peak via Sweetwater Trail
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Surprise day off. Went to burn some energy while it was still decent out. Took Camino Del Cerro TH to King Canyon Saddle, 3 laps to Wasson, then back to the TH.

Got a tip from a runner that no matter what I'm doing, that keeping my heart rate 5 to 10 below my LTHR would amount to a much more productive event, so I worked to keep it down, but with the heat, could only trim it by 2 or 3. Anywho, a slight throttling back did make a difference. Tuesday, my total time up was 1:33, and I felt it. Today, 1:30 flat, at a comfortable cruise (3 minutes later to the saddle, but 6 minutes faster on the main ascent). Additionally, I had energy for 3 laps today as opposed to 2 on Tuesday. Oh, and a cherry on top - I have this bruised ankle today that I didn't 4 days ago. This strategy might pay off.
Wasson Peak via Sweetwater Trail
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Issue with right metatarsal. Started on the outside, then moved to big toe by mid hike. Fine by the end (4 hours into an Ibuprofen).

No food since last night, 1 Red Bull-0 starting about 1/2 hr before T time.

Avg 75 deg.

45 miles on the Lone Peak 3.0s (about 1/2 gone).

Minimal running. Just pushed hiking speed.

Missed my best time by 2 minutes (09/07/16).
Wasson Peak via Sweetwater Trail
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Tucson Mountain Tour
Thanks to old machinery breaking, I managed a couple of days off again. Though much of my time will be spent in personal biz, I needed a long beater to burn today away. As I did last week in a similar situation, I hit the Tucson Mountains. With the weather like it is in Tucson right now, the time is perfect to hit these hills. I figured I had time for about 20 miles, so that's what I did. These lower altitude hikes are probably gonna remain on the menu for the next several months, or until I get used to wearing warmer clothes.
Wasson Peak via Sweetwater Trail
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Almost hit Kimball, but my better judgement kicked in and sent me this direction instead. The weather is as good as it can get down here right now, so I'm trying to spend every minute that I can on the trail. Unfortunately, 3 hours would be my entire allotment for today. Made good time for not really trying. :)

Permit $$

Saguaro National Park
2019 $20 vehicle, $15 motorcycle or $10 for any individual on foot or bicycle - the receipt is valid for 7 days Fees

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To Sweetwater Trailhead
In Tucson take I-10 to exit 252 (El Camino del Cerro/Ruthrauff) between Marana and Tucson. Head west on El Camino del Cerro six miles and do not deviate from the roadway until you reach the trailhead. The entire route is paved. No visitors' center on this side. Trailhead closes at 9pm unless a permit is obtained.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 111 mi - about 1 hour 52 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 9.5 mi - about 19 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 255 mi - about 4 hours 6 mins
page created by Mountain_Rat on Dec 22 2015 4:00 pm
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