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Wasson Peak via Sweetwater Trail, AZ

Guide 107 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3.6 of 5 
186 107 0
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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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5  2022-02-24
Just Another Workout
4  2022-02-12
Just Another Workout
1  2021-03-31
Sweetwater Trail
7  2021-01-12 Jim_H
7  2021-01-06 azbackpackr
2  2020-03-25 Pivo
1  2020-03-17 Pivo
22  2020-02-26 RowdyandMe
Page 1,  2,  3
author avatar Guides 11
Routes 110
Photos 760
Trips 237 map ( 2,359 miles )
Age 59 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Jan, Dec
Sun  5:39am - 7:22pm
Official Route
5 Alternative

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 that there are so many approaches to this peak, but only one guide to which everyone has logged their varying adventures. Today, I’ll do my part and write a guide 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 in about 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 0.2-miles, where you’ll come to the 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 three trails intersect. These are signed, but so that 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 not too bad if you’re even a semi-regular hiker. 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.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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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.

Permit $$

Saguaro National Park
2020 $25 vehicle • $20 motorcycle • $15 individual on foot or bicycle
Receipt is valid for 7 days
$45 Annual Park Pass View All

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To El Camino del Cerro 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 9 pm 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
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool

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