For a simple off trail getaway hike, right in the middle of the bustle of Sabino Canyon Recreation area, take off up Esperero Trail to Bird Canyon. The .7 mile paved road, then the .6 mile walk up the trail to the junction with the Rattlesnake Wash cutoff takes you close to the base of a steep but short hill. Work your way up and on top of that ridge, following the trail, then as the trail drops steeply off the bench and into Bird Canyon drainage, make your way to the bottom and across to the other side of the drainage... at this point you could simply begin to work your way up drainage, but it is a little easier to stay on the trail for another 100yds or so, and re-enter the drainage slightly above the crossing. Esperero Canyon Trail will begin to incline steeply out of the Bird Canyon drainage at this point; do not continue to follow the trail.
From this point you will be off trail for the remainder of the hike.
The drainage may be followed for miles, but a very pleasant and logical destination is a narrow waterfall grotto about a mile up drainage. In season this grotto is a fairly dramatic setting with water cascading into a fern lined, rock bound defile with nice tree accents overhanging. This is a great picnic destination point.
There is an obvious and fairly easy access around this obstacle on the right side, 35 yds short of the waterfall.
The hike continues in canyon fashion with small rock falls, pools, and pleasant riparian habitat. There is the normal danger of slipping on the wet rocks. At a further point, the canyon vegetation can present problems, depending on just how overgrown it has become since the latest flooding.
It is not big Adventure... but it is adventure!
Check out the Triplog.
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.