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Brittlebush Trail - Saguaro NP West, AZ

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Difficulty 1 of 5
Distance One Way 1.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,697 feet
Elevation Gain 240 feet
Accumulated Gain 277 feet
Avg Time One Way .5
Kokopelli Seeds 2.22
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
4  2021-02-27
Ironwood Forest Trail - Saguaro NP West
chumley
3  2017-08-24 markthurman53
20  2017-08-24
SNP West Thunderbird Cactus Canyon Loop
markthurman53
Author markthurman53
author avatar Guides 162
Routes 683
Photos 7,885
Trips 532 map ( 4,888 miles )
Age 67 Male Gender
Location Tucson, Arizona
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Mar → 8 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:18am - 7:34pm
Official Route
 
1 Alternative
 
Water


The less traveled trail
by markthurman53

Overview
This trail starts along the Thunderbird trail 0.4 miles north of the Gila Monster Mine and heads to the West over a ridge. From the ridge, the trail heads Northwest down to a wash that is the Easternmost Tributary of the Picture Rocks Wash. The trail then veers to the North again and follows the wash for 0.9 of the 1.3-mile trail, and ends in Picture Rocks Wash.

Hike
The Brittlebush trail does not appear to be heavily traveled; it is faint in spots and requires some stopping to look for where it continues. The GPS was very handy along this trail. From the Thunderbird Trail 0.4 miles north of the Gila Monster Mine, the Brittlebush Trail heads off to the West over a small saddle between two hills. The trail junction is not marked, but there are some rocks lined up on the left side of the trail, indicating that a trail heads off in that direction. This junction is just north of the ridge on the Thunderbird trail and about where the Thunderbird trail heads down a canyon toward the Cactus Canyon Trail. I passed it the first time, but thanks to my GPS, I discovered the error before walking too far past it. From this junction, the trail crosses over the saddle to the west and heads down the other side to the easternmost tributary of the Picture Rocks Wash. This saddle marks the easternmost side of the Picture Rocks drainage system. The trail is faint here but not too difficult to follow. From here, the trail crosses the wash and exits on the west side, staying to the west of the wash for about 0.1 miles, and then enters the wash for the rest of the trail. There is one small exception to bypass a small waterfall in the wash. I actually missed the trail here and went down the wash and had to navigate the 2-foot waterfall. Once on the other side of the falls, I noticed a sign indicating that the trail heads out of the wash on the west side just to drop back in the wash above the falls. Personally, I think just heading down the wash was easier than climbing out of the wash to avoid the falls (I don’t know if I would call it a falls, I’ve seen rock steps in trails that were more of an obstacle than this). Further down the wash, the trail comes to a wash entering from the west, and this is the Picture Rocks Wash. A sign indicates that this is the Picture Rocks Wash Trail and Brittlebush Trail Junction. Continuing down along the wash for about 100 yards is the start of the Ironwood Forest Trail. Good views to the west and northwest from this trail, at least before you enter the wash. This trail has no Trailhead and is, therefore, a trail used as part of a longer loop hike. Being there are numerous trails in this area, the options are plentiful.

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2017-08-25 markthurman53
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  • SNP Cactus Forest Map
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One-Way Notice
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.
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 $$
NPS

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


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
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 markthurman53 on Aug 25 2017 8:08 pm
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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