Valentine Peak via Pima Canyon - Catalinas, AZ | HikeArizona

Valentine Peak via Pima Canyon - Catalinas, AZ

Guide 1 Triplog Mine 0 0 Topics
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Difficulty 4.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 10.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,917 feet
Elevation Gain 2,729 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,295 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 9.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 26.88
 Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall, Seasonal Creek & Peak
 Backpack Possible - Not Popular
 Dogs not allowed
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70  2022-10-13 Mike_W
author avatar Guides 37
Routes 56
Photos 2,282
Trips 199 map ( 1,128 miles )
Age 51 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Oct, Nov, Feb, Mar → 8 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  7:19am - 5:55pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2020 Bighorn Fire119.5k
Nearby Area Water
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Fauna  Nearby
Named place  Nearby
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Don't expect to find love here...
by Mike_W

Valentine peak is a steep rocky peak on the east side of Pima Canyon and about 2/3 of a mile northwest of Finger Rock. Getting there involves hiking more than 4 miles up the fairly well-maintained Pima Canyon Trail #62, and doing a bushwhack from there up a steep rocky incline to a high saddle and another 100 feet of semi-technical rock climbing to the rocky peak.
Start at the Pima Canyon Trailhead and head up the canyon. The first 2 miles of trail are fairly well-maintained and easy to follow. Once you get past 2 miles, the canyon trail gets a little harder to follow and becomes a bit brushier. The next 2 miles of trail are steeper than the first 2 miles. After hiking a total of about 3 miles you will cross into the canyon from the west. If you look up the canyon you'll see an old dam. Look for some cairns across the canyon on the east side which is where the trail resumes.

Continue on the Pima Canyon Trail until you've hiked roughly 3.5 miles. Look to your east and you might be able to see a high point about 1,300 feet above you. Your destination is in that area. I found it to be easier to stay on the Pima Canyon Trail until I hiked about 4.25 miles. From there, I found a steep canyon climbing to the southeast and started climbing up. As I got higher, it got steeper, so I ended up hiking further east and staying at the same elevation. Eventually, I saw some cairns and followed those up to a high point where I was roughly 300 feet from the top. I saw 2 peaks and from where I was it was hard to see which peak was Valentine Peak. I hiked to the notch between the 2 peaks and from there it appeared that Valentine peak was to the northwest. There were some excellent views of Tucson from the notch. Getting to the peak from here involves a fairly steep and somewhat technical climb. I only saw one good way to go.

At the top, I found 2 glass jars. The tops were rusted and one of the jars seemed to be jammed shut. I was able to finally open it, hoping the glass wouldn't shatter and it did not, luckily. I expected only a small number of names on the registry but saw many, some as old as 1990, I believe, but no names in the last 3.5 years. On the registry, someone mentioned a "corkscrew route", but I couldn't find any routes posted for this hike, so I was going at it completely blind. There also were very few cairns along the way.

On the way down, I started down the same way as I hiked up, but changed direction about 1/3 of the way down, hiking further northeast, and then I found a gentler route down. I continued northeast and eventually ended up heading into a side canyon. Once I got lower down into this canyon it got a bit technical. There were some 5 to 6 feet drops but I just took my time and made it down safely. There may have been better ways to go.

Once at the gentler part of the canyon, I hiked northwest down this smaller canyon to the main Pima Canyon. When getting close to the main extension of Pima Canyon, look for the trail on the southeast side of Pima Canyon. Take this trail all the way out to the trailhead. If you can't find this trail, you can follow Pima Canyon for roughly 1/3 of a mile down and you will eventually see some cairns where you can pick up a better section of the Pima Canyon Trail. Take this trail roughly 4 miles back to the trailhead where you started.

If you happen to hike this trail in October, as I did, watch out for rattlesnakes. October and April seem to be the months where I've seen more rattlesnakes out and about. The day I hiked to this peak, I found a 3-foot rattlesnake on the Pima Canyon Trail about 3.5 to 4 miles in. It did not rattle when I was only 6 feet away and luckily I saw it. It did finally rattle after I stomped my feet.

The climbing section near the top is semi-technical and not for everyone. Be prepared if you attempt to go to the top. Coming down may be slightly more challenging than going up.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

This is a more difficult hike. It would be unwise to attempt this without prior experience hiking.

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2022-11-10 Mike_W
    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)

    Paved - Car Okay

    To Iris O. Dewhirst Trailhead
    Drive north from Tucson on Oracle Road (US 89). Turn east on Magee Road and drive to the parking area and trailhead at the road's end.


    From Tucson, drive north on Campbell Avenue until you reach Skyline Drive. Turn left on Skyline, which will eventually become Ina Road. Continue on Ina Road until you reach Christie Drive. Follow Christie Drive north until it dead-ends at Magee Road. Turn right on Magee and follow it until you arrive at the Iris O. Dewhirst Trailhead on your right.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 110 mi - about 1 hour 44 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 9.6 mi - about 19 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 253 mi - about 3 hours 50 mins
    page created by Mike_W on Nov 10 2022 10:21 pm

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