Tumacacori Mountains Highpoint, AZ | HikeArizona
for free!
  This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Preferred" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Tumacacori Mountains Highpoint, AZ

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
  4 of 5 
AZ > Tucson > Ruby
18 1 0
tap icons for details
Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Round Trip 9.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,573 feet
Elevation Gain 2,150 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,840 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 7 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 23.7
 Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Historic, Seasonal Creek & Peak
 Backpack Possible - Not Popular
feature photo
Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
18  2022-12-17 DixieFlyer
author avatar Guides 74
Routes 885
Photos 11,645
Trips 785 map ( 8,976 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Fountain Hills, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
Expand Map
Preferred Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  7:15am - 6:02pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

The best views in southern Arizona!
by DixieFlyer

  Likely In-Season!
This hike is to the Tumacacori Mountains highpoint (elevation of 5,736 feet and prominence of 1,416 feet), in Santa Cruz County in southern Arizona. The highpoint is not named, but it is marked "5736" on topographic maps.

The Tumacacori Mountains are named for a nearby Spanish mission called San Cayetano de Tumacácori which was established by Jesuit Father Francisco Kino in 1691. By the late 1800s, the mission had fallen into a state of disrepair. To preserve the mission, the mission and its grounds were set aside as the Tumacácori National Monument in 1908; today it is known as the Tumacácori National Historical Park. Further details on the history of the mission can be found on the park service website.

From the trailhead, begin hiking in a southwesterly direction along the road, which is FR 4145. The road is in good condition for about 3/4 mile, after which point it begins to deteriorate. It eventually becomes more like a jeep road and then like an ATV road. After a couple of miles or so the road becomes undrivable, and turns into more of an unmaintained hiking trail. After about 2.6 miles the road/trail ceases to exist. At this point, you will have gained about 1,300 feet in elevation, with most of that coming in the last mile.

This is a good point to stop and take a short break because you now have to make an off-trail ascent to the west up to a ridgeline. This is a brushy ascent that gains 500-600 feet. The brush is not all that thick, so you aren't going through a wall of catclaw or manzanita. Some of the brush has stickers on them, but it is spaced far enough apart that you can dodge the worst of them. The ascent is steep and not particularly pleasant, but if you endeavor to persevere you can make it up to the ridgeline.

Once on the ridgeline, the heavy lifting is over. You will be about 1.9 miles from the summit, but only have a net elevation gain of 450 feet over that stretch; however, there are some regain bumps along the way, so the gross elevation gain will be more.

You will be heading north on the ridgeline to the summit. Initially, you will be hiking through some grass, but after about 0.2 miles (just to the east of Peak 5675) you can pick up a good use-trail that goes along the ridgeline almost all the way to the destination. Following the use-trail eliminates most of the bushwhacking and makes for an enjoyable hike, especially with the great views that are present along the way.

After about a mile of hiking along the ridgeline, the use-trail will take you within about 10-15 of the Tumac Benchmark, which is at an elevation that is only about 100 feet lower than the Tumacacori Mountains highpoint. It is worthwhile to stop and check out the benchmark disk and take a short break to admire the awesome views of the surrounding mountains.

From the Tumac Benchmark, it is about 0.75 miles to the destination of the range highpoint. Continue along the use trail until you are about 0.25 miles below the summit, at which point you'll have to leave the use trail to make the final ascent to the summit. The ascent is a bit grassy and brushy, but it isn't too bad and the ascent is not too steep. At the summit, you can enjoy perhaps the nicest views in southern Arizona. A geography teacher would have a field day at the summit!

Return the way that you came back to the trailhead. Note that some people have chosen to take a more direct route back to the trailhead by bushwhacking their way down instead of going back along the ridgeline. You may wish to review triplogs to see the experience of others who have chosen to do this. You might also wish to review triplogs for the hike to nearby Tumacacori Peak.

There are no developed campsites in this area; however, disbursed camping is permitted. There is a good campsite at the trailhead.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2022-12-19 DixieFlyer
    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)

    Strictly 4x4

    To hike
    The trailhead is about one hour south of Tucson, and is near Rock Corral Spring.

    From Tucson, take I-19 south to Exit 29 for Tumacacori-Carmen. After exiting, turn right and the road will almost immediately turn to dirt. Travel for 2.2 miles to the "trailhead" which has enough room for 4-5 vehicles to park. After driving 1.6 miles you will come to a junction with FR 4145 and FR 4145A. Take the left fork for FR 4145 and start going down a hill on the way to the TH. A high clearance 4WD vehicle is preferred to make the drive, but if the road is dry a strong SUV should be able to drive to the FR 4145-FR 4145A junction; an SUV should consider parking here, which will add 1.2 miles round-trip to the hike.

    If you enter "Rock Corral Spring" into google maps, you will be able to get to within 400 feet of the parking area. Just continue for 400 feet and you'll come to the parking area. There is a fire ring and a good place to camp at the trailhead.

    With a high clearance 4WD vehicle some might wish to continue driving on the road past the trailhead. The road isn't bad, but there are very few places to turn around or park. After 0.7 miles there is a small pullout on the left side of the road at these coordinates: 31.55171, -111.09319. There is really only room for one vehicle to park here. The road deteriorates past this point and it is not recommended to drive further.
    page created by DixieFlyer on Dec 19 2022 12:08 pm

    end of page marker