Falcon Benchmark, AZ | HikeArizona
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  This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Preferred" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Falcon Benchmark, AZ

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
  3 of 5 
no permit
31 1 0
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,416 feet
Elevation Gain 915 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,059 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10.2
 Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Seasonal Creek & Peak
 Backpack Possible - Not Popular
unreported if dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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31  2022-12-27 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 Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 9 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  7:22am - 5:52pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

The falcons won the challenge of the fastest summit!
by Mike_W

  Likely In-Season!
The Falcon Benchmark is a high point in the Tortolita mountains in the Tucson area. The peak is fairly remote, and there is no official trail. Cattle often roam this area which may make part of the ascent easier. The hike is all open country and a light bushwhack. 2 miles of the hike is in a wide sandy wash that's easy to hike.

The drive is basically 7 miles of paved road from Missile Base road, and then a little over 10 miles of dirt / 4x4 road. The drive requires a 4x4 vehicle because the last 4 miles especially, are quite rough.

From the parking area mentioned below, hike south. Within the first few minutes, you should see a cattle tank and a corral. You may also encounter some cattle in this area. After you see the cattle tank, continue South for another 500 feet. You should see a fairly wide sandy wash.

Follow this wash for a total of about 1 mile. This will be roughly where you will want to exit the wash. After another 1/3 of a mile, you should see a barbed wire fence. I didn't see any private property signs, and I believe this fence is only used to keep cattle from going too far away.

Carefully slide under this fence in an area that looks passable. Once across the fence, you should be roughly halfway to the high ridge line. Keep ascending until you are on the ridgeline. Once there, you will continue south and east until you reach the high point. You may see some evidence of cattle grazing here which should make the bushwhack easier. There also seems to be an animal trail on the top of the ridge. Perhaps deer have made this trail over the years.

At the end of the ridge, you should see a survey marker that is raised above the ground. There's also a rock pile with a registry inside. Return the same way you came or for a longer more difficult adventure, you could loop around heading west and north to summit the Tortilla Benchmark.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

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2022-12-27 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 $$

    Strictly 4x4

    To hike
    from PHX: take I-10 to Red Rock (exit 226). Once off the exit, make your first left and then make another left to go under the highway. Turn right on Camino Adelante and continue for 4.5 miles. Turn left on E Missile Base road, then follow the directions below.

    from TUC: take I-10 to Marana road (exit 236). Once off the exit, make a right, left a quick left on the I-10 Frontage road, which may also be called Camino Adelante or the N Case Grande Highway. Continue for 5 miles. Then, turn right on E Missile Base road, then follow the directions below.

    Once on E Missile Base road, reset your odometer and let it run. Use the following approximate mileage.

    At 2.0 miles, turn left on S. Estancia Dr.
    At 3.2 miles, turn right on S. Davis Ranch Rd.
    At 5.2 miles, turn left on Cattle Tank Rd.
    At 6.8 miles, turn right on Hedgehog Trail (all paved up until this point; then it becomes dirt)
    At 11.1 miles, make your next right on S Owl Head Ranch road. You cannot continue on Hedgehog Trail at this point because of private property.
    NOTE: there is no sign for Hedgehog Trail at this junction. So, on your way back you will need to remember to turn here.
    At 11.4 miles, turn left on E. Crested Saguaro Place
    At 12.2 miles, make a slight left on Gas Line road which is unmarked but you will see a few "high-pressure gas line" signs along the way
    At 13.3 miles, you should reach a 4-way junction. Make a right here and follow Powerline road which may also be referred to as Hedgehog Trail.
    At 17.2 miles, you will approach a gate on your left. Take a right here and park somewhere off the road.
    This is a good place to start hiking.

    If you can get from Missile Base road to the trailhead in 1 hour, you're doing well!
    page created by Mike_W on Dec 27 2022 11:51 pm

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