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Las Cienegas - AZT #7, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson S
2.7 of 5 by 9
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 12.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,078 feet
Elevation Gain -643 feet
Accumulated Gain 545 feet
Avg Time One Way 4-7 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 14.32
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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8  2019-07-13 GrottoGirl
22  2019-05-04
Las Colinas AZT #6 & Las Cienegas AZT #7
15  2018-12-27 garyc57
175  2017-11-05 BACKROADER
44  2016-12-18
AZT #8 and 7 - LaSelvilla to Charlais Road
5  2016-11-22 mazatzal
36  2016-11-05 tibber
9  2016-01-23
Azt #7 & #8
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   Mar, Nov
Sun  6:11am - 6:20pm
Official Route
6 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Overview: From the Lakes Road the trail heads northeast past the Twin Tanks, then mostly north crossing several small roads. It turns briefly to the west and then back north again, crossing several more roads and then reaching Sahuarita Road. It loops north and then east and goes under Highway 83 at a culvert. After a short traverse across the desert it crosses the Old Sonoita Highway and then joins a two-track road. After several road junctions, including a powerline access road, it leaves the road and heads north up to Interstate 10. After going under I-10, it climbs up onto a ridgeline and follows that to the Davidson Canyon Gabe Zimmerman Trailhead.

Southern Trailhead: Lakes Road - Twin Tanks

Northern Trailhead: Gabe Zimmerman TH

Note: This page is open to authors. Hike must be listed South to North as one-way. Do not include an overview as the above is permanent.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Las Cienegas - AZT #7
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    Vail Scramble Half Marathon
    i finally figured out how to get to the starting line of a trail race healthy. sign up at the last minute and don't prepare :lol:

    i had a weird winter, with some seriously derailed plans. i guess this was kind of my consolation prize, though on a much smaller scale. oh well. que sera

    it was nice to finally meet Karl and chat for a few minutes.

    had a pretty good run. had my head in the clouds for the first hour and by the time i realized i had a chance for going under 2 hours it was too late. not sure i had it in me anyway, but it's fun to think about.

    nice event. i had a great time!
    Las Cienegas - AZT #7
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    AZT #8 and 7 - LaSelvilla to Charlais Road
    Tonto Jr said 30 degrees when I left SunLakes at 7AM. The AZT Section crew met up and drove southeast of Tucson to set up the shuttle at Charlais Rd and LaSelvilla campground deciding to hike north to south since both Ambika and I had hiked this part of 8 from north to south. I still think this is a great campground though the road into it is a bit rough.

    We started hiking at 10AM and enjoyed our views in most directions especially looking back at the La Posta Quemada folds. I didn't know those folds had a name. (Huge limestone blocks -- including the one in which Colossal was formed-- were thrust into their positions by geological forces that actually brought ENTIRE hills :o from as far away as the San Pedro River.) It's really pretty hiking by the picnic areas and then across the Old Spanish Road above the other side of the camping areas and Agua Verde river. There are a couple interpretive signs for a bit too so we had to stop and peruse them.

    As we headed south a bit you came around the side of the mountains to get a different look to the northwestish to see the Rincons and some more of the Quemada Folds. Shawn fixed a trail marker with some new stickers and we continued on our way, still wearing our jackets which 3 of us kept on the entire hike. We don't get to do that often so it was a nice change. As we made our way past and above the Ranch area we encountered 3 hikers. I'm thinking her name was Pam, a HAZlurker and Jamie and I didn't catch the third person's name. She inquired if we were HAZers and asked for our trail names. She knew Tibber as she held up her hand as if it had a camera in it filming :lol: .
    We paused to read the Volunteers sign that's rather large where you would turn to go into the ranch. We continued up and around the hill, our only major climb for the day. I think the grade on this uphill is quite nice and you can keep up a pretty nice pace until you top out at the saddle and look over into the Chihuahuan desert to the south. I also spotted the white castle in the distance and would end up taking several pictures of it for several miles. I got some good zooms; it is quite the property.

    From here we headed downhill for quite some time until we came to just about the border with Cienegas Reserve about 1/2 mile from the RR trestle. We did see a train across the way. And then one of those long trucks pulling a couple cars on the lower tracks. Once you get over that hill above the Ranch I heard the train a couple times. I don't know why but I love that sound and it blew its whistle a couple times so I could yell, "Choo, choo! Choo, choo!" :D

    We took our short lunch break here and then headed toward the train track. As we were hiking we could hear the train and didn't realize we still had another hill to get around to see it so I did my best, with Shawn in the lead, to trot up that hill to get that picture of the train crossing the trestle. Whew, we made it. I filmed it and then took a couple pics of the engines at the back. It was a pretty short train. We hiked under and admired the trestle and then Shawn clicked the road crossing button as I did my best Beatles walk and waved at the vehicle that had stopped. I think they were on to me as they waved back.

    We followed the old road to the intersection with the single path that takes you down to the Cienegas River and under the old railroad trestle. The river was running a little. We did see the remnants of the water that had rushed through here as it was 1/4 or better up the trees in the river bed. Walking on the little narrow logs across the river was a little dicey but with poles, it was a piece of cake. We passed by a giant beautifully shaped cottonwood tree before heading up out of Davidson Canyon that feeds into the river. We continued uphill to the Gabe Zimmerman TH junction and then headed east and then south above Davidson Canyon with, of course, some look backs at the Rincons.

    As we continued you had views of the Empires and the Santa Rita Foothills. To the other side of the Empires was another nice mountain range and I thought they were the Whetstones and based on the map, it was indeed. It was still breezy as we made our way under I-10 thru that very long double tunnel. It got almost pitch black as I was filming :scared: . From there it's another bit of an uphill until you top out for most of the rest of the hike until the last bit. For the rest of the hike we spotted a helicopter hovering over an area just to the SE of the AZT 7. It was still there as we left. I did finally get close enough to get my zoom on. At one time a rope with some kind of hook? was below the helicopter but we never saw what was attached if anything. It could have been practicing Rescue.

    We took a break on one of the pipeline road crossings about 1 1/2 miles from Charlais Road where TontoJr was waiting. I just feel this little break toward the end makes those last miles fly by and you're not so worn down when you're done. I need to save some strength to drink my beer; especially since little did I know the restaurant we were going to lost its liquor license :( . I think this is the fastest we've ever hiked 11 miles but the trail is pretty good so it made, by our standards, fast hiking easy enough.

    We finished our day at El Minuto in Tucson, a place Shawn had not visited since the last century, give or take. Well the Chili Rellenos they ordered were not very good but my Carne Seca Quesadilla was awesome (altho it could have used some more carne seca) and would have been even better with a margarita.

    Pictures are ready. I will start video production tonite 12-21-2016.
    Las Cienegas - AZT #7
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    Northbound, Part 1 Set up: Part 1 Well after missing the turn to the shuttle stop and then backtracking to leave Tonto Jr we attempted Part 2, parking at the TH. We drove by it and then barely found it just past a guard rail. We went thru the gate and up the hill, parked and checked out the area where we saw a trail sign. We had already decided Tonto Jr would not be able to get up the hill because of the ruts and angles so thot better of it and parked by the gate.

    We started our hike from the road by the gate where there is little room to park. We hiked up past where we went the first time which is up another hill to the top of a rise to finally start from the official track. Whew! We walked to the Twin Tanks/Lakes area and saw another road coming up from there so it might be a better road to use to access the start of the trail but we didn't have time to investigate how you even get to that road. We did see a blue heron hanging around at the lake though he took off in short order when he sighted us.

    As to the hike, there was sure no chance you were going to have to tackle any kind of sizable hill due to the routing :lol: . The track was pretty nice though some areas I could see where some cat claw removal would be helpful. If you're wearing shorts, you might get a couple scratches; especially if you are biking this lower section.

    The hike itself is typical desert though I was surprised to see only a dozen or so cholla and in single units; that just seemed odd. We did see some soap tree yucca in a few spots and the cactus had really big ears and some had sizable roots/trunks. Oh, and some rather large barrel cactus too. There were sections of ocotillos as well and we found a cockelburr pond as we stopped for a quick fuel break. I pointed out to everyone where I had been a couple months ago in the Rincon Mountains which rose above us in the distance. Of course, we have to tackle that some time.

    We didn't encounter any other hikers, only three bikers coming and going. One of them had worked with Shawn the day before on a gate install; he is also a steward on one of the AZT segments so that was kind of fun. That's happened before to us on the trail. We didn't have to do any sawing and moving logs; only kicking off some rocks for our trail work today.

    We had left Tonto at a pullout just a short away from where 7 crosses the Old Sonoita Hwy. We haven't been hiking much so we just got our feet wet today. The AZT Section Crew will be on the trail again the 19th and 20th. This was a nice hike thru some lovely desert on a beautiful day :) .

    Mammilaria in one rockier section, cane cholla, one christmas cholla, a few chain cholla, one resurrection plant, some hedgehogs, LOTS of prickly pear, it wasn't a hop bush that we investigated that had the seeds, Lots of barrel cactus, mesquite trees, a few groups of yuccas.
    Las Cienegas - AZT #7
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    Azt #7 & #8
    Filling in a couple more segments of the AZT with my cousin this weekend.

    Got dropped off on Sonoita Hwy near the beginning of segment 7 Friday night, and camped near the trail. Besides the light breeze the temperatures were great.

    Did 20 miles and some change on Saturday. This was some of the easiest walking I've done yet on the AZT.

    Saw 3 mule doe just after leaving the Creek at the beginning of segment 8.

    I was slightly disappointed when we got to the ranch before Colossal Cave and the gift shop was closed, I was craving some sugar.

    The Colossal Cave area was definitely the highlight of the trip. The campground caretaker let us camp there for free. The running faucet was nice to have near camp, although the wash right next to it was running pretty good. Cold that night.

    Great views of Mica, Tanque Verde, and Rincon after exiting Colossal Cave park.

    We got picked up at X9 Ranch Road, leaving 2 miles that still need to be finished for #8.

    We are aiming to get out in the next 3 or 4 weeks to do #9 and #10, and to complete #8.
    Las Cienegas - AZT #7
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    I hiked this passage with Andrew and Dan. We parked one vehicle at the Gabe Zimmerman TH and drove my truck to Lakes TH. I have a State Trust permit, so I didn't have any problem leaving my truck at that end. Vehicle logistics is always the hardest part of these hikes.
    We started the hike about 8AM under cloudy skies and threat of rain. The trail was soft from previous rains, but not muddy and in great shape overall. The lake contains plenty of water for anyone looking to refill. A white pickup sat on a distant hill and watched us as we headed down the trail. Not sure what the deal was there. Maybe we were just paranoid or maybe he was just looking for his cattle. Good or bad, I notice that those voices in my head talk a lot more when I'm on the trail. I'm just glad most of the voices are interesting. :)
    After hiking Alamo Canyon last time out, this section was a welcome relief from constant elevation changes. Dan and I talked about doing this section on our mountain bikes.
    Andrew and I met the guy that repairs all the gates on the AZT at a REI class on hiking the trail. I think of him everytime we pass through one of these gates. I wish I could remember his name. BTW all the gates on this section are in great shape.
    Around the Sahuarita Rd and 83 crossing we noticed a helicopter flying around with a guy at the end of a rope. I'm guessing is was some sort of military training mission. "There goes those voices again." :)
    Crossing I-10 consisted of going through another nice gate and a long tunnel. We were surprised that the tunnel was free of debris and graffiti. Nice job Stewards and Volunteers!
    After crossing we were treated to some great views of Davidson Canyon and the mountains to the North before dropping down to the Gabe Zimmerman TH and the end of our hike.
    Aside form a few drops of rain, this was a dry hike. Cold, but dry. I can't believe that in 14 miles I shot 50 pictures, and what I had expected to be a boring hike turned out to be very nice. Arizona continues to surprise me.
    Las Cienegas - AZT #7
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    This part of the AZT was recently dedicated to the memory of Gabe Zimmerman. There are a couple memorials to him as well as signage about the area. My partner Kath and I parked in the large lot (no restrooms) and walked along the Northern Trail to the 3 Bridges. Walking in sandy creek bed with some water flow. A beautiful day, sunny and warm. Lots of huge barrel cacti, prickly pear and some saguaros high up along the cliffs. I think this would be a beautiful walk when the fall leaves come out.

    I found someone's iPhone just as we started our hike and tried to find them to no avail. We were able to call her family on the phone (luckily it wasn't locked) and actually ran into her and her 2 sweet Goldens just as we were exiting the trail. That was a happy event!
    We would like to return and go on the Southern part next time as we understand it's a lovely meandering section of the trail and easy to walk.
    I loved being here and felt Gabe's spirit as we walked.
    Las Cienegas - AZT #7
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    Great hike out on the AZT. I kept us going at a really good pace until all morning while the weather was good, we ended up going about a 3.5mph clip. We did our first AZT 2-fer today, doing segments 7 and 8 in one day. Good to have Nick with us to initiate him in the 30-mile-plus club; this is the 4th AZT segment that we have done so far that involved more than 30 miles in a day, but the first one where Nick joined us.

    The highlight of this segment by far is the Cienega Creek area, which is at the end of segment 7 and the beginning of segment 8. BEAUTIFUL little area in the middle of the desert! This was our cache spot for the day and we also had our lunch there, it was perfect.

    Interview with a Squirrel:
    Las Cienegas - AZT #7
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    everything was going well on the drive in until the've seen splash, right joe?...the insides of the car filled with red hot rage...

    anyways, i joined the boys on a double up of section 7 & 8 of the AZT for a long walk through the desert. the trails are in primo condition and no matter what, i always find a long walk through the desert to be eternally serene. there were some great views along the way (especially climbing out of the little bowl just north of colossal cave), pleasant surprises (La Cienega creek) and more entertainment than i could ask for (seriously, it was too much). everything about the day went down just right, and after a couple weeks of relentless butt kicking at work, it was really a perfect day. on a personal note, this was my first day over 30 miles. :y:
    Las Cienegas - AZT #7
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    Back on the AZT. Today was our first Double. The plan was AZT#7 Las Cienegas and AZT#8 Ricon Valley. Three parts of these trails were recently completed.
    - The reroute around the rt 83 / E Sahuarita rd intersection on AZT#7,
    - The nice approach to the end of AZT#7 whick now drops into the best portion of this Hike, Cienega creek in Davidson Canyon.
    - The twisty turny completion to AZT#8 coming into Hope Camp.

    Both passages were in excellent condition. We saw more Hikers, Bike riders, and photographers than on any other section(s) to date.

    Our Cienega Creek lunch spot, was the Hike highlight for me.
    Joe's Break buddy, will be a classic. Check out his video ==>

    It got a little toasty around 11, but then Nick dialed in some cloud cover to make the rest of the trip pleasant.

    Got to see my first Diamondback of the season (Also on Joe's video)

    Thanks guys for another splendid day on the AZT!

    Our Current AZT Status

    55% - 23 Segments Completed
    55% - 422 Miles Completed
    60% - 73,168 Ft AEG Completed
    Las Cienegas - AZT #7
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    Finally got to enjoy an AZT outing after a few months. Two hours and ten minutes of sleep proved invaluable compared to the no sleep events I've pressed through in the past. The views on these two easy segments get better as you go. The trail is well tread throughout minus couldn't figure out how to get out under a bridge without a steep crawl. No biggie, we may have missed something.

    Clouds kept the weather in check. I went with 4 liters to start and cached two at the lunch bridge. Worked out to the drop.

    Glad to now understand the Rincon, Mica and Tanque Verde peaks layout. While maps are cool, sometimes I need to experience the views. Wish it was closer to home. Got to chat with an NPS ranger for about twenty minutes at the trailhead waiting on the others. Thanks everyone for a great day. I hear this puts us over half way :)

    Interview with a Squirrel

    7:06am - Start
    10:55am - 11:44am 49m Lunch Break
    12:46am - 1:00pm Half mile loop around small mountain to drop short 120ft
    1:26pm - 1:42pm 16m Interview with a Squirrel Break
    3:45pm - 4:08pm 23m Break
    5:22pm -Finish

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