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Blacketts Ridge, AZ

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Guide 737 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson N
3.8 of 5 by 35
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Popular Workout
Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,730 feet
Elevation Gain 1,800 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 15.2
Interest Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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1  2019-04-29 Pivo
2  2019-01-01 GrottoGirl
3  2018-10-18 Merianne
19  2018-04-13
Saddleback Ridge to Point 5001
1  2018-03-26 Pivo
1  2018-03-15 fricknaley
1  2018-01-31 Pivo
5  2017-12-30 AZ_Step
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Author Mike
author avatar Guides 5
Routes 0
Photos 249
Trips 12 map ( 4 miles )
Age 61 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Nov, Mar, Apr → 9 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:09am - 6:25pm
Official Route
6 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
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Tucson Treat!
by Mike

Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is a very popular tourist destination in Tucson. But, there's a way to see Sabino, and avoid the crowds in the canyon... Get above them, climb Blackett's Ridge! My friends and I hiked this trail on a March Saturday, and we saw less than 10 other people once we were on the Blackett's Ridge Trail.

Blackett's Ridge is sandwiched between Sabino and Bear canyons. To reach the beginning of the Blackett's Ridge Trail you start out from the Sabino Canyon Visitors Center following the Bear Canyon Trail, which begins at the eastern corner of the parking lot, to the right of the visitors center. This first section follows a wide dirt track, formally a shuttle road, till it reaches a paved section of road. Turn right on the paved road, and follow it downhill to another intersection, next to a building containing restrooms. Here, you'll turn right again, and follow the road across Sabino Creek and uphill to the last intersection. Straight in front you, the trail leaves the road and climbs a short distance up to the spine of a ridge where it splits. To the right the Bear Canyon trail heads off toward Seven Falls. To the left, the Phoneline Trail heads gently up the ridge on it's way into Sabino Canyon. Turn left here, and follow the Phoneline for about 4/10's of a mile, where the Blackett's Ridge Trail turns off to the right.

Initially, the trail climbs gradually till it reaches the lower face of Blackett's Ridge, where it then begins to climb more steeply along a series of switchbacks. As you're climbing the face of the ridge, you'll be treated with views of the Tucson area, but those aren't the ones you came to see. As you near the top of the ridge, the switchbacks end and the trail climbs almost straight up, and onto the top of the ridge. Here, the views of Sabino Canyon, and it's backdrop of the Santa Catalina Mountains, begin to open up. Eventually, the trail moves to the right side of the ridge, and views into Bear Canyon appear. As you round a hill on the left side and approach a saddle atop the ridge, you get a nice view of Thimble Peak.

Follow the trail straight back, along the top of the ridge till you reach the end of the trail. Don't worry, you can't miss it and there's even a sign to help! As you sit here, if you think you're hearing voices, look down into Sabino. It's just the tour guides on one of the shuttles far below. The folks down there are getting guided tours of the canyon, but you have the better end of the deal! From where you sit, you have an eagle's eye view of the entire area!

Most people probably stop at the trail's end, take their seat on one of the many boulders, snack, rest, enjoy the views, then head back down. But, for an added treat, the more adventurous can continue a bit further to the end of the ridge. At the edge, as you sit facing Thimble Peak, within arms reach on your left is a breath taking view straight down into Sabino Canyon! But that's not all, because within arms reach on your right is a pretty spectacular view down into Bear Canyon! Hey, there's even a pretty good drop in front of you, too! When you're done soaking it all in, turn around, climb back to the real "end of the trail" and head back down the the trail the way you came.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2002-03-30 Mike
  • sub-region related
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 of 18 deeper Triplog Reviews
Blacketts Ridge
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significant humidity results in tremendous sweating by frick :o

water flowing over the creek crossing again :y: :y: :y:
Blacketts Ridge
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finally saw the big great horned owl i hear hooting in the dark every morning out there :y: :y: :y:
Blacketts Ridge
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Late start...well, I turned my 5 AM alarm off at 4 because it rained and thundered at my house. When I woke up at 6:45, it was clear as a bell. Left the visitor center at 7:57. It was already 88 degrees. Nonetheless, I trudged on, stopping here and there to observe the hedgehogs blooming, a diamondback looking for shade, and a roadrunner trying to hide from me. I only met a half dozen other hikers on the trail this morning.

Now for that 3 egg breakfast.
Blacketts Ridge
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I felt wonky when I was getting ready to head out. And it got worse as I headed up the trail. At about .4 mile up Blacketts Ridge I had to stop and turn back. I got back home exhausted. I checked my blood pressure, which I hadn't done in a few weeks, and it was 92/60. That it explains why I've been feeling a little lethargic the last couple of weeks. Time to see the doctor and get the meds adjusted.
Blacketts Ridge
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First hike of the year. :y: It was a very busy "high season" for me here in Tucson, with long, 7 day work weeks. It was just a challenge to get 10,000 steps in a day, much less think about trying to carve out time off.

At least I can say that I'm in much better shape than this time last year; I managed to keep my weight under control (mostly) in the past 3 months; and if I had had more time this morning, I would've made the end of the trail in another 20 minutes without problems.

Beautiful day, overcast, cool, with a slight breeze gracing the ridge. The parking lot was full, but that should change in the next couple of weeks. The lower trails and roads were packed, and there was a fair number of hikers and trail runners on Blackett's.

There's still a nice, gentle flow of water in Sabino Creek.

The early wildflowers are fading, but the cacti blooms are coming forth. Hedgehog, some cholla, and even some saguaro. Ocotillo blooms are abundant.
Blacketts Ridge
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I had only a couple of hours this morning to get out. The parking lot at the visitor center was full, signaling the beginning of the high season. Winter visitors are slowly trickling into Tucson, as I spotted a number of out-of-state plates in the lot.

It's amazing that only two weeks ago that the ocotillo were a dark green - today their leaves are a yellow to light gold. I'll post a picture later.

Still lots of water in the creek.

Note to Joe: I did not notice that there was an update ready for HAZ Tracks until I got home, so I didn't get to check the time recording function.

Ocotillo are turning yellow, and a few yellow leaves on the cottonwoods.
Blacketts Ridge
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Good hike. I didn't have enough time to go to the top, but I got within .6 mile. I had made an adjustment in my blood pressure meds, and I think it made a real difference in the way I feel since my 9/1 trip up the ridge.

I came across a desert tortoise on the way up
Blacketts Ridge
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Author's note 9/6/14: I discovered today that my GPS info was not correct. Therefore I corrected the length & time of the trip.

Okay, go ahead and laugh. :sl: I know I probably just posted the longest ascent and roundtrip times for Blackett's Ridge on Hike Arizona. I thought I had gotten in much better shape over the last 3 months than was evident today. I had multiple little old ladies pass me going in both directions while I was still ascending. :oops: Nonetheless, I made it to the top, and it was worth the effort. What a view!

After resting a bit, I headed back down after checking my bank balance to see if I could cover the cost of an helo evac. I look forward (really) to my next attempt and a better trip time.

NOTE: I had reviewed a GPS track (Saddleback 5001 SCRA) that I believe was submitted by MrBadBern. I would like to try to get to Peak 5001, but it wasn't readily apparent to me when I looked around the end of the Blackett's trail where one would head down from there to cross the saddle to 5001. Is it pretty much a bushwack?

Coulter hibiscus, Arizona blue eyes, bearded morning glory, barrel cactus
Blacketts Ridge
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After work hike up lower Phoneline and first 1/2 mile of Blackett's Ridge. I felt much better than Sunday morning when I attempted this. I suspect an electrolyte imbalance that morning. Lot's of water in Sabino Creek where Bear Canyon Road crosses it. I came across a doe and fawn heading towards the water. Great evening, too bad I had to turn around, as dinner awaited me.
Blacketts Ridge
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Lower Sabino Canyon Loop
I felt wonky from the time I got out of bed, but since I had a free morning, I was determined to hit the trail.
Late start. :cry: I had wanted to attempt Blackett's Ridge, but it's already hot and humid after last night's huge downpour. Where last week I motored up Phone Line, this week I'm struggling just to get to the Blackett's Ridge junction. :( A hiker at least 10 years older than me comes down off of Blackett's looking daisy fresh. :x I decide to at least put an effort into trying the trail; I'm able to get about 1/2 mile up the trail before I have to turn around. ](*,) I get back to the junction with Phone Line where I'm Googling for a 12 step program for outdoors addiction when a trail runner stops to tie his shoes - he's already been up and back on Phone Line and is now adding Blackett's to his workout. :oplz: Feeling somewhat better after resting, I headed up Phone Line a bit so at least I could record some respectable mileage. I did manage to get to Phone Line Link so I could complete a loop back the visitor center.

It was nice to see a lot of water in the creek. There were quite a few people headed up to enjoy the water.

Permit $$
Visit this link for full details.

There are four specific day use areas that require a Coronado Recreational Pass or a National Pass/America the Beautiful Pass.
1) Sabino Canyon - located on the Santa Catalina Ranger District (520)749-8700
2) Madera Canyon - located on the Nogales Ranger District (520)281-2296
3) Cave Creek - located on the Douglas Ranger District (520)364-3468
4) Mt. Lemmon at 11 day use sites.

Catalina State Park $6 per day. Sabino Canyon Tram is $10 extra.

Coronado Forest
MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Phoenix take I-10 to Tucson. Passing the Ina exit take the Orange Grove exit east. Follow Orange Grove about 6.2 miles where it peters out at Skyline Drive. Turn right onto Skyline which turns into Sunrise. Follow Sunrise to the end and follow the signs into Sabino Canyon Recreation area.
1 TB Flash Drive... $40
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