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Blacketts Ridge, AZ

Guide 775 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
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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
Accumulated 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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4  2021-02-03 JuanJaimeiii
19  2021-01-14 LegoMan
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
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Author Mike
author avatar Guides 5
Routes 0
Photos 249
Trips 12 map ( 4 miles )
Age 62 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Associated Areas
list map done
Sabino Canyon Recreation Area
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Nov, Mar, Apr → 9 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:16am - 7:32pm
Official Route
7 Alternative

Tucson Treat!
by Mike

Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is a trendy 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 ten 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 from the Sabino Canyon Visitors Center following the Bear Canyon Trail #29, which begins at the eastern corner of the parking lot 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 of 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 Link Trail #27A runs gently up the ridge on its 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 until it reaches Blackett's Ridge's lower face, 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 its 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 hear 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, the more adventurous can continue a bit further to the end of the ridge for an added treat. At the edge, as you sit facing Thimble Peak, within arms reach on your left is a breathtaking 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
  • Sabino Canyon Recreation Area Map
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    Sabino Canyon Recreation Area Map
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 $$
Visit this link for full details.
2021 - FAQ
$8 per vehicle per day
$10 per vehicle per week
$40 per vehicle per year (valid for one year from date of purchase)

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.

2021 Catalina State Park
Per vehicle (1-4 Adults): $7.00
Individual/bicycle: $3.00

2021 Sabino Canyon Tram is $12 extra. [ website ]

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 the Sabino Canyon Recreation area.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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