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Palisade Trail #99, AZ

Guide 25 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
  3.9 of 5 
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 6.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,125 feet
Elevation Gain 3,700 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 18.53
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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10  2019-09-21
Prison Camp to Palisades
17  2018-01-19 rvcarter
17  2014-10-26
Prison Camp to Palisades
4  2014-04-04 rvcarter
32  2013-09-17
Palisades to Sabino Visitors Center
61  2012-09-23
Pine Canyon - Catalinas
12  2011-09-17 hexclimber
23  2011-08-10 sirena
Page 1,  2
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,863
Routes 16,285
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 24 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Associated Areas
list map done
Sabino Canyon Recreation Area
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, May, Mar → Early
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  5:16am - 7:32pm
Official Route
6 Alternative

Saguaros to Pines
by HAZ_Hikebot

You'll enjoy good views and get a tour of most of the biological life zones which grace the slopes of the Santa Catalinas along this moderate to more difficult trail. From its upper terminus at Showers Point Group Campground, Palisade Trail starts out through stands of old-growth ponderosa pine and drops down the ridge which separates Palisade and Pine canyons. Upper sections of the trail are shaded and carpeted with pine needles. Views through the trees extend into both canyons and to the Sabino Basin below. In the distance, the city of Tucson spreads across the broad Tucson Basin.

Mud Springs is the only reliable water source along the Palisade Trail and, after dropping into Pine Canyon to visit it, the trail sidehills back to the ridge to treat you to expansive views of Pine Canyon, parts of the central canyons of the Santa Catalinas and the Front Range. Below Mud Springs, the trail drops into lower Pine Canyon down a two-mile series of steep but solid switchbacks which tend to be brushy and rocky for much of their length. The trail can be hard to find in this area. Watch for rock cairns -- a cairn is a small stack of rocks -- to guide you.

From trail's end at the junction with the East Fork Trail #24A, you can either return the way you came, or turn left to the Bear Canyon Trail #29, or turn right to the Sabino Canyon Trail #23 which leads to trailheads in the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area.

Attractions: A trail full of views, mountains to desert diversity, access to Sabino Basin, wildlife, and a segment of the Arizona Trail!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2008-02-27 HAZ_Hikebot
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  • Sabino Canyon Recreation Area Map
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    Sabino Canyon Recreation Area Map

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.

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
Take the Catalina Highway off Tanque Verde Road in Tucson. Drive 4.2 miles to the Forest boundary and continue 19 miles to Organization Ridge Road just downhill from the Palisade Visitor Information Center. Turn left here and drive a quarter mile down the Organization Ridge road to the trailhead parking area. Trailhead parking is not available in the campground. The Catalina Highway is paved and suitable for passenger cars but it may be snow-covered in winter when chains or 4-wheel drive may be required. In winter, Organization Ridge Road is closed, so you'll have to hike about a quarter mile to the trailhead.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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