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Kings Canyon Trail, AZ

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Guide 113 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson W
3.3 of 5 by 27
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,923 feet
Elevation Gain 1,785 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,032 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5 - 6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 17.16
Interest Peak
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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3  2019-03-20 Scooter63
10  2017-12-20 rwstorm
15  2017-09-25
Mile Wide Mine
8  2017-09-18
King Canyon Gould Mine Trail loop
14  2017-08-30
SNP West Sweetwater Sendero Esperanza Loop
3  2017-03-11 princez
18  2017-03-06
Wasson Loop
5  2017-02-10
Sweetwater Saddle via King Canyon
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6
Author desertgirl
author avatar Guides 20
Routes 1
Photos 3,098
Trips 428 map ( 3,024 miles )
Age Female Gender
Location Chandler, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Oct, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:13am - 6:22pm
Official Route
16 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
breath taking views
by desertgirl

King's Canyon Trail is the most direct route to reach Wasson's Peak - highest summit (4687 ft) of Tucson Mountains. This is located in the Saguaro National Park - West Unit.

The trailhead is located to the right, just north of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. You begin the hike up King's Canyon - you have 2 options: Take the old mining road that follows King;s Canyon or hike up King's Canyon along the wash. If you follow the bottom along King's Canyon, you encounter two locations with petroglyphs; 1st is on a rock right in the middle of the canyon bed that is covered with desert varnish. You will see a few petroglyphs. Further along you will encounter a dense collection of petroglyphs along both walls. At 0.9 miles you will reach the Mam-a-Gah picnic area. You will see an abandoned restroom at this point hiking up the wash. Keep to the right and follow King's Canyon another 1.4 miles of fairly steep trail, which intersects with Sweetwater Trail at the ridge. Vegetation is typically sonoran - paloverde trees, barrel cactus, cholla & mature saguaros Go left at this junction (well signed) climbing up through some steep switchbacks for another 0.9 miles gaining almost 600ft. Along this section of hike you will encounter 2 mine shafts (sealed off). A short 0.3-mile spur trail takes you to the summit - Wasson Peak. #60 views abound - Tucson to the east ith the Catalina & Rincon mountains, Kitt Peak, Mt. Wrightson to the west.

Return has a few options: 1) Return the way you came 2) Take The Hugh Norris Trail (Go Right where the spur joins the main Trail). You will go over the saddle and descend westward 1.9 miles where you will take the Esperanza Trail & head towards the Mam-A-Gah Picnic Area (1.4 miles). Springtime following a wet winter will make this hike a pleasurable hike through wildflowers. Along this trail you will encounter the Gould Mine (at 1 mile). You can take the Gould Mine Trail to the Kings Canyon Trailhead (~ 7.8 miles roundtrip) or go another 0.4 miles & return via King's Canyon. Hike along Gould Mine Trail takes you past huge tailings pile from the Gould Mine.

Summer will bring extremely high temperatures & this hike is best avoided. There is no water at the trailhead or along the trail. Carry all your water.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2003-02-10 desertgirl
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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 32 deeper Triplog Reviews
Kings Canyon Trail
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Tucson Mountain Wander
When they said 90 days recovery, they meant it. This is day 93, and while it's still a bit uncomfortable getting out of bed in the morning, I feel pretty good once I'm vertical.

I set out today to do a test run on my benchmark trail, Wasson Peak. When I'm on par, it's 1:30 to the peak from the ECDC TH. While it was 1:37 today, about half of that discrepancy goes to the 25 hikers that I had to wait for as I tried to pass. All said, I am back to normal as far as pace goes. With that thought now seated in my head, I'm curious about my endurance.

I decided that since it was such a nice day, and I had only used a little of my water, that I would stretch this one out by taking the Hugh Norris :next: Sendero Esperanza :next: King Canyon route back, adding 3.75 miles to my trek. This worked out nicely, taking exactly the 5 hours I had to spare before getting back to not having a life, here on the couch. :?

The take away seems to be that I've got my speed back (at least reasonably so), but my dogs are barking a bit over a 13 mile stretch. Looks like I have to work on my long game now.
Kings Canyon Trail
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Wassup Wasson
big figure 8 in saguaro west

parked at Sus picnic area. ran hohokam and golden gate dirt roads to esperanza. took that up and over hugh norris ridge to kings canyon. hit wasson from kings canyon and came back the full length of hugh norris, then hohokam road back to finish.

cloudy and good temps with variable, at times crazy, wind. some decent flowers here and there. hand full of people, not much. felt pretty good. coming down the hugh norris steps at the end was extraordinarily painful. even with that, i've got no complaints :)
Kings Canyon Trail
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Claire & I headed down to Tucson for a nice hike in Saguaro National Park. We made the drive down and started hiking in mid morning. We started with the Kings Canyon Trail and headed up. We took a short detour over the petroglyphs roughly a mile in. They are really cool and worth checking out. From there we continued up as the trail climbs for the peak. The trails are in excellent condition as they switchback up. We took a short lunch on the summit and then headed down the Hugh Norris Trail. This trail was in excellent condition too and we flew down. We stopped for a moment to check out the mine and then returned to the TH via the Gould Mine Trail. Afterward we headed over to Signal Hill to check out the Petroglyphs.
Kings Canyon Trail
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Tucson Mountain Tour
Thanks to old machinery breaking, I managed a couple of days off again. Though much of my time will be spent in personal biz, I needed a long beater to burn today away. As I did last week in a similar situation, I hit the Tucson Mountains. With the weather like it is in Tucson right now, the time is perfect to hit these hills. I figured I had time for about 20 miles, so that's what I did. These lower altitude hikes are probably gonna remain on the menu for the next several months, or until I get used to wearing warmer clothes.
Kings Canyon Trail
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was going to do esperanza up to wasson but the gate was closed where the dirt road takes off from picture rocks (never seen that before) so i just kept going to kings canyon. still largely beat the heat though i was blinded in sections running up straight into the sunrise :lol:

came down the trail with no name for some variety, it's a bit overgrown at the moment but still makes for a fun route down. nice morning
Kings Canyon Trail
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After yesterday's debacle, I needed some reassurance. This is a nice, close by, shorty for me. With a 06:30 start, I was home before it hit 90 deg. I made decent time and didn't break anything.

Didn't see the the usual wildlife, or humans that would normally startle me at every turn. Kinda strange given how nice it was out (72 deg to start, 88 deg at finish). All I saw was a single Blacktail. In fact, the register had no signatures from yesterday and only one from the day before. :?
Kings Canyon Trail
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For the last 2 months, I've been sidelined with first a knee injury, then later a minor ankle twist, not to mention the fire storm of personal stuff going on. I opted for full recovery, plus a couple of weeks before trying to push out a mentionable hike. In that time, my best was 2-1/2 hrs, round trip to the Finger Rock Cave. Other than a few of those, I was getting in 15 miles on flat land as a daily minimum. Today was the day to try for some AEG. This is a moderate one, but a good challenge for me right now. I did much better than I had anticipated, coming in about 20 minutes short of my best time here. Now at home, 2 hours later, I feel like I could go again. I think I may be all healed up :y:
Now I need to get my speed back ](*,)
Kings Canyon Trail
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Wanted a longer hike with kind of a mid-range elevation gain. This one comes in at 213 FPM.

Not happy with my new shoes. They have a sloppy fit, leaving my feet achy.

Anywho, the weather is great and I'm glad to be out in it. :)
Kings Canyon Trail
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I had things to do this morning, then things to do mid afternoon, so the window seemed to be about 10:00 to 14:00, give or take a bit, so I figured Wasson would fill that gap nicely.

It was still quite cool at 10:00 when I hit the trail. I was pretty layered up, but never got hot as I hustled up the hills. I made great time moving, but was astounded by the number of people who were out today. I encountered 37 people in 3 hours, seeing around half of them again on my way back down. I just am not the guy who simply goes ‘hi’. I just have to give a pleasant greeting and sometimes twice, so people reeeally slow me down. Anywho, I still did good time wise, having to do quite a bit of running to make up as I could.

The big disappointment of the day, was arriving at the summit to gangsta crap being jammed over the speakers of an i phone while two stoners sat giggling and reading their sandwiches (no! I did not misspell eating. They appeared to be reading the sandwiches). Do they really think we all trek out there to bask in their stupidity? ARGHH!!!

K! Rant over. …And then I went home.
Kings Canyon Trail
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Though it was the 15th of May in 2004, not the 10th, when I first visited Tucson that year and came to Saguaro, it was 100 degrees and my friend and I were unable to do much out of the car. Prior to driving to Ski the Lemmon, we took shelter in a Walmart for the air conditioning. What a difference a cool spring makes! It was more like March, than early summer, and cool when back at the trailhead after sunset. It is quiet at the airport on a Sunday, with only the sounds of the light breeze, quail, cactus wrens, doves, hummingbirds, and flycatchers as the sun was going down. As always, great long shadow viewing on the Front Range canyons of the Catalinas. Empty on the trail, considering the 82 degree temperature when I started, and the chilly 75 degree temp when I got back.

Permit $$

Saguaro National Park
2019 $20 vehicle, $15 motorcycle or $10 for any individual on foot or bicycle - the receipt is valid for 7 days Fees

Map Drive

To hike
Drive towards Tuson on I10 East. To reach trailhead, take Speedway west. This turns into Gates Pass Road. Turn right on Kinney Roadand head past the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The trailhead is located a short distance north of the museum. Parking is off on the right.
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