Phoneline Trail #27, AZ | HikeArizona
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Phoneline Trail #27, AZ

Guide 149 Triplogs Mine 0 0 Topics
3.6 of 5 
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 4.05 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,705 feet
Elevation Gain 961 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,527 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 9.14
 Backpack Possible & Connecting
 Dogs not allowed
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10  2021-12-05 BiFrost
23  2021-04-02
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16  2017-02-19
Sabino - Bear Canyon Loop
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author avatar Guides 93
Routes 396
Photos 4,188
Trips 3,501 map ( 22,769 miles )
Age 47 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Associated Areas
list map done
Sabino Canyon Recreation Area
Tucson Region
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Feb, Mar, Oct, Nov → 7 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:52am - 6:20pm
Official Route
21 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2020 Bighorn Fire119.5k
🔥 2003 Aspen Fire87.7 mi*
🔥 View (All) - over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles
Nearby Area Water
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Fauna  Nearby
Flora  Nearby
Meteorology  Nearby
Named place  Nearby
Culture  Nearby
The ringing never ends
by fricknaley

 Likely In-Season!
Phoneline Trail #27 in Sabino Canyon is as straightforward as it gets. This trail follows the tram road's southern side up into and along Sabino Canyon, albeit several hundred feet above it. It's a nice distance on an easy to follow trail with great views up into Sabino Canyon all along the way. This trail is also popular with trail runners as it is reasonably level after the initial elevation changes at either end.

To reach the beginning of the Phoneline Trail, you start 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, until it reaches a paved road section. 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 Phoneline trail leaves the road (at a small sign announcing its departure) 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 leads gently up the ridge on its way into Sabino Canyon. Turn left here and formally begin your journey.

Initially, the trail gains elevation and heads towards the western flank of Blackett's Ridge. After a little over one-half a mile, a sign marks the beginning of the Blackett's Ridge trail to your right. The Phoneline continues onward to skirt the ridge's western edge, then eventually curves north, then east around it to start its northeastern trek into Sabino Canyon.

As you round the bend, great views up into Sabino and the Catalina high country will be your guide the rest of the way. You can also see the tram road climbing up the canyon as well. You are now hundreds of feet above it, and you can see little specks (people) cruising along the path. Thimble peak and Blackett's Ridge are up and to your right. As you pass these, new peaks guide you further into the canyon. The going is easy. Multiple large rock outcroppings on your left along the way provide good sites to have lunch. As you finally reach the end of the line, the trail starts switchbacking down. You can see the circular turnaround beneath you for the trams. Switchbacking down, the Phoneline meets up with Sabino Canyon trails (which continue up the canyon). Continue downward to the road. Enjoy lovely views, then reclimb and begin your trip back. Alternatively, for those inclined, you could always catch the tram back to the visitor center. If you choose to walk to and from the formal beginning of the Phoneline Trail, plan on adding about 2 miles to your total trip length, bringing the whole hike to about 11 miles or so.

This is by no means a secluded hike, but it's a pleasant stroll along the upper walls of Sabino Canyon nonetheless. It's also kind of neat to tower hundreds of feet above the walkers and trams patrolling the roadway. As a side note, this trail is popular in Tucson for runners. If you encounter any, be courteous and give them the right of passage.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2006-01-23 fricknaley
  • 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 overview & permits.
2022 - 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.

2022 Catalina State Park
Per vehicle (1-4 Adults): $7.00
Individual/bicycle: $3.00

2022 Sabino Canyon Tram is $15 extra. [ website ]

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

Paved - Car Okay

To Sabino Canyon Recreation Trailhead
From the intersection of Tanque Verde and Grant/Kolb Rd head northeast on Tanque Verde. Turn left at the second light on Sabino Canyon Rd. Go about 8 miles up Sabino Canyon Rd and you come to a four way stop with Sunrise. Go straight through the intersection and take the next right into the parking lot of Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. Signs marking the way start on North Kolb road.

This is the universal directions to Sabino Canyon Recreation Center. Hikes take off from all directions and some you might need to hike another trail to get to the start of your hike. Reference the hike summary for details.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 117 mi - about 1 hour 57 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 14.1 mi - about 30 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 261 mi - about 4 hours 1 min

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