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King Canyon - Peak 4236 Loop, AZ

no permit
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Guide 7 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson W
4.3 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 6.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,900 feet
Elevation Gain 1,335 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13.18
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
8  2009-03-08 fricknaley
16  2007-02-18 fricknaley
Author fricknaley
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 383
Photos 3,724
Trips 2,745 map ( 18,154 miles )
Age 44 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Mar → 7 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:12am - 6:23pm
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Little of this, little of that
by fricknaley

Here is a nice multiloop that can be done in the Tucson mountains. It also includes a short off-trail scramble to bag the twin-topped Peak 4236 just south of Wasson Peak. There are also some petroglyphs along the way.

Take off from the Kings Canyon trailhead, well known here in Tucson. Head along and through the gate marking the Park boundary. Travel along the old road heading towards the mountains at a gradual elevation gain. In about 0.9 miles the trail breaks off to the left towards the Mam-A-Gah picnic area. Continue straight up the wash here. The wash is wide and sandy. It climbs gradually. Shortly, you will see where the Kings Canyon trail crosses over the wash, with a small trail sign in the wash. Here head right and go further up the wash and away from the trail, which quickly climbs back up the ridge to your left.

Keep climbing up the wash of Kings Canyon and in a total of about 1.3 miles from the trailhead an informal, unmarked trail climbs out of the wash to your right. Take this trail out of the wash and head up into the mountains. This old trail is not marked, named or noted on the park maps but it is nice and easy to follow nontheless. If you've been near the Sweetwater saddle in the Tucson Mountains, no doubt you have seen it sweeping out south. This is a nice gradual climb up the mountain south of Wasson. It curves around and ultimately dumps you out at the Sweetwater Saddle at about a total of 3 miles from the trailhead.

From the saddle, go off route and scramble up the south ridge to your left. There is no trail but it is easy to see where you want to go. Make your way around (or through if you are me) the various patches of prickly pear and shindaggers out to get you. Please be kind and don't step on the little saguaro and hedgehogs here and there, though. The more near summit is the higher of the two topping the bidomed mountain. It is the true peak 4236 and you reach it in about 0.3-0.4 miles. There is a small cairn and summit log on top. I was the first to sign it in over a year.

From there you can see the other summit across a small saddle. Bushwack you're way over to this one (about 4204 or so) and take in the nice views of Gates Pass. This is less than 0.2 miles from the first peak. I said "hello" to the deer up on the saddle, then made my way back to the Sweetwater saddle.

From the saddle head down the marked and well-maintaned Kings Canyon trail. The sign at the saddle indicates the trail by noting it's the route to the Mam-A-Gah picnic area. Criuse down this well known trail and bottom out in the wash where you started. You can take the wash all the way down, instead of hooking back up with the Kings Canyon trail. I took the wash to the end. There are some petroglyphs up to your right about half way down the wash to look for. A small trail breaks left out of the wash just before the main road and takes you up to the parking lot. Have fun and enjoy this loop out to a seldom visited summit next to the famous Wasson Peak.

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Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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2007-02-18 fricknaley
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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 Triplog Reviews
King Canyon - Peak 4236 Loop
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Tucson Mountains Tuesday Two-fer Mark Two
I have not been up Wasson in a few months and I had been eyeing this one the last time I had, albeit in February...I saw BobP hit up quite a few peaks in Utah last week, so I had to try and keep up with a good dose of low desert fun. :D Got to the trailhead a bit before 3 for the start. Did Peak 4236 basically just like the description, up King's Canyon to the no-name trail, up that to just about the Sweetwater Saddle. I took off up a drainage to the peak, a little bit of loose scree, but better than some of my recent off-trial escapades. Sad to say, the summit log seems to have disappeared, I spent a few minutes searching around to no avail. Back down to the trail, and then over onto King's Canyon again. The whole way down I kept thinking, Brown Mountain is right the time I got back to the van I had decided to get in a second peak. Made the quick drive down to the Juan Santa Cruz picnic area and started off again. I popped a couple Nuun tablets in my cup for a pickup, boy was I glad I did. I drank it down quick at the start of the trail, and within about 5 minutes I had an almost Popeye-spinach interaction, I felt a huge burst of energy! Managed to make it to the top without a stop, took a quick look around and then back to the van. Saw a coyote on the road on my way out of the picnic area. Hit up the DQ in Casa Grande on the way home for a tasty chocolate dip cone. Good times!
King Canyon - Peak 4236 Loop
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Went out on this little favorite local desert loop. Went opposite this time, up Kings to Sweetwater Saddle then scrambled up to 4236 to sign the log directly underneath my name from 2 years ago (not a lot of traffic up here) then back down the wonderful Trail With No Name. The most flowers are along the north slopes.
King Canyon - Peak 4236 Loop
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Out early today for a quick hike. The early morning saw chilly temps, much wind and some very wild skies of blue mixed with threatening clouds. In other words, it was pretty weird out. Very cool though.

This little loop has a bit of everything, if you don't have all day.

Overall, it was a unique morning and I had quite a good time. :wink:

Permit $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
In Tucson from I-10 take Speedway west. This turns into Gates Pass Road. Turn right on Kinney Road and 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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