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Incinerator Ridge to Leopold Point
12 Photosets

mini location map2011-03-23
8 by photographer avatarkbunny
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Incinerator Ridge to Leopold PointTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 23 2011
Hiking1.30 Miles 300 AEG
Hiking1.30 Miles
300 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This delightful high-altitude hike was the perfect way to cap off our day on Mt. Lemmon. It encompasses a bit of everything the mountain has to offer: fragrant pine forest, eerie burn zones, dramatic rock formations, and of course, spectacular vistas in almost every direction (would be a complete 360 view except that Mt. Bigelow's summit blocks sightlines to the nw - but it hardly matters as it is at your back on the way out). There is just enough climbing to break a sweat (for me anyway), but on the whole it is my kind of trail - maximum payoff for minimal effort. The endless views of surrounding peaks and valleys, the desert floor beyond them, and about a half dozen other ranges in the distance would be well worth a much longer and more challenging trail.

The hike starts out along a ridge that is part forest, part burn zone, then takes a rocky descent into a little forested saddle, where for a moment you can imagine you are deep in the woods rather than up on an exposed ridge. Then you climb back up to the boulder-strewn knob that is Leopold Point. This is the only place where route-finding gets a little tricky. The trail seems to end where it deposits you on the left (east) side of the boulders. Don't give up! Rather, make your way through the boulder pile to your right - you will find that the trail continues on the other (west) side. The extra 100 feet or so of trail leads you to the true summit, where you can perch on the rocks and look down on Green Mountain with its dramatic rock wall, the rolling Catalina foothills, the Rincons beyond them, and the Santa Ritas, Pinalenos, and other several other ranges I couldn't name in the distance.

This area also appears to be popular for camping (there are a few established sites near the trailhead), and one could easily imagine the spectacular sunrise you could experience from the Point. I'd love to return in warmer weather and try sleeping there, maybe exploring the Knagge trail which breaks off to the east early in the hike.

A word about Incinerator Ridge Road (which was open) - it has a few spots that are *not* for the timid! Maybe it just hasn't been maintained in a while, but I couldn't imagine doing it in a low-clearance vehicle.
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