This week I decided to hike up into the Rincon mountains on the what looks like the shortest route possible: Miller Creek Trail. The trail starts on the east side of the Rincons, so it takes longer to drive to the trailhead, including a good ways on a dirt road, but it’s well worth the drive. I just hiked the 4.4 miles up to the saddle that lies between Rincon peak (on the south) and Mica mountain (on the north). You can continue on well past that, but for a morning hike, that’s all I had time for. The hike takes you from about 4200 feet in the grasslands, and climbs 2000 feet into the Pine-Oak forest where I saw plenty of bear scat, but I still have not seen a single bear.
As remote as this trail is, there were a number of other hikers on the trail and so it was well worn and pretty easy to follow. The most amazing part of this hike is just how different things look on that side of the Rincons. It is not at all like looking out over the city of Tucson, as most other trails do. On that side it is quite empty and pristine looking (except for one main ranch). And after looking for years at the west side of the mountains, it’s amazing how different they look from the east side.
Here’s my Google Earth video of the hike (full GPX file available here):
And here’s the Google Earth elevation profile of the hike:
And this is from a map I found here:
And check out the iPhone video I made:
Finally, here are the photos I took with my iPhone, starting with a photo of the trailhead and the sign posted there:
Next is the walk through the grasslands:
I started my hike in the early morning and got to see the sun rise:
Once you get up a bit higher, you can see just how wide and green the Miller Creek valley is: