This week I hiked around and about Gates Pass taking pictures and video. It wasn’t so much a hike as it proved too much to climb all the way to the top of Bushmaster Peak while carrying my tripod and larger DSLR camera, but it was lovely nonetheless. There are many trails running around the area as many people visit there, but none are official so that as you go further up the mountain, the climb gets decidedly precarious in places. More to the point, you need both hands free to climb up and over rocks in places. Here’s the video I made:
And here are the photos I took, starting with the sun rising on Bushmaster mountain itself:
This weekend, I joined up with fellow Tucson hiker Charles Miles (see his blog here), and we hiked a 11.3 mile loop in the Tortalita mountain on the Northwest side of Tucson. The trailhead, which includes restrooms and maps, is just to the south of the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain resort. Your smartphone can get you right there if you enter this address: 14810 N Secret Springs Dr, Marana, AZ 85658
This is a great time of the year to hike these trails as they can get quite hot in the summer months. The highest point on the loop trail was just 1300 feet above the trailhead, but there were quite a few ups and downs bringing the total climb to 3040 feet. These mountains may look small in Google Earth but they cover a surprising amount of land as you will discover once you hike around them.
The loop we went on starts with the Wild Burro trail that leads from the trailhead up the wash and past the resort. Then you swing to the left up the hill on the Upper Javelina trail which takes you to the Wild Mustang trail. You stay on that for quite a ways until the trail comes back down to the central wash and joins up again with the Wild Burro trail. But this is a short section that simply connects you to the Alamo Springs trail that heads back in the direction of the resort and returns once again to the central wash and Wild Burro trail and then back to the trailhead.
Here is the Google Earth video of the hike (full GPX file available here):
And this is the elevation profile from Google Earth:
Here’s a map of the trails in the Tortalita mountains with the loop Charles and I hiked outlined. I found the map here, and more maps can be found here.
And here is the video I made of our hike using my Canon PowerShot 330 HS:
And here are the photos from the hike: