April 23, 2017

12 Best Spring Hikes around Tucson, AZ

Spring is a splendid time of year. The weather is warming, the flowers are blooming, and creatures everywhere are getting twitterpated.

We've already done a whole post about the best wildflower hikes in Tucson, but there are plenty of other amazing trails that you should consider conquering before the temperatures get too high.

Although these hikes may not be to be places to witness the wildflower bloom, there is plenty of other natural beauty to be seen on these trails in the form of the local fauna, like the magnificently colored Collared Lizard.

Collared Lizard
Spring is the best time of year to spot all kinds of Sonoran Desert critters, like Gambel's Quail and Gila Monsters, as well as the aforementioned Collared Lizard because they are out and about looking for food and mates after a cold winter.

Although the thermometer hasn't usually maxed out in the springtime in Tucson, it can still get pretty toasty outside. For that reason, the main thing that all of these hikes have in common is a way to stay cool. Whether through shade, elevation, water, or a combination of all three, these hikes are your best bets to enjoy the outdoors around Tucson as the transition towards summer gets underway.

12. Phoneline - Level 3

Phoneline Trail, Sabino Canyon Recreation Area
Traversing along the East wall of Sabino Canyon, the Phoneline Trail provides plenty of shade in the morning hours before the Sun rises above Blackett's Ridge. You can either hike to the big flat rock part way up the canyon for a nice picnic spot, or go all of the way to the end of the trail for a level 5 hike where you'll find several rocky towers right in the middle of the canyon.

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March 17, 2017

11 Best Wildflower Hikes around Tucson, Arizona

Wildflower Sunset

March is the month for wildflowers in the Sonoran Desert. 

...At least that's how it usually works out. Predicting exactly when the big bloom will occur is almost impossible since it depends on a number of different factors, such as the rains from the previous Winter and Summer, the temperature and how quickly it rises, and even the amount of wind sweeping across the desert floor. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has a great page that details the difficulty of predicting a wildflower bloom.

When the colors do start appearing, you had better hit the trail quickly, because the peak season typically only lasts for about two weeks. It can begin as early as mid-February and go as late as April, but March tends to be the best time to catch the bloom. You can use resources like DesertUSA's Wildflower Reports page to see up to date reports from other hikers showing where and when flowers are blooming to help you time your trek through the colorful desert.

Once you've figured out when to go for a hike, the next question to answer is where to go. As a general rule, the areas that tend to have the best displays will have sparse vegetation and soft, as opposed to rocky, soil. Since there aren't many places around the Old Pueblo that match that description, finding the ideal trail can be difficult. We want to help point you in the right direction, so here are our picks for best hikes for finding wildflowers around Tucson:

February 28, 2017

17 Best Dog Friendly Hikes around Tucson, Arizona

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Dogs are "man's best friend." They're loyal, they're affectionate, and they make for excellent hiking companions.

Unfortunately, not every trail is ideal for the both of you. Some are just too rough for them and some don't allow them to begin with. We recently posted a series of tips on how to hike with dogs that can help make hitting the trail with your four legged friend a good experience for you and Fido. We've also written up an overview where you can and can't hike with dogs around Tucson.

Even though large areas around the Old Pueblo are off limits to dogs, there are still tons of trails to choose from. Of course, you can use the dog friendly filter to help narrow your search in Trailvoyant's "Find a hike" tool, but we thought it might be helpful to have a reliable list of the best hikes around Tucson where you and your pooch can enjoy the wilderness together. Here it is:

17. Palisades - Level 4

Starting behind the Palisades Ranger Station in between mileposts 19 and 20 on the Catalina Highway, this hike begins in the pines and gradually descends into the high desert grasslands, staying well above the harsh rocky desert trails down below. Along the way, you'll pass a small spring and a seasonal waterfall before ending up at a spectacular vista overlooking the front range of the Catalinas and city of Tucson beyond.

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February 19, 2017

Tips for Hiking with Dogs: Part 3 - What to Watch for

We've shown you how to prepare for a hike with your dog and what to bring with you in parts 1 & 2 of this 3 part series. Now it's time to wrap things up with our tips for what to watch for while on the trail with your best friend.

Here's Part 3:

February 15, 2017

Tips for Hiking with Dogs - Part 2: What to Bring

How long does it take you to throw a pack together for a hike? If you're anything like me, it always takes longer than you expect.

I want to be prepared for whatever situation I might find myself in out there, so in addition to water and snacks, I think about what kind of extra layers I might need, is my gps charged, do I have a way to start a fire if things get really bad, etc.

When you take on the responsibility of bringing your best friend on the trail, you'll want to consider their needs out there as well, and that can warrant putting together a different packing list altogether.

In our first post on How to Prepare for a hike with a dog, we addressed the things you'll want to do well in advance to ensure Fido has a good hike. In this post, we'll be running through the next 14 of our 29 tips for hiking with dogs, which focus on what things you should consider bringing along.
Here's Part 2: