Location

  • Gordon Hirabayashi Campground to Marshall Gulch Trailhead

Length

  • 18.5 miles

Southern Access Point: Gordon Hirabayashi Campground

Access

Follow Tanque Verde Road east from Tucson and turn left (north) on the Catalina Highway. Drive about 9 miles and pass Molino Basin Campground. Continue 1.7 miles beyond the campground and take the left (west) turn to Gordon Hirabayashi Campground. Drive 0.3 miles to a parking area. Follow a trail out of the south end of the parking lot for 40 yards to reach a “T” intersection with the AZT.


Northern Trailhead: Marshall Gulch Trailhead

Access

Take Catalina Highway into the Santa Catalina Mountains. Near the top of the mountain range, bear left to the community of Summerhaven. Continue 1.5 miles south to the end of the road at the Marshall Gulch Trailhead. The trailhead is on the west side of the parking area.


Trail Route Description

From the Gordon Hirabayashi Trailhead the trail heads west on a dirt road, becomes a trail then reaches the wilderness boundary. Users are reminded that FS sign standards call for minimal signs in designated Wilderness, so they should bring their own navigation aids-map, GPS, etc. Now on the Sycamore Reservoir Trail (#39), the route passes the reservoir and continues along Sycamore Canyon. It crosses the canyon and then drops down to and follows the East Fork of Sabino Canyon. The trail crosses Box Camp Canyon and then begins the long uphill along the West Fork of Sabino Canyon. It passes Hutch’s Pool and the Cathedral Rock Trail (#26) and then reaches Romero Pass. From here the trail works its way northeast up to the junction with the Wilderness of Rocks Trail (#44). It follows this trail to the east and then northeast until it reaches the Marshall Gulch Trail (#3). From here the route goes east/southeast to the Marshall Gulch Trailhead on FR 10.


Difficulty

  • Moderate to Difficult

Season(s)

All year. Snow can be present at higher elevations after winter storms and lower elevations can be quite warm in summer


Water

Water can sometimes be found at Sycamore Reservoir and usually at Hutch’s Pool.


Notes/Warnings

  • All water along this passage should be purified prior to use.
  • There is a large, deep swimming hole on this passage at Hutch’s Pool.

Resources

  • USGS Topographic Maps: Agua Caliente Hill, Sabino Canyon and Mount Lemmon.
  • Coronado National Forest map.
  • BLM Information Center maps.

For more information


Current Passage Info

Hiker who departed from Oracle area found dead

Tucson Local Media (Jun 29, 2021) by Ireland Stevenson A hiker was found dead after embarking on the Arizona Trail near Oro Valley, the Pima County Sheriff’s Office reported last week.  71-year-old John “Jack” Menard started his hike on June 17. His hike itinerary included starting from American Flag Ranch in Oracle to the Gordon Hirabayashi Campground (about 18 miles south of Mount Lemmon), where he planned to be picked up on June 20.  Menard never showed up to the meeting location. He was then declared missing, so search and rescue deputies were dispatched along with assistance from Southern Arizona Rescue Association.  Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue, Cochise County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue, Pima County Sheriff’s Department Air Unit, Pima Regional resources, Park Enforcement Search & Rescue, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection were all utilized in the extensive three-day search for Menard.  Menard was located deceased, approximately three miles northwest of the Gordon Hirabayashi Camp ground. “The Pima County Sheriff’s Department extends our deepest sympathies to the Menard family on the loss of their loved one,” PCSD officials said in a news release.  The cause of death was not immediately...
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9 months after Bighorn Fire, wilderness trail hazards, closures remain

Arizona Daily Star (April 23, 2021) by Cindy Coffer Chojnacky Hikers flock to the rugged Santa Catalina mountains north of Tucson, but many trails are still off limits in the wake of last year’s Bighorn Fire. Most trails remain closed within the burn scar of the 119,987-acre Bighorn Fire, which raged from June 5 through July 23. Some trails are within Pusch Ridge Wilderness on the southwest flank of the mountains, and others are north or east of the wilderness. The Arizona Trail through the heart of the wilderness was reopened March 2, “just in time for thru-hiking season,” reported the Arizona Trail Association website. Most hike the 800-mile trail from Mexico to Utah in spring or fall. Nearly two dozen other trails, however, remain closed, though hikers were observed using at least one — Mount Lemmon Trail — on a recent visit. Many will stay closed through at least Oct. 1, said Santa Catalina District Ranger Charles Woodard. “After fire, it takes three to five years for an area to stabilize,” he said. “We need to monitor impacts of any heavy rain on the decomposed granitic soils.” The dry winter with one storm in January and light mountain rain...
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Arizona Trail Through Santa Catalina Mountains Reopens After 10-Month Fire Closure

Arizona Trail Through Santa Catalina Mountains Reopens After 10-Month Fire Closure

Today, the Coronado National Forest rescinded the Fire Closure Order for the portion of the Arizona National Scenic Trail that has been in place since the Bighorn Fire started in June, 2020. Thanks to Arizona Trail Association staff, stewards and volunteers, as well as the crews at Arizona Conservation Corps and staff from the Santa Catalina Ranger District, the AZT is now open through the Pusch Ridge Wilderness (Passage 11)...just in time for thru-hiking season!
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More Trails Reopened on Mt. Lemmon (Santa Catalina Mountains)

The Coronado National Forest has updated the Bighorn Fire Closure Order to include the reopening of trails impacted by the Bighorn Fire. Most trails in the Santa Catalina Mountains remain closed, including the majority of the front range trails close to Tucson. Passage 10, 11, and 12 of the Arizona National Scenic Trail have been reopened. Passage 11b - Pusch Ridge Wilderness Bypass is not yet entirely open due to some extreme hazards and potential for continued degradation due to flash flooding. The ATA, along with the Passage Stewards, conservation Crews, other user groups, and the forest service are working to evaluate, stabilize, and improve the tread for preservation, safety, and sustainability of the route where it follows Green Mountain Trail between Bear Saddle and San Pedro Vista. Connectivity between trails throughtou the Santa Catalina Ranger District is still severely limited since most of the mountain was impacted by the Bighorn Fire, which scorched a total of 119,978 acres. Due to the possibility of severe flash floods, all trails on the mountain should be avoided if rain is in the forecast. The Arizona Trail Association has conducted on-the-ground trail conditions assessments, but the possibility of falling trees, rolling rocks, unstable...
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Thinking of Thru-Hiking or Thru-Riding the Arizona Trail This Year?

Thinking of Thru-Hiking or Thru-Riding the Arizona Trail This Year?

Summertime is when hundreds of hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians are planning the logistics of a long-distance trip on the Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT). Especially since many individuals canceled their springtime AZT adventures due to COVID-19, the Arizona Trail Association (ATA) has been anticipating the busiest autumn in history. However, Arizona’s intense wildfire season – with three major wildfires burning more than 100 miles of the AZT – and a recent spike in Arizona’s COVID-19 cases has led the ATA to discourage thru-hiking and thru-riding this year. We know how disappointing this is going to be for so many people. A southbound hike or ride from Utah to Mexico along the AZT is the adventure of a lifetime, and normally we would be encouraging everyone to use these uncertain times to hit the trail. But widespread trail closures with no safe or reasonable detours combined with Arizona becoming a global hot spot for the novel coronavirus has created an unsafe situation for “thrus” in 2020. In southern Arizona, the Bighorn Fire burned 120,000 acres on the Coronado National Forest, including AZT Passages 10, 11 and 12 through the Santa Catalina Mountains, as well as the Pusch Ridge Wilderness Bypass....
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Bighorn Fire Threatening Mt. Lemmon Residents

Tucson Local Media (June 14, 2020) by Jim Nintzel As hotshot crews and aircraft continue to battle the Bighorn Fire in the Santa Catalina Mountains, residents of Mount Lemmon, including the community of Summerhaven, have been warned to be prepared to evacuate. The Pima County Sheriff's Department announced that Mount Lemmon residents should remain "set" to evacuate under the Ready, Set, Go system. The fire has grown to 11,500 acres since it was ignited by lightning on Friday, June 5, according to an incident report. Catalina State Park has been closed and firefighters have established a restricted area bounded along the Coronado National Forest boundary south and east to the northeast corner of the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, northeast along the Forest boundary to its northeastern terminus at Sabino Creek, Sabino Creek north to the Arizona Trail, the Arizona Trail northwest to the junction with Romero Trail, and the Romero Trail northwest to Catalina State Park A total of 506 fire personnel and multiple aircraft are fighting the Bighorn Fire. To read the rest of the article, click here.
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No Equestrians on Northern End

The northern end of this passage should not be used by equestrians. It is narrow, steep and rocky in places. The ATA strongly suggests using the Pusch Ridge Wilderness Bypass instead.
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Flickr Photos

Photos from the Arizona Trail Association’s Flickr galleries, for this specific passage. View the entire Flickr account.

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