- Highway 82 to Gardner Canyon Road
- 27.2 miles
Southern Access Point: Casa Blanca Canyon Trailhead
- GPS Coordinates: 31°36’1.23″N, 110°43’26.83″W
From the north, follow Highway 82 toward the town of Patagonia. Four miles north of town, turn right/west on Casa Blanca Canyon Road. Follow this dirt road west for 1/4-mile and look for the trailhead on your left/south. Park here, walk through the AZT gate, and follow the Connector Trail for 1/3-mile to locate the Arizona Trail. There is no parking or access along Highway 82; instead please use the Casa Blanca Canyon Trailhead nearby.
Northern Access Point: Gardner Canyon Road
- GPS Coordinates: 31.71873° N, 110.75704° W
From Sonoita, follow AZ 83 north 4 miles and turn left (west) onto Gardner Canyon Road (FR 92). Avoid side roads. You’ll reach the Gardner Trailhead (not to be confused with Gardner Canyon Trail, which is farther west) 5.5 miles from the highway on the right side of the road. There is a large parking area here.
Trail Route Description
Passage 4 begins with a long ascent into the Santa Rita Mountains, a rugged sky island range with steep slopes and granite peaks. This section features incredible biodiversity and is home to rare birds and some plants that occur nowhere else outside of Mexico. Mount Wrightson, the high point of the Santa Rita Mountains, rises to an elevation of 9,453 feet and has a distinctive pyramid peak that can be seen throughout much of this section. Trail users may follow connector trails on the Coronado National Forest to reach this iconic summit.
Starting from the Casa Blanca Canyon Trailhead, this section begins in a grassland ecosystem and climbs through oak savannah to reach the sweet smelling oak-pine forest on the edge of the Mount Wrightson Wilderness. Early in spring, it is not uncommon for snow to remain on the higher peaks and hillsides of this wilderness.
This passage features some of the most recently built miles of the AZT. After decades of sharing alignment with dirt roads north of the town of Patagonia, the Temporal Gulch Reroute Project improves safety for trail users and provides a National Scenic Trail experience through construction of 32 miles of trail. Construction began in Spring of 2020 and is anticipated to be finished by Summer of 2023. Consult information at trailheads and along the trail to follow the most scenic route, as new segments are opened as soon as they are finished.
- Fall, Winter and Spring
- Current weather forecast
Water is intermittent and scarce. Plan to bring your own water. Check the online Arizona Trail Water Report for current information at https://aztrail.org/explore/water-sources/.
- The southern portion of this passage experiences extreme overgrowth in the summertime, and trail work is not permitted before October 1 due to threatened & endangered species that live within the area. Expect difficult route finding, wear long protective layers, and be prepared for extreme conditions if you’re on the trail in the summer and early autumn months.
- WARNING: If you choose to hike or ride on Harshaw Road, beware of mining truck traffic. Use extreme caution when driving on Harshaw Road. Hikers and mountain bikers should travel as far off the roadway as possible, and equestrians should consider avoiding this area entirely.
- All water along this passage should be purified prior to use.
- Mountain bikes are prohibited in the Mt. Wrightson Wilderness.
- Map of Passage 4
- USGS Topographic Maps: Patagonia, Mount Hughes and Mount Wrightson.
- Coronado National Forest map.
- BLM Information Center maps.
For more information
- The Passage Steward
- Coronado National Forest, Nogales Ranger District, 303 Old Tucson Rd., Nogales, AZ 85621 (520) 281-2296
- BLM Information Center (602) 417-9300.