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.
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.
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.
The Coronado National Forest is in the process of cleaning up an abandoned mine between Temporal Canyon Trailhead and Walker Basin Trailhead north of Patagonia. From November 30 – December 20, 2022, a portion of the Arizona National Scenic Trail is closed to protect public safety. We have established a safe and scenic detour utilizing recently built trail and Casa Blanca Canyon Road. Click here for a map. If you are traveling SOUTHBOUND: Instead of continuing west toward Tunnel Spring Trailhead through the Mt. Wrightson Wilderness, please follow the new segment of the AZT south of Gardner Canyon Road to continue your southbound adventure. This is at mile 76.2 using the FarOut App. Once you arrive at the Casa Blanca Canyon Trailhead, follow the connector trail a short distance to the southwest, then turn left/east on the AZT at mile 51.9. If you are traveling NORTHBOUND: Instead of continuing west on the AZT at mile 51.9, head northeast on the connector trail to the Casa Blanca Canyon Trailhead. From here, follow Casa Blanca Canyon Road and the recently constructed trail segment to continue northbound toward Gardner Canyon Road. Rejoin the AZT at mile 76.2/ This temporary detour is on the FarOut App...
September 27, 2022 - We are so proud of the new trail that has been built between Red Bank Well and Highway 82! However, monsoon rains have led to extreme overgrowth that make the trail very challenging to follow. Since trail work is not permitted before October 1 due to threatened & endangered species that live within the area, you should expect difficult route finding, always wear long protective layers, and be prepared for extreme conditions if you're on the trail in the summer and early autumn months. Staff, volunteers and conservation corps will be out there soon to beat back the brush. But if you get out there before they do...good luck.
Your support is needed to help us reach our fundraising goal this Spring to support construction of the Temporal Gulch Reroute Project. Please DONATE securely online today! Our goal is to raise enough money between March 22 - April 3 to sustain the next phase of trail construction. This project will remove the AZT from 17 miles of paved and dirt roads near the town of Patagonia with 32 miles of sustainable singletrack. This improvement will make the Arizona Trail safer, more scenic, and will be our largest trail construction project in recent history. Whether you hike, run, pedal or ride, we can't wait for you to experience the AZT through the Casa Blanca Canyons with Mt. Wrightson towering in the background! Please donate today and encourage your trail loving friends to do the same. Donors giving $25 or more will receive a limited-edition sticker in the mail as a small token of thanks.
Trail construction on the 32-mile Temporal Gulch Reroute Project has begun! A crew of four American Conservation Experience trail professionals and a mini-excavator operator – Rob Bauer of Bauer Built Trails – have been hard at work building singletrack in the Canelo Hills. Watch this 30-second time-lapse video for a snapshot of what they’re up to. Once completed, this project will replace paved and dirt roads with sublime trail. Want to help? Donations are the best way to ensure this project keeps moving forward, and we’ll be doing outreach for volunteer labor later this year.
Arizona Daily Star (March 6, 2020) by Gloria Knott Two people were bitten by animals in separate incidents in Southern Arizona yesterday, wildlife officials say. A fox bit a person on the ankle in Sabino Canyon on Thursday, according to Arizona Game and Fish Department spokesman Mark Hart. In another incident, a skunk bit a man in the face while he was asleep at a campground near the Arizona Trail in the Santa Rita Mountains. Both incidents happened within an hour of each other, Hart said. In both incidents, the bite victims killed the animals after feeling that the animals' behaviors were abnormal. The animals are being tested for rabies. Both bite victims are getting treated for possible rabies. Anyone needing Game and Fish assistance should call 623-236-7201.