Pima Canyon is a major canyon located in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness in the Santa Catalina Mountains in northwest Tucson. The trail is part of the Coronado National Forest and is managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
Because Pima Canyon provides a secluded, peaceful nature experience and breathtaking views without being far from the city, it's a very popular hiking spot.
Drive north on Oracle Road. Turn east on Magee Road and drive to the parking area and trailhead at road’s end.
Dawn to Dusk
Admission is free.
The Pima Canyon trailhead has a large 50-spot parking lot with a drinking fountain, signs, and a memorial to a hiker.
The lower section of the trail (by far - the most popular option) runs from the trailhead to the lower dam for a one-way distance of 3.2 miles. Elevation starts at 2900 feet and rises to 3750 feet for a gorgeous view of the city below.
The distance from the dam to Pima Spring is another 2 miles. The trail gets steeper and more difficult in this stretch.
From Pima Spring to Mount Kimball, the trail is very steep and hard to follow. The hike from the trailhead to Pima Saddle and back is said to take eight or more hours.
Hiking times are subject to the hiker's ability.
As such, the below times are approximate.
Neither mountain bikes nor motorized bikes are permitted.
Occasionally, but not year-round. On our hike in late February, there was a lovely lunch spot with a babbling creek about 1.5 miles in.
Dress for the weather.
Bring plenty of water, snacks or lunch, and a camera or phone.
No. If nature calls, you'll have to answer in nature. ;)
Be sure to go early on the weekend because the parking lot fills up early. You will probably see a lot of people on the trail unless you go very early or on a weekday.
October thru April are ideal because the temperatures tend to be more moderate than in the summer months. That said, summer visits can also be fun if you watch the weather and plan your visit accordingly.
Saguaro cacti, rattlesnakes, javelinas, jackrabbits, birds, bighorn sheep
Pima Canyon's trail is in the Sonoran Big Horn Sheep lambing season closure area. Between January 1 and April 30, hikers are restricted to no more than 400 feet off of any “system trail.” During this time of year, group size limitations are 15 for day use and 6 for overnight.
Yes. Food is permitted and there are several enjoyable spots to stop for lunch. As with all parks, hiking trails, and state/national reserves, be sure to stow away all your trash in your bag or pocket until it can be properly disposed of.
Try one of these restaurants, which are within a 5-mile radius of Pima Canyon:
All ages! We recently went with a group of four adults and seven children (ages 3 months to 11 years old).
No. The trail is somewhat narrow and rocky. A baby carrier or backpack would be a much better option.
Dogs are prohibited in Pima Canyon because bighorn sheep see them as predators and are frightened by them.
Sure...but your guests (and the bridal party!) will have to hike! ;)