Friday, September 19, 2008
HUGH NORRIS TRAIL to WASSON PEAK
HUGH NORRIS TRAIL to WASSON PEAK Tucson Mountains, Saguaro National Park West Hiking the Hugh Norris Trail is one of easiest ways to attain a mountain summit in the state of Arizona. Even though the 9.8-mile-long, out-and-back trail climbs a whopping 2,177 feet, the ascent is so gradual, it seems to glide up the many switchbacks to the 4,687-foot summit of Wasson Peak, the high point of the Tucson Mountain range. An elaborately engineered grade as well as stone stairs built into the trail accelerate hikers uphill with minimal effort. Amazing forests of saguaro cacti define the lower portion of the trail. Dense concentrations of century-old giants as well as newborn sprouts thrive in the fragile ecosystem but increasing elevation soon takes its toll and the thorny treasures dwindle until, on the summit, there are none. LENGTH: 9.8 miles round trip ELEVATION GAIN: 2,117 feet RATING: moderate GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, take I-10 south to the Speedway Blvd. exit in Tucson and turn right. Continue on Speedway Blvd., which will turn into Gates Pass Road, for nearly 12 miles to Kinney Road. Turn right onto Kinney Road and follow the signs to Saguaro National Park. Once inside the park, continue past the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum and the Red Hills Visitor Center. Turn right onto Hohokam Road and drive about a mile to the Hugh Norris Trailhead on the right, which is just past the Sus picnic area.