Blackett’s Ridge Trail from Bear Canyon
Blackett's Ridge Trail from Bear Canyon is an awesome adventure. This 10.5 km difficult trail climbs up Saddleback in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness on the northeast edge of Tucson. This hike is excellent for its ease of access from the city and for its diverse, beautiful terrain. The city views and desert views are both excellent, and the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is always a treat.
This ridge can reach scorching temperatures in the middle of the day. Start your hike early, bring plenty of water, and avoid hiking this route in the summertime if at all possible. Note that there are occasional closures on this route for bighorn sheep lambing season.
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Route Description for Blackett’s Ridge Trail from Bear Canyon
Blackett's Ridge Trail from Bear Canyon is one of the most beautiful hikes in the Tucson area. It’s conveniently accessible from the northeastern edge of the city near the Pusch Ridge Wilderness. The scenery is excellent, the trail is adventurous and challenging, and it doesn’t usually get too busy on this route.
This route travels along Blackett’s Ridge to the top of Saddleback, where tall saguaros and big prickly pears line your path. This area is known for its diversity of bird species, so birders and casual enthusiasts alike will want to keep their eyes on the sky.
This route can get very hot during the heat of the day, so start your hike early. Also, bring more water than you think you might need and wear sunscreen and a hat as you hike. We generally recommend avoiding hiking around Tucson in the summer months as it presents a risk of heatstroke.
This area doesn’t allow dogs, so leave your pups at home.
Take North Bear Canyon Access Trail across the creek and to the trail split. Stay left here. You’ll hike near the Sabino Canyon area. Take a right onto the Phoneline Trail. Where the small bathroom is, take another right. The trail up the ridge forks off to the right from the Phoneline Trail about 1.0 km in.
The middle of the route gains lots of elevation in a short distance. It’ll be a tiring ascent, but hopefully you’ve chosen a cooler day to hike. Make your way along the ridge, taking breaks as needed to appreciate the canyons on either side of you, with Sabino Canyon to your left and Bear Canyon to your right.
There are a couple of false summits, but the route ends at the peak of Saddleback where the metal sign indicating “End of Blackett’s Ridge Trail” stands. Catch your breath, admire the impressive rugged scenery ahead of you and the city behind you, and then begin your descent. You’ll retrace your steps to the trailhead.
Note: This route can be started from the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area to shave off a bit of distance, but you’ll need to pay a modest day-use fee if you want to park in the recreation area.
Hiking Route Highlights
Sabino Canyon Recreation Area
The Sabino Canyon is a large canyon in the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Coronado National Forest. The Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is a popular destination for local hikers and adventurers, providing walking trails, hiking routes, and biking trails. Blackett’s Ridge is in this recreation area, and the area around the ridge is known for its desert vegetation and a wide variety of bird species.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a shuttle at the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area?
Yes, there is a shuttle that runs from the visitor center, offering a narrated, educational 45-minute tour in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains.
Is Blackett Ridge dog-friendly?
This hike is not dog-friendly.
Are there bears in Sabino Canyon Recreation Area?
Bears and mountain lions live in the mountains near Sabino Canyon, but interactions with humans are rare.
Insider Hints for Blackett’s Ridge Trail from Bear Canyon
- This area is subject to closure from January 1 to May 1 for bighorn sheep lambing season.
Getting to the Blackett’s Ridge Trail from Bear Canyon Trailhead
The trailhead for Blackett's Ridge Trail from Bear Canyon is at the northern terminus of N Bear Canyon Road.
Blackett’s Ridge Trail from Bear Canyon Elevation Graph
Weather ForecastCheck Area Weather
Blackett’s Ridge Trail from Bear Canyon Reviews
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