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    Blackett’s Ridge Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    9.2 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    542 m
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    Directions to Trailhead
    Blackett's Ridge Trail

    Blackett's Ridge Trail is an excellent adventure near Tucson. This 9.2 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, interesting terrain. This version of the hike begins from the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. You can also do Blackett’s Ridge Trail from Bear Canyon if you want to skip the paid parking and add a little bit of distance.

    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

    Blackett's Ridge Trail is one of the most beautiful hikes near Tucson. It’s conveniently accessible from the northeastern edge of the city near the Pusch Ridge Wilderness and offers awesome desert mountain views. The scenery is excellent, the trail is adventurous and challenging, and this route sees a bit less traffic than Sabino Canyon Trail.

    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 ridge 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.

    This version of the route begins near the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center. From the center, head down to the trail that runs parallel to E Remount Place. You’ll cross the tram road and Sabino Creek and then continue 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 at the foot of the ridge.

    The middle of the route gains lots of elevation in a short distance. It’ll be a tiring ascent and the 20-some switchbacks will feel never-ending. 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” is. Helpful, right? 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.

    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

    • This area is subject to closure from January 1 to May 1 for bighorn sheep lambing season.
    • The day-use fee in this area is $8 per vehicle or $10 for a weeklong pass.

    Getting to the Blackett’s Ridge Trail Trailhead

    The trailhead for Blackett's Ridge Trail is near the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground


    • When to do


    • Pets allowed


    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Blackett’s Ridge Trail Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

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    Blackett’s Ridge Trail Reviews

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