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    Bobcat Ridge and Starr Pass Hike

    Difficulty
    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    Moderate
    Duration
    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.
    2-2.5h
    Distance
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    6.6 km
    Elevation
    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.
    218 m
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
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    Directions to Trailhead

    Bobcat Ridge and Starr Pass is a great scenic hike near Tucson. This route is 6.6 km long and has some fun rocky sections and steep ledges with wide-open views. It might not be the best choice for those who are afraid of heights, but you’ve got enough room to maneuver that most should still feel comfortable on this route. You’ll look out at the tall saguaros, the mountains on the horizon, and Tucson beside you. This hike doesn’t get too busy, so it’s a good bet any time of the week.

    Bring lots of water for this hike as there’s no shade. We also like to pack a picnic and take a seat near (not at the end of) the ledge to have lunch with a view.

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    Route Description for Bobcat Ridge and Starr Pass Hike

    Bobcat Ridge and Starr Pass are two impressive routes combined into one spectacular hike in this guide. In a trail-dense area close to Tucson, this hike gets you out of the city without requiring you to go very far. The views are excellent, mostly featuring the saguaro-dotted rocky hills nearby, the mountains in the distance, and the city reaching out beside you.

    This route is a great middle distance and difficulty. It gets the legs warm without being too demanding and at 6.6 km, it’s within the realm of possibility for strong beginners and better. We don’t recommend this hike for those with a strong fear of heights since the ledges are quite sheer, but there’s lots of room to stay away from the edge.

    For those who like the up-high feel, this hike makes for a perfect picnic spot, especially if you score a less busy trail.

    You’ll want to come prepared for some steady climbing without any shade. Bring more water than you think you’ll need and bring a hat and sunscreen if the sun’s out.

    From the trailhead, take the Starr Pass Cutoff to the right to the next junction, which is where the trail splits. Take the middle route that heads to the right to the saddle between the ridge and the hill next to it.

    Stay left to begin ascending the ridge. The scenery is delightful, with cholla, saguaros, and ocotillo flanking your path. You might even be treated to a lizard sighting or two as you climb.

    The ascent is consistent and rocky, but it levels out a bit as you crest the ridge. The best views await up here, so take your time as you navigate across this rocky spine. You can see Tucson Estates, Kitt Peak, and the Golden Gate quite well.

    Take a break atop the ridge if you have the time, then continue along to begin your return trip. You’ll gradually descend the ridge to a junction. Stay left here, then stay left to wind around the northwestern base of the ridge.

    Hiking back towards the trailhead, you’ll now pass underneath Bobcat Ridge. Continue to the junction

    Note: You can also do the loop the opposite way (clockwise) should you want to get the flatter section finished before the climbing. We like to tackle the climbing with fresher legs and leave the flat stretch for the return trip.

    Hiking Route Highlights

    Saguaro National Park West

    The two sides of Saguaro National Forest–East and West–encompass two patches of beautiful desert scenery on the eastern and western sides of the city of Tucson. The parks may be small, but they don’t lack when it comes to scenery. Saguaro National Park West is lower in elevation with a denser saguaro forest, and Saguaro National Park East is more mountainous and offers the opportunity to backpack if desired. Bobcat Ridge shows off the west park in its cactus-covered glory.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Which Saguaro National Park should I visit?

    Both the east and west park are worth visiting, but plan your visit based on the kind of exploring you want to do. The east park is better for hikes with more elevation gain and it allows backpacking. The west park is more saguaro-filled, lower elevation, and does not allow overnight stays.

    Are dogs allowed on Bobcat Ridge and Starr Pass Hike?

    No, dogs are not allowed on this trail.

    Do I have to pay to hike Bobcat Ridge and Starr Pass Hike?

    No, there is no fee required for this hike.

    Insider Hints for Bobcat Ridge and Starr Pass Hike

    • Counterclockwise tends to be our user’s preferred way to hike this loop.

    Getting to the Bobcat Ridge and Starr Pass Hike Trailhead

    The trailhead for the Bobcat Ridge and Starr Pass is at the end of S Sarasota Blvd.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      No

    • When to do

      October-May

    • Pets allowed

      No

    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage

      Average

    • Crowd Levels

      Moderate

    • Route Type

      Loop

    Bobcat Ridge and Starr Pass Hike Elevation Graph

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    Bobcat Ridge and Starr Pass Hike Reviews

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