Hutch’s Pool via West Fork Sabino Trail
Hutch's Pool is a popular swimming and camping spot tucked away in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson. The usual route there travels through the Sabino Canyon in the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, known for its rugged desert beauty and plentiful wildlife. This guide details the hike to Hutch’s Pool starting and ending at the West fork Sabino Trail. We recommend using this route if you’re taking the tram through the Sabino Canyon or already out on West Fork Sabino Trail. If you’re not taking the tram and need guidance from the recreation area, check out our Hutch’s Pool Hike guide.
This is a rewarding trip that ends at a great swimming hole. You’ll be able to filter water from the river, but water levels vary depending on the time of year you choose to visit. Bring plenty of hydration with you and wear sun protection.
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Route Description for Hutch’s Pool via West Fork Sabino Trail
Hutch's Pool is a natural swimming hole that can be reached at the end of a hike through the Sabino Canyon. It’s conveniently accessible from the northeastern edge of the city near the Pusch Ridge Wilderness and offers wonderful desert mountain views. The scenery is excellent, the trail is adventurous and varied, and you can hop right into the cool water to relax amidst the sheer rock walls.
The route along the river to the pool is great, with tall saguaros and big prickly pears lining 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 canyon 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.
Note that this route guide details the hike from West Fork Sabino Trail, not from the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center. Use this route guide if you’re taking the tram to its final stop, Stop 9, and hiking from there. Should you be skipping the tram and hiking the whole way, we recommend using our Hutch’s Pool hike guide.
We prefer this approach using the tram as the alternative route is over 24.0 km long and can be challenging to complete in one day. If you have kids or you can’t afford to start early enough to avoid the heat of the day, this shortened route might be a better pick.
At the trail junction just past the tram stop, go right, crossing a stream before beginning a short sprint of switchbacks. Keep left after the last turn to continue north through the canyon, hiking above the river through rocky, rugged terrain. The path is well-maintained and most junctions are well-signed.
You’ll hike through some areas that have been previously burned in wildfires. Observe the plants regrowing and maturing in their post-burn recovery.
At a junction in a flat area, stay left. From here, it’s not far to Hutch’s Pool. The water usually looks quite inviting, so feel free to take a dip if you’d like. There’s a beach to rest on that makes for a great picnic spot.
To head back, you can either retrace your steps back to the tram stop and take the tram to the visitor center, or you can hike the entire way back to the visitor center.
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. Hutch’s Pool is in this recreation area, and the area all around 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. This route guide starts from the northernmost shuttle stop.
Is Hutch’s Pool 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.
Can you swim in Hutch’s Pool?
The pool can be used for swimming. The water is not tested or monitored for bacteria levels so swimming is done at your own risk.
Insider Hints for Hutch’s Pool via West Fork Sabino Trail
- The day-use fee to park in the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is $8 per vehicle or $10 for a weeklong pass.
Getting to the Hutch’s Pool via West Fork Sabino Trail Trailhead
The trailhead for the hike to Hutch's Pool from the West Fork Sabino Trail is at the junction of the West Fork Sabino Trail and Stop 9 on the Sabino Canyon Tram Line.
Hutch’s Pool via West Fork Sabino Trail Elevation Graph
Weather ForecastCheck Area Weather
Hutch’s Pool via West Fork Sabino Trail Reviews
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