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    Phoneline 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.
    15.1 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.
    437 m
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    Directions to Trailhead

    The Phoneline Trail leads you through the Sabino Canyon, known for its natural beauty and biodiversity. This 15.1 km moderately difficult trail is located on the north side of Saddleback and Thimble Peak 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. You’ll hike next to towering saguaros and prickly pears, witness the area’s astounding bird population fly by, and be able to appreciate the scenic canyon.

    This canyon 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. Since this is such a popular hike, midweek visits are recommended. You can also opt to hop on the tram on your return trip to shorten this route if it’s longer than you’d prefer.

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    Route Description for Phoneline Trail

    The Phoneline Trail is one of the most popular 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 and there’s an impressive array of plant and animal species to look for. This hike is long and somewhat demanding, but having the option of using the tram for your return trip can make it more accessible if the full distance is too much for you.

    This route travels through the Sabino Canyon, where tall saguaros and big prickly pears line your path. This canyon is known for its diversity of bird species, so birders and casual enthusiasts alike will want to keep their eyes on the sky.

    Depending on the season, you may enjoy wildflowers on the trail. For this reason, we like this hike in the spring when the hills are in bloom.

    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 route doesn’t allow dogs, so leave your pups at home. You’ll need to pay a small fee to access Sabino Canyon, but once you’re parked, look for the trailhead southeast of the visitor center.

    Take Bear Canyon Trail #29 as it runs along E Remount Place. Where the trail splits, go right. Continue through the next junction onto Phoneline Trail #27. Stay left where a trail branches off steeply to the right.

    The route stays above the canyon floor and the tram road as you make your way through the canyon. Enjoy the towering cactus, the beauty of the rugged canyon, and the plants and animals that call the canyon home.

    The route terminates just before a set of switchbacks. From here, you can turn around and retrace your steps. If you want to take the tram back, descend down the switchbacks to Stop 9, the last stop on the tram road.

    Hiking Route Highlights

    Sabino Canyon

    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. The canyon is known for its desert vegetation and a wide variety of bird species. It’s popular with local hikers and runners as well as visitors in the Tucson area.

    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.

    Can you drive through Sabino Canyon?

    Traveling through the canyon is only allowed on foot or horseback.

    Are there bears in Sabino Canyon?

    Bears and mountain lions live in the mountains near Sabino Canyon, but interactions with humans are rare.

    Insider Hints for Phoneline Trail

    • There is an $8 day-use fee per vehicle or a $10 weekly fee for this hike.

    Getting to the Phoneline Trail Trailhead

    The trailhead for the Phoneline Trail is in the parking area for 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

    Phoneline Trail Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

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    Phoneline Trail Reviews

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