After a long week of classes and studying, it’s important to spend some time decompressing. A great way to wind down is by getting active. According to the American Psychological Association, studies have shown that “exercise can relieve stress, reduce depression and improve cognitive function.”
One of the most affordable ways to get active is by getting outside and exploring the local area. Lucky for Tucson students, there are some great hikes in the area! Tucson is surrounded by five mountain ranges and is bordered by two national parks that offer hiking trails at varying difficulties.
While all of these Tucson hikes offer unique experiences, one thing remains the same for all of them — be prepared! Always ensure that you are prepared with the proper gear and knowledge including maps, trail updates, sunscreen and water. Read more Arizona hiking tips here.
Here are the best Tucson hikes by difficulty:
Easy Tucson Hike
Distance: 2.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 947 feet
The Tumamoc Hill hike is the perfect hike for students as it’s only a 15-minute drive from the University of Arizona campus! The hike follows a well-paved path to the top of the hill which offers stunning views of the city and Sentinel Peak.
Moderate Tucson Hikes
Distance: 5.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,060 feet
One of the more popular hikes in the area, this trail is perfect for solo hikers or those just getting into hiking. Located in Saguaro National Park, the Bridal Wreath trail offers great views of the city of Tucson.
Distance: 9.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 917 feet
This hike is rated the #1 hike in Tucson and it’s easy to see why. Hikers are treated to great views and a total of seven waterfalls. The hike is located in Sabino Canyon Recreation Center which also offers many other hiking options.
Difficult Tucson Hikes
Distance: 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,685 feet
Located in the Coronado National Forest, this challenging trail offers hikers stunning views of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Sabino Canyon, Bear Canyon and Thimble Peak. This hike does not offer a lot of shade and is quite steep in sections, so it is recommended to hike it early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat of that day.
Distance: 12.4 miles
Elevation: 4,475 feet
This challenging hike follows steep switchbacks up the Santa Catalina Mountains. Hikers are rewarded when they reach the sum and look through “the Window”, a round opening in a massive rock structure that offers expansive mountain and valley views.
These are just a few of the best Tucson hikes available. It is important to note that some of these hikes have park fees associated with them. For those planning on hiking often in the national parks, it may be more economical to purchase an annual park pass. And remember, always do research beforehand and pack and dress appropriately when doing any Tucson hikes.