Friday, February 14, 2014

Tortolita Mountain Loop (Wild Mustang and Wild Burro Trails) February 8, 2014

                       Looking east Tortolita Mountain Park

Directions: To get to the Tortolita Mountains travel west on Interstate 10 until you see W Tangerine Road. Take the exit and turn right. Travel on Tangerine until you reach Dove Mountain Road. Take Dove Mountain all the way to the Ritz Carlton Resort. The big parking lot is the trail head for these mountains.

On Saturday morning at around 10:30 Nathan, his uncle and I arrived at the Wild Burro Canyon Trail head. Our objective today was a nine mile loop connecting the Wild Burro, Javelina and Wild Mustang Trails. Elevation gain is around 2000 feet. The view gets absolutely sublime after about two miles of hiking on the Wild Mustang trail. Toward the east is Wild Burro Canyon and the Pusch Ridge Wilderness. To the south is the Tucson valley. Around this time on the hike the vegetation regime also changes with more Yucca, Ironwood, grasses and less Saguaro. The last 0.7 mile to the Wild Burro trail junction is steep as the trail loses about 700 feet. The hike back to the trail head through Wild Burro Canyon is about four miles the first two of which are very scenic. I will definitely be back to explore more of this range in the future.

Special Considerations: During the months of May, June and July the temperatures in the Sonoran Desert can be over 115 degrees. Bring multiple gallons of water. During the fall, winter, and spring the sun can be very intense so still bring at least three nalgenes depending on the distance of the hike. Rattlesnakes are also very active so pay attention.


                                  Ocotillo in bloom

                              Yucca upper part of Wild Mustang trail

         Wild Burro Canyon
                       Impressive Saguaro

                     Beautiful Wild Burro Canyon