Friday, April 11, 2014

Hugh Norris to Wasson Peak March 19, 2014

                                        Desert marigold

On this blog I have described two routes to the top of Wasson Peak (Sendero Esperanza and Sweetwater Canyon) both of which are beautiful routes. Today's post is about the Hugh Norris trail which is the longest trail in the Tucson Mountains and also one of the more popular for reaching the summit of Wasson Peak. The trail is 10 miles round trip with 2100 feet of elevation gain. Arrive early because the parking lot at the trail head only accommodates three cars. I would suggest hiking early in the morning because the entire trail is exposed to the sun.

Trail Description: This trail is well signed and easy to follow all the way to the summit.  After leaving the trail head the Hugh Norris trail switchbacks through a drainage with Teddy bear cholla and Saguaro. After two miles the trail reaches the west ridge of Wasson Peak. From here to the summit the views are truly exceptional. Bring a map along and try to identify some of the ranges. After about three miles the trail reaches the junction of the Sendero Esperanza Trail. After the trail junction the Hugh Norris trail gains elevation more precipitously entering a new habitat of Jojoba, yucca, grasses and Ocotillo. At about 4.5 miles the Hugh Norris trail reaches the King Canyon trail junctiion. From here it is about .4 miles to the summit. On this hike I saw Ocotillo blooming, Desert marigolds, blooming Hedgehog cactus and Staghorn cholla. (information from


                               Ocotillo and Saguaros on first part of Hugh Norris trail

                     Pink flower Hedgehog Cactus

                                 Blooming Hedgehog cactus

                          Me on top of Wasson Peak

                        Staghorn Cholla in bloom

                          Sonoran Desert in Ironwood National Monument