Pima Canyon – Kamloops Trails

by Doug Smith

Pima Canyon – Kamloops Trails

Doug Smith  January 7, 2022 at 8:40 am

Just before the Covid-19 epidemic we hiked the canyons of the Santa Catalina Range near Tuscon.   Pima Canyon was one of our favorite hikes.   All of the canyon hikes can be linked up for a long and difficult loop route, but most hikers go up to a viewpoint and back before the desert heat of the afternoon.   We got an early start and hiked up the canyon to spot next to the creek for lunch, then we returned the way we came, down Pima Creek to the trailhead.  

We drove through the Santa Catalina Foothills to a gated parking area for the trailhead.

We hiked past a number of homes in the desert foothills then started up a rocky ridge which led into the canyon.

There are no trees in this part of the desert.   Saguoros, ocotillos, prickly pear cacti, and other spiny shrubs populate the rocky slopes.

The middle part of the hike has a section which follows a riparian zone, a welcome spot in the desert here.   And, in early March we were at the peak of the wildflower season.

The canyon trails of the area climb higher into the rocky hills.   It is a long day’s hike to get to the top of one of the ridges of the Santa Catalina and it would best be done on a winter day.   By spring the canyon routes are long warm+ hikes.   We had lunch by Pima Creek which was still draining the late winter snowmelt and runoff at 2200m.   Our hike for the day was 11 – 12 km.

As we  hiked back down through the foothills we spotted a red cardinal in the shrubs and it was kind enough to pose for a photograph.

We very much enjoyed hiking in the Tuscon area and we would like to return for some more late-winter hiking (after the epidemic).





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Doug Smith

Doug writes for Kamloops Trails, a not-for-profit (and ad free) website, offering information on trails, waterways, routes, featured spots, viewpoints, and explorations in the outdoors in the Kamloops area (and beyond).

Doug started exploring this area in 1976 and continues to follow tracks and routes wherever they lead, with the aid of map, compass, GPSr and camera. After many dead-ends, but also many discoveries, he chose to share this information.

The Kamloops Trails website has a massive number of interesting posts and would be of interest to anyone in Kamloops who enjoys the outdoors. Visit the Kamloops Trails website at: http://www.kamloopstrails.net/

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