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Backpacker Magazine – November 2010

Best Hikes Ever: Sabino Canyon Trail, AZ

Hike to a natural day spa.

by: Dave Pidgeon

Take a day off of work to explore Sabino Canyon, just a touch north of Tucson in the Santa Catalina Natural Area. Why the personal day? Weekends from May to August see a crush of bathing suit-clad visitors packing into the pool-filled ravine. But on weekdays, it’s easy to enjoy sunny solitude. You’ll find boulders (perfect for sunning) strewn across the landscape—the rocks were scattered by a 19th-century earthquake—and iconic saguaro cacti mingled with hardy oak trees.

Ride the shuttle ($8 each way) from the visitor center on Sabino Cayon Road to the trailhead of the 4.1-mile, one-way Sabino Canyon Trail. You’ll ascend more than 1,200 feet to views of distinctive rock formations like the Eye of the Needle and Thimble Peak lording above the trail. At the end of the path lies Hutch’s Pool, a year-round waterhole where you can take a plunge from an overhanging rock into 15-foot-deep water.

Map USGS quad Sabino Canyon

Contact (520) 749-2861;

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Star Star Star Star Star
AZ Hiker
Feb 14, 2013

Fatigue and rapid change in altitude can impair your judgment and zap your energy especially on a day-hike. Day-hikes can be the most dangerous because hikers usually carry minimal supplies never expecting to spend the night outdoors. Would you know how to get rescued if the unexpected happened on the trail? Could you find your way if you didn't know the trail? The ability to know your way and know where you are is something we all need in any survival situation not just while hiking. Learn to stay found by using a compass and paying attention to your surroundings. A compass doesn't need a signal or batteries and works in all types of weather but you need to know how to use it and "Felix the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart" (Amazon) makes learning how to use a compass easy. Felix! explains how to orient yourself using a compass, a compass and a map, a map and no compass, no compass and no map. Anyone wanting to feel more confident about orienting ourselves outdoors will enjoy learning from this book. To refresh our skills, we read thru this book with our kids before every hike - it's only about 34 pages and illustrated. Felix! teaches the reader how to know where you are, what to pack for a day-hike, how and when to take breaks, trail ethics, what to do if you get lost or scared, how to get rescued, and survival packing (for the car and for the trail). Look for it on Amazon, "Felix the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart."


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