Top Trail Towns: Tucson, Arizona - Page 2
Photo by David Barger
> BUTTERFLY TRAIL AND BIGELOW ROAD / At just over 10 miles, this is Roberts’ favorite run. “You start in a forest of tall pines and follow the slope’s rolling contours, occasionally dipping to cross streams or scramble up rocky slopes,” she says. “Look for the shiny aluminum fuselage of an F-86 fighter jet that crashed in the 1950s.” begin at the Butterfly Trailhead off the Mount Lemmon Highway and run 5.7 miles to the shoulder of Mount Bigelow in the Catalina Mountains. Take a right and run the dirt Bigelow road. Turn right once more when you reach the Mount Lemmon Highway and run a half-mile of pavement back to the trailhead.
> RINCON PEAK / At 8482 feet, Rincon peak is located deep in the saguaro national park back- country. Park at the miller creek Trailhead (4000 feet altitude) on Coronado National Forest land and run 1.3 miles to the national-park boundary. From there, it’s about 3.6 miles to the junction with the heartbreak ridge Trail. Go left and bear left again in another half mile on the Rincon Peak Trail. Grind your way up, and follow cairns through the rocky summit push. Return the way you came for a 16.2-mile outing, or add the rest of the Heartbreak Ridge Trail, Deerhead Spring Trail, Turkey Creek Trail, as well as a couple miles of dirt, national-forest road back to the Miller Creek Trailhead, to make a backcountry marathon. We’re talking seriously remote stuff here, no water and gnarly terrain, so plan ahead and run with caution.
> FLEET FEET ARIZONA TRAIL RACE / An 8.2-miler held in February on the trails of colossal cave mountain park, this race wends among the also colossal and ancient saguaro cactuses. Don’t look away from the trail too often, though, as rocky surfaces keep you honest (fleetfeettucson.com/ racing/az-trail-race).
> CATALINA STATE PARK REVERSE THE COURSE 5.2-AND 10.3-MILE TRAIL RACES / Held in September, says Roberts, “This race requires guts because it’s rugged, insanely hilly, oh, and watch out for the spiny cactuses! It’s a smallish and friendly local race that supplies sharp-looking shirts and a full breakfast afterwards” (everyoneruns.net).