Left: Trees and shade on the Aspen Draw Trail. May 2014 Right: Sun and snow on the Aspen Draw Trail. December 2014
Fires in the early 2000s burned large areas of the mountain changing the terrain along sections of nearly every high elevation trail. The Aspen Draw Trail #423 is a bit of an exception – the trail starts in Summerhaven on Turkey Run Road and by the time the road transitions to trail the forest surrounding you feels much like it would have decades ago. The trail climbs steeply thru the forest eventually taking you onto Radio Ridge – enjoy the views!
Out and Back
1,350' Elevation Gain
1,350' Elevation Loss
Highest Elevation: 9,050'
Lowest Elevation: 7,800'
This hike is located in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, Arizona.
Vehicle Access: Paved Roads/Passenger Car (Mountain Road - be careful of weather conditions!)
Aspen Draw Trail Elevation Profile
Driving Directions from the Speedway and Campbell intersection in Tucson - Summerhaven:
Drive East on Speedway (5.0 miles)
Left on Wilmot and continue on Tanque Verde (4.3 miles)
Left on Catalina Highway (29.3 miles)
Continue into Summerhaven on Sabino Canyon Parkway and find parking in Summerhaven - the most convenient parking is in the set of paved/striped spots on the west side of the road after passing Turkey Run Road (trying to park in Summerhaven on a busy/beautiful weekend day may be challenging).
The mileages and elevations below are approximate (don't expect the values below to match your GPS exactly).
0.0 miles, 7850′: Start from the intersection of North Sabino Parkway and Turkey Run Road and follow the paved road west (note that at this intersection the road to the west may be labeled ‘Bowie Street’ on some maps, but the street sign currently says Turkey Run Road) [Waypoint scp-trr]
0.45 miles, 8050′: The pavement ends, the road turns to dirt and there is a (locked) gate blocking the road [Waypoint ad01] – pass the gate and follow the road. There is a small trail that parallels the stream on the south side and several well used trails that cross over to it – this description/map follows the (more obvious) Turkey Run Road.
1.0 miles, 8150′: Turkey Run Road ends/narrows and merges in with the trail on the south side of the stream. [Waypoint ad02]
1.2 miles, 8250′: Signed junction with a path to Ski Run Road [Waypoint J AD SrSpur]. From here the trails begins to climb and switchback up to Radio Ridge.
2.45, 9050′: Signed junction of the Aspen Draw Trail and Cap Rock Trail Road/Forest Road 18 [Waypoint fr18-ad]. This is the official end of the Aspen Draw Trail – from here you could take the Aspen Draw Trail back down, but you might want to consider looping back to Summerhaven via one of the other trails in this area.
“Numbered markers were placed along the trail. Every Saturday and Sunday, a Forest Service employee gave guided tours from the chair lift to the bottom. After the first year, brochures were placed in a box where the trail begins…the Forest Service, forced to cut back on employees, hasn’t provided guided tours or brochures for over a decade.”
Top of the Ski Lift from the top of the Aspen Draw Trail. May 2014.