Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site

First/Upper Parking Area. March 2014.
First/Upper Parking Area. March 2014.

Overview

Location

Driving Time and Distance

  • 45 Minutes from Speedway and Campbell
  • 21.3 miles from Speedway and Campbell
  • Miles up Highway: 7.3 miles
  • Side of the Highway: Up-mountain
  • Vehicle Access: Most of the drive is Paved Roads/Passenger Car (Mountain Road - be careful of weather conditions!) - the drive to the end of the road parking area is on a dirt road that is generally in good condition and passenger car friendly.

Fees and Services

  • Fee: No
  • Restrooms: Yes (May be closed seasonally (in the summer))
  • Water: No

Additional Notes

  • This area is often referred to as 'Prison Camp' by locals.

The earliest name that I have seen for this area is Vail Corral or Vail’s Corral after Zack Vail who ran cattle in the area. That name can be seen in the image below from the 1904 USGS Tucson Quadrangle:

1904 USGS Tucson Quadrangle. May 2015.
1904 USGS Tucson Quadrangle. May 2015.

This area was the site of a Prison Camp beginning in 1939 (providing labor to build the General Hitchcock Highway) – some links about the human history of the area:

Wikipedia – Gordon Hirabayashi

Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites by J. Burton, M. Farrell, F. Lord, and R. Lord – a great resource including a map of the area and pictures.

Green Valley Recreation Hiking Club – Summary of Several Newspaper Articles about the Area

Trail map sign near the upper parking area. March 2014.
Trail map sign near the upper parking area. March 2014.

Driving Directions

Google Maps Directions from the Speedway and Campbell intersection in Tucson to Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site.

Quick version:

  • Drive East on Speedway (5.0 miles)
  • Left on Wilmot and continue on Tanque Verde (4.3 miles)
  • Left on Catalina Highway (11.8 miles)
  • Signs mark the turn into the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site on the down-mountain side of the Highway.
  • If the gate is closed: park in the paved upper parking or one of the dirt pullouts and walk to the parking area at the end of the dirt road (this will add to the total mileage of your hike). If the gate is open: drive the 0.3 miles to the parking area at the end of the dirt road. Restrooms are located just before the parking circle at the end of the road (the restrooms may be closed seasonally) – no water is available.

 

Looking into the fee/camping area (note the sign on the right) - bathrooms just visible on the left - behind this view is the end of the road parking circle where there is no fee to park. March 2014.
Looking into the fee/camping area (note the sign on the right) - bathrooms just visible on the left - behind this view is the end of the road parking circle where there is no fee to park. March 2014.
Left: The parking area at the end of the road. March 2014.
Right: Looking into the fee/camping area (note the sign on the right) - bathrooms just visible on the left - behind this view is the end of the road parking circle where there is no fee to park. March 2014.

 

All Trailheads - Map

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Santa Catalina Mountains - Trailheads

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Agua Caliente Hill South Trailhead: 32.274321, -110.712042
American Flag Trailhead: 32.580837, -110.720361
Avenida de Suzenu Trailhead: 32.298201, -110.730737
Babad Do\'ag Observation Site and Trailhead Parking: 32.309311, -110.720727
Bear Canyon Trailhead: 32.300779, -110.802350
Bigelow Trailhead: 32.409781, -110.713268
Box Camp Trailhead: 32.419668, -110.739977
Bug Spring Trailhead: 32.345101, -110.718245
Upper Butterfly Trailhead: 32.427277, -110.740810
Catalina State Park Trailhead: 32.425211, -110.908883
Charouleau Gap Trailhead: 32.520380, -110.884755
Davis Spring Trailhead: 32.457276, -110.637932
Golder Ranch Road Parking Area: 32.474823, -110.892434
Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site End of the Road Parking Circle: 32.336230, -110.719862
Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site Upper Parking Area: 32.339662, -110.717267
Hairpin Turn: 32.311623, -110.742468
Incinerator Ridge Parking Area: 32.411710, -110.705315
Iris Dewhirst Pima Canyon Trailhead: 32.353367, -110.948284
Linda Vista Trailhead: 32.380712, -110.961143
Lizard Rock Parking Pullout: 32.382799, -110.694588
Lower Green Mountain Trailhead: 32.374255, -110.690398
Marshall Gulch Trailhead: 32.428054, -110.755743
Milepost 0: 32.304094, -110.745165
Mint Spring Trailhead: 32.440167, -110.766155
Molino Basin Parking Area: 32.337338, -110.690988
Mount Bigelow Butterfly Trailhead: 32.415841, -110.714039
Oracle Ridge Trailhead: 32.451491, -110.754335
Palisade Trailhead: 32.407339, -110.719898
Red Ridge Trailhead: 32.448284, -110.769479
Richard McKee Finger Rock Trailhead: 32.336174, -110.910111
Ridgeline Parking Pullout: 32.405573, -110.699480
Sabino Canyon Visitor Center: 32.309540, -110.823065
San Pedro Vista: 32.400287, -110.690083
Soldier Trail Trailhead: 32.308865, -110.735603
Mount Lemmon Recreation Area: 32.440483, -110.785733
Sunset Trailhead: 32.427543, -110.741826
Upper Green Mountain Trailhead: 32.397796, -110.689435
Ventana Canyon Trailhead: 32.327884, -110.852938
Lower Oracle Ridge Trailhead: 32.604757, -110.757670
Italian Spring Trailhead: 32.306189, -110.574231
The Lake Trailhead: 32.321015, -110.620599
Summit Trailheads: 32.441073, -110.783767
Redington Pass Backcountry Touring Area: 32.306522, -110.609590

Update Notes

  • 2017/8/5 – Img Srcset update, Fixed broken links, added all trailheads map