Near the summit of Guthrie Mountain several weeks after the 2017 Burro Fire. July 2017.
Guthrie Mountain is an understated peak – unless you know it you are unlikely to pick it out on the skyline – but beautiful trails and good views from the top make it well worth the hike.
Until 2017 the summit, and slopes, of Guthrie Mountain were covered with trees. In July of 2017 the Burro Fire burned 27,000 acres in the Santa Catalina Mountains including the Guthrie Mountain. While the summit has changed, and it will be many years before it is again covered in trees, the views are still amazing and it is still well worth a visit!!
An interesting detail for anyone who loves trivia is that there are several interpretations of where the summit of Guthrie Mountain actually is…
Out and Back
2,000' Elevation Gain
2,000' Elevation Loss
Highest Elevation: 7,400'
Lowest Elevation: 6,600'
General Hitchcock Highway - Santa Catalina Mountains, north of Tucson, Arizona.
Left: Brown Burro Fire scorched trees below Guthrie Mountain. July 2017. Right: Looking down into Burro Creek from the slopes of Guthrie Mountain. July 2017.
The hike described below will NOT take you to the peak marked as Guthrie Mountain on the USGS Topo Maps – it takes you to Point 7281′ which is more commonly referred to as Guthrie Mountain – notes below explain why…
2.1 miles, 6900′: Bear Saddle – leave the Green Mountain Trail to the left for the (signed) Guthrie Mountain Trail #704A [Waypoint J GM GuM].
The trail gradually takes you into areas burned in the Burro Fire – the trail may be harder to find in the burned area as you make your way out across the ridge.
2.8 miles, 7200′: The trail climbs a short, steep, rocky section [Waypoint GuM01]
As you make your way along the trail look for a rock visible from the trail with a faint path up to it – there is a summit register here (picture of the Summit Register rock) [Waypoint GuM02]
3.0 Miles, 7200′: The trail ends [Waypoint GuM03] – the end of the trail used to be a notable view point, but the Burro Fire cleared the summit and there are now views from quite a few places on/near the summit.
The hike described above goes to Point 7281′ which is, in my opinion, the ‘true’ Guthrie Mountain. Point 7281′ is highest of the three points, the most obvious peak in the area and the end of the Guthrie Mountain Trail. From the 3rd edition of the The Santa Catalina Mountains, A Guide to the Trails and Routes, p. 75:
Guthrie Mountain was named for an early forest supervisor in the southwest and is located on the U.S.G.S. quadrangle map as a 6464-foot-high point on the ridge just east of Molino Canyon. It is the opinion of the authors that this is an error and that Guthrie Mountain is the prominent 7300-foot-high point just north of Burro Canyon and about a mile southeast of Bear Saddle.
In “A brush with Old Guthrie Mountain” (Arizona Daily Star, May 4, 1978) Pete Cowgill talks about the ‘new’ SAHC Maps where Guthrie Mountain was moved from Point 6466′ (USGS Guthrie Mountain – ‘old Guthrie Mountain’ in the article) to Point 7281′. The 1978 article begins “There is hardly a more brushy hike in the Santa Catalina Mountains than to the top of old Guthrie Mountain” – still largely true today… While both the SAHC Eastern Star and the USGS Guthrie Mountain are interesting to visit (once anyway…) be aware that both are off-trail adventures.
Guthrie Mountain is named for John Dennett Guthrie who was a Forest Supervisor in Arizona from 1908 to 1917, served in WWI and authored and edited a number of books including a collection of poems and songs called The Forest Ranger And Other Verse.
Left: Burned in the 2017 Burro Fire. July 2017. Right: Small green leaves on the slopes of Guthrie Mountain just weeks after it burned in the 2017 Burro Fire. July 2017.
(Printed Map) Green Trails - Recreation Map - Santa Catalina Mountains. – The Green Trails map indicates the trail to Guthrie Mountain is Unofficial/Unmaintained, however the trail has official signage, part of it is included on Forest Service maps and is as easy to follow as the other official trails in the area so it might be more fairly labeled an ‘official trail’.
(Printed Map) Southern Arizona Hiking Club Maps – The SAHC map has a .6 mile spur to the east from Point 7281′ out to what is referred to as the ‘SAHC Eastern Star’ in the list of Guthrie Mountains found above – this spur should be considered an off-trail hike.
2017/8/5 – Added a link to the Green Valley Hiking Club Library notes on Guthrie Mountain and John D Guthrie, small update on the text about John D Guthrie, layout picture change to the pre-Burro Fire pictures
2017/8/2 – Add more/improved information on the various ‘Guthrie Mountains’ in the Santa Catalina Mountains including info from the 1978 AZ Daily Star Article, added a small bit of info about John D Guthrie
2017/8/1 – Update trail information for the Burro Fire, add new pictures showing post-fire conditions, rework text, fix image caption, Img Srcset update, new flickr set added
2014/7/18 – Format update.
2014/3/24 – Updated to WordPress, updated format, added new map information, revised hiking info, added new picture sets.