The Knagge Trail #18 takes you by the remains of the Knagge cabin and a nearby mine that they worked in the early 20th century – the old cabin site is an amazing place to sit and contemplate what life must have been like here in the 1920s! Even without the historical sites along the trail this would still be an attractive hike with great terrain and beautiful views as it drops down the ‘backside’ of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Before fires burned thru this area this trail worked it’s way down to South Edgar Canyon and over to Peck Basin, but – at least as far as I can tell – fire/time/nature have erased the lower section of this trail and any attempt to reach Peck Basin will be an off-trail adventure!
- Hike Type: Out and Back
- Hiking Distance: 3.9 miles
- Elevation Gain: 2,200'
- Elevation Loss: 2,200'
- Highest Elevation: 8,100'
- Lowest Elevation: 6,600'
- Location: General Hitchcock Highway - Santa Catalina Mountains, north of Tucson, Arizona.
- Start/End: Incinerator Ridge Parking Area (Upper Highway Hikes)
- Driving Distance from Speedway Campbell: 33.5 miles
- Driving Time from Speedway Campbell: 1 hour and 5 minutes
- Vehicle Access: Most of the drive is Paved Roads/Passenger Car (Mountain Road - be careful of weather conditions!) - the last .4 miles to the Trailhead is on a dirt road that is often rough and slow but possible in most passenger cars (low clearance cars not recommended). Closed to motor vehicles in winter (December 15 to March 1 - dates subject to change depending on weather/conditions).
- Fee: No
- Dogs: Yes
- Bikes: Yes (With currently poor condition of the trail and no connection to other trails I would not recommend this as a ride.)
- Drive East on Speedway (5.0 miles)
- Left on Wilmot and continue on Tanque Verde (4.3 miles)
- Left on Catalina Highway (23.7 miles)
- Right on Incinerator Ridge Road (0.4 miles) - in winter (December 15 to March 1 depending on the weather) this road is gated and closed to vehicle traffic (it remains open to travel on foot) - there might be room to park near the gate without blocking it, but it may be easier to use the parking pullouts just up the highway.
- The trail parking is located at the end of the road. The condition of the road varies but with some care is usually passable in a passenger car.
The mileages and elevations below are approximate (don't expect the values below to match your GPS exactly).
- 0.0 miles, 8000′: Start at the Incinerator Ridge Parking Area and take the Incinerator Ridge Trail. [Waypoint IR TH]
- 0.1 miles, 8050′: The signed junction with the Knagge Trail is located at a large well used campsite. [Waypoint J IR K]
- From the junction the trail descends – in places this trail requires some care and attention to follow – keep your eyes open!
- 1.0 miles, 7200′: The trail crosses a rocky area and drainage [Waypoint K01] and then goes by the Knagge cabin site [Waypoint K02], this spot has great views and would be a great destination for a shorter hike..
- 1.2 miles, 6950′: The trail passes the old mine [Waypoint K03] and then crosses a steep rocky section of canyon [Waypoint K04].
- 1.3 miles, 6900′: The trail crosses a wash. [Waypoint K05]
- 1.9 miles, 6600′: The obvious/maintained trail ends at several old camp sites. [Waypoint K06]
- While clearly drawn on every map I am aware of I have had very little luck finding the trail past the campsites at 1.9 miles – while you may find a few traces I suggest you consider anything beyond 1.9 miles an off-trail bushwhack (see this post for some pictures from an off-trail hike down…)
For more information on John Knagge and the Knagge Family see this newsletter from 1997 by the Archaeology Southwest (formerly the Center for Desert Archaeology) and Look to the Mountains, An in-depth look into the lives and times of the people who shaped the history of the Catalina Mountains.
- (Printed Map) Southern Arizona Hiking Club Maps – The SAHC map shows a Trail all the way to Peck basin, as noted above beyond the campground at 1.9 miles I do not believe the trail currently exists.
- (Printed Map) Green Trails - Recreation Map - Santa Catalina Mountains. – The Green Trails map marks this trail as ‘Unofficial/Unmaintained’ – however I think even that is optimistic, as noted above beyond the campground at 1.9 miles I believe this trail is currently best considered an off-trail adventure.
2014 March Peck Basin and Araster Spring via the Knagge Route
2012 June Knagge Trail
mclean – note the picture of the Knagge cabin before the Aspen Fire!
- 2017/8/15 – HikeLemmon posts added to Resources
- 2017/8/11 – Fix broken image, Img Srcset update, add link to Peck Basin and Araster Spring via the Knagge ‘Route’ post
- 2014/7/9 – format update
- 2014/3/24 – updated map with new track and waypoints, new picture set
- 2014/3/6 – updated for WordPress
- 2013/10/13 – updated pictures/format, added more definitive notes about the lower section of the trail