As the General Hitchcock Highway climbs higher into the Santa Catalina Mountains it enters Bear Canyon and winds along the canyon bottom into the pines – on sunny summer days the shade and elevation can provide a bit of relief from the heat, on stormy winter days you might find snow obscuring the trails and drawing locals up the mountain to pile snow on their car before heading back down into Tucson.
For hikes listed by trailhead see Trailheads and Parking.
- Best Time of Year: Fall, Spring, Winter and the edges of Spring are all generally GREAT in this area. At at this elevation winter storms can quickly drop the temperature, leave snow on the trail and create hazardous driving conditions – be prepared and careful of the forecast.
- Top Pick: Guthrie Mountain – Fun trail and great views!
- Best Workout Run: Green Mountain Trail – for me this is a more of a power hike than a run (on the way up anyway!) and is good uphill training. This hike is part of the Arizona Trail Wilderness Bypass and for more challenge/distance you could continue up the Incinerator Ridge Trail and Kellogg Trail or down the Bug Spring Trail.
- Off-trail Challenge: Lizard Rock – take a break from off-trail epics and put your off-trail skills to work hauling your camera, book and binoculars up to the top of Lizard Rock to relax!
This short trail connects the Green Mountain Trail and Brush Corral Trail.
- This trail is best used as part of a loop with the Green Mountain Trail and the Brush Corral Trail.
The Green Mountain Trail is part of the Arizona Trail Wilderness Bypass and offers great views of the San Pedro River Valley, a good climb if done from the lower trailhead and connections to a number of other interesting trails.
- Good views and interesting terrain, but a simple out and back between trailheads is not overly exciting – the real fun is to use this trail to hike to one (or several!) of the trails it connects with – Maverick Spring Trail, Guthrie Mountain, Brush Corral Shortcut Trail and/or the Brush Corral Trail.
Guthrie Mountain is the best on-trail peak in this area offering good views and an interesting hike.
- This hike doesn’t end with a rocky spire and is not an ‘epic’ ascent, but as long as you know that ahead of time Guthrie Mountain is a GREAT destination, one of the best hikes in the area and well worth the trip.
A short off-trail climb to a prominent rocky point that towers above Bear Canyon.
- If you are comfortable with the hazards of traveling off-trail (including tall cliffs and exposure) this is a great short hike to a very nice rocky summit – take a camera for the sunset, or maybe a book to read – the hike is short and the top is the best place to linger. While the drive to the start of this hike may be too long to make Lizard Rock your sole reason to go up the mountain it is certainly a worthy side trip.
A short side trip from the Green Mountain Trail to a spring.
- This hike is best after the summer rains have helped make the area lush and green – a fun side-trip but the joy here is more subtle than spectacular…
Time and fire have turned the middle section of the Brush Corral Trail into an off-trail route and the Brush Corral Trail no longer exists as shown on most maps – but the upper section of the trail still exists and between beautiful rugged terrain and great views of the relatively unused eastern section of the Santa Catalina Mountains this is a great day hike.
- This trail is an relatively rarely used classic – especially if combined with the Brush Corral Shortcut Trail this is an amazing hike!
- 2017/8/10 – Add the Upper Brush Corral Trail
- 2014/3/3 – Created