Looking toward Evans Mountain from near the end of the Upper Brush Corral Trail. July 2017.
Most maps of the Santa Catalina Mountains show the Brush Corral Trail #19 plunging down the eastern slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains, passing a junction with the Evans Mountain Trail and ending at the Brush Corral Trailhead. For several miles – until the junction with the Brush Corral Shortcut Trail – the map matches reality, the trail is rugged but easy to follow. After the junction the trail is overgrown and criss-crossed by fallen trees but it is still navigable until lower on the trail, at a ridge with great views of the terrain below, it fades away – cairns, faint paths and sections of the original track sometimes emerge from the landscape – but fire and time have caused the middle section of the trail to disappear. The journey down to the Brush Corral Trailhead is now just another obscure off-trail route.
This description covers the upper section of the Brush Corral Trail down to the point where the off-trail route begins.
Take the Green Mountain Trail up to a small saddle and then down the other side (careful of the social trails/routes at the saddle).
0.2 miles, 7300′: At an unsigned junction near a large/prominent rock formation take a right (a left will take you to San Pedro Vista) [Waypoint gm-ugmc].
0.3 miles, 7200′: At the signed (both old and new style signs!) junction with the Brush Corral Trail take a left onto the Upper Brush Corral Trail [Waypoint gm-bc].
The trail descends steeply.
0.75 miles, 6650′: Cross two small streams at [Waypoint bc01] – after the crossing the trail begins to climb.
1.0 miles, 6800′: There is a short section of trail on the top of the ridge before the trail begins to descend again near [Waypoint bc02].
1.7 miles, 6100′: The trail crosses a stream [Waypoint bc03].
2.0 miles, 6200′: Signed junction with the Brush Corral Shortcut Trail at [Waypoint bc-bcs] – a left will keep you on the Brush Corral Trail.
2.1 miles, 6200′: Watch for the old phoneline crossing the trail [Waypoint bc04]. This phoneline once ran up from Tucson (you cross the phoneline coming up from Tucson on the Palisade Trail) and down to the Brush Corral Ranger Station.
2.2 miles, 6200′: Enter an area burned in the 2017 Burro Fire [Waypoint bc05].
2.5 miles, 6200′: On the top of a ridge with great views down the trail deteriorates quickly into an off-trail route – below this point you can occasionally find cairns, trail markers and sections of the original track, but in my opinion below this point there is not a ‘trail’. Experienced and adventurous hikers might continue down off-trail (take care, this area is as remote as you can get in the Santa Catalina Mountains – don’t underestimate the ruggedness of the terrain because there was once a trail here!) – but this is the end of the trail and with great views it is a nice spot for a break before heading back up the mountain.
Left: A hillside burned in the 2017 Burro Fire. July 2017. Right: Entering an area burned by the 2017 Burro Fire on the Upper Brush Corral Trail. July 2017.
Left: A lower section of the Upper Brush Corral Trail before the 2017 Burro Fire. September 2013. Right: New grass growing just weeks after the Burro Fire - a lower section of the Upper Brush Corral Trail burned in the 2017 Burro Fire. July 2017.
A view of part of the ridge pictured at the top of this page from 2013 - before the Burro Fire. September 2013.
2017 July Upper Brush Corral and Brush Corral Shortcut Loop