Esperero Trail: Sabino Canyon

Just a short post to share a fun trail we hiked this past month in Sabino Canyon.  With all the rain we had with the cool weather, finding a trail that had not been washed out was a bit of a challenge.  We finally decided on the Esperero Trail in Sabino Canyon.

From the parking lot it is a short walk up the canyon road to the trailhead which is just past the road to the picnic area.  You can by-pass the road by taking the parallel trail to the south of the road.  The trail will cross the main road and pick-up the main trail there by the picnic area road.

The trail is well marked and goes for about a mile until it intersects with a trail that leads out and back to the main road at Tram Stop 1.  If you want to make a quick loop, take this turn, otherwise continue on up the Esperero trail.  The first mile or so is a gentle steady climb about a couple hundred feet elevation gain. After the intersection, things pick up and it is a steady climb from here on out.

About 2 miles in, the trail drops down into a canyon, crosses a dry stream and then starts a steeper climb up along the creek. This is what we came here to see. The water was running, the flowers were starting to bloom, and there were small waterfalls.  It was a gorgeous site.

We continued up and eventually we were crisscrossing the creek and found ourselves in what I would call a box canyon.  This is where the trail gets serious about climbing up.  For us, we found the perfect place to stop for lunch.  There were big rocks in the sun, a running, babbling brook, and a small water fall, all in a tree lined oasis.  Perfect!

The way back down was surprising.  Headed down, we had much better angles to see down the canyons and out into the city.  There are some spectacular views of Tucson and the surrounding area.

As we neared the last mile or so, we ran into quite a few hikers headed up.  We also saw quite a few of the park’s volunteer guides.  Turns out the recent rains made many of the trails in Sabino Canyon either closed or difficult to use.  Esperero was one of the few open ones.

It was the first time we had hiked this trail and we will definitely do it again.

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