Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Sabino Canyon, AZ

My wonderful husband, Drew is in Arizona for the summer, he's been exploring this beautiful state and was willing to guest post for me. Best husband ever! In this post he's going to share his experience in Southern Arizona hiking to the Seven Falls near Tucson.


The Seven Falls hike is one of the most popular hikes in Southern Arizona, and when the water level is right it is definitely one of the best for taking a dip.

When I heard about the Seven Falls hike, I couldn’t wait to go myself. Once I started tell people about my plans to hike the Seven Falls Trail, more and more people became interested in making the hike as well. By the time the weekend came around, 4 other people agreed to make the 8.2 mile-roundtrip hike. From what I heard, it is best to try and get started on the hike first thing in the morning, especially since Southern Arizona can get VERY hot, very quickly. Since there is no parking for Bear Canyon, the start of the Seven Falls hike begins at the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center. From the Sabino Canyon parking lot, hikers just have to follow the signs for “Seven Falls”. There is also a tram that you can hop on at the visitor center that will take you a little over a mile up the road.

The hike starts out as a wide dirt trail, but meets up with a paved road after about a half mile. If your go on a particularly hot day like I did (it was 96 degrees when we started the hike), there is a dirt trail that runs parallel to the hard ball road and meets back up with the road at the start of the Bear Canyon trail head. It will offer you some relief from the extreme heat coming up off the asphalt road.

Once on the Seven Falls trail you will cross the Bear Creek seven times before getting to the falls. There are not very many signs directing you where to go once you get on the trail head, but the path is pretty well traveled so it isn’t difficult to find your way. For the most part, the trail follows the creek, so if you are unsure which way to go, just follow the path in the direction of the creek. Depending on the water levels the crossings over the creek can range from easy to mildly difficult, so be careful. After the seventh crossing, the trail climbs up the east side of Bear Canyon through a series of switchbacks with a moderate incline until wrapping around the back side of Bear Canyon to Seven Falls, which can be seen clearly from the trail.

Once you make it to the falls, there is a couple small lakes that you can swim in, or just cool off in. If you want to make your way up to the top of the falls, be aware that it will require you to climb some steep rocks, and will require moderate skill from the time you reach the halfway point to the top. But the view from the top is amazing.

The trip back seemed much easier than the trip to the falls, and since it was almost entirely downhill, it took far less time to get back to the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center than to get to Seven Falls. The total round trip should take approximately 3 hours, but it would be best to give yourself extra time.

The trail is dog-friendly.

Some helpful hints:
+ Bring lots of water! The trail offers little shade.
+ Opt for hiking boots over running shoes, most of the trail is over rocky terrain
+ Wear fast-drying clothes or bring a towel, you’re going to want to spend time in the water once you reach the falls
+ The base of the falls is a great place to break for lunch or a picnic.
+ Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks

Sabino Canyon - Bear Creek
Tucson, AZ 85750