Hikes in Arizona Tucson Area and Southern Arizona Seven Falls (via Bear Canyon Trail)
 

Seven Falls (via Bear Canyon Trail) Seven Falls (via Bear Canyon Trail) Hot

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Seven Falls (via Bear Canyon Trail)

Location

How to Get There
This hike is located near Tucson.

To get to the Trailhead: From the Phoenix area, take I-10 East towards Tucson. Once at the Tucson city limits, take the Ida Road exit East. Continue on this road for 15.2 miles as it changes name from Ida Road to Skyline Drive, and then to Sunrise Drive. Once you reach the intersection for Sabino canyon road, turn left at the light and park in the area just to your right. As of February 2012, the fee to park is $5.
city
Tucson
state
AZ
country
USA
Region
Tucson Area and Southern Arizona

Hike details

Distance
12.20 [Miles] Total
Hike Distance- Details
12.2 miles for the out and back. If you just want to go to the seven falls, it's 4.4 miles round trip.
Time
5.00 [Hours]
Time-details
It took us 5 hours to get to the head of Bear Canyon and back with a short (10 min) stop for lunch.
Elevation Change
2,000 Total gain/loss [Feet]
Elevation Details
about 2000 ft total ascent
Hike Trail Type
Out and Back
Special Features
  • Water
  • Wild Flowers

Season

Best Season
  • March
  • April
  • October
  • November
Season Details
This is a true all year hike. Spring brings wildflowers. Fall brings the colors of the changing leaves. Summer allows for swimming (but be prepared for very hot weather!)
Date Hike completed
February 26, 2012

Solitudue

Solitude
Medium
Solitude Details
The hike to Seven Falls is very popular. Expect to share the trail with 50 other people. Once you pass Seven Falls, you will likely have the rest of the hike all to yourself.

Difficulty

Difficulty Rating
Mildly Strenuous
difficulty detail
Climbing out of Bear Canyon is work due to the elevation and long distance. This is a Mildly Strenuous hike.

Permits

Be Aware of
$5 to park and $8 for the shuttle (cash only). Parking is a problem so get there early. Some route finding and creek crossing required.

If a desert hike along a perennial creek to a series of impressive waterfalls and pools appeals to you, this is your hike.

The hike up the Bear Canyon trail is an enjoyable hike starting at the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. This area serves as a welcoming environment to the many hikers, bikers, equestrians, and tourists who seek to enjoy the Sonoran Desert. A warning: Sabino Canyon is very popular. On a lovely Saturday morning in February I arrived at the park at 9am to find the parking lot was completely full. Miraculously after a second swing through the parking lot I was able to find what may have been the last spot. So get there early. As of February 2012, the fee is $5 to park.

First, head to the booth to get your shuttle ticket. At the time of this hike, the price was $4 (cash only, first shuttle leaves at 9am and every 60 minutes after that). This saves you only 1.5 miles of walking so you can save the money and hike this short section if you would like. After 5 minutes, the shuttle will reach the final stop #3 and the start of this hike.

From the shuttle area, follow the dirt road further up Bear Canyon. After you reach a bench and a water spigot, you'll leave the road and follow a well worn trail for the rest of the hike. The first 2 miles of this hike stays near the perennial creek running through Bear Canyon. Likely you'll be sharing this trail with a healthy number of people all headed to Seven Falls. It's a popular spot. The creek feeds a number of trees rare in the desert including Cottonwood and Evergreen Oak. There will be a number of creek crossings on the way to the Seven Pools, but none of the crossings are difficult. Look for the helpful Cairns to show the best places to rock hop. After 2.2 miles you'll reach a signed trail junction. If you would like to head to the base of the Seven Falls, turn left and head towards the creek for 0.2 miles. For this hike, we stayed right to continue heading up Bear Canyon. After a few switch backs, you'll start to get some great views of the falls. One waterfall gives way to the next, forming seven pools that are appreciated for their beauty and potential for swimming. Most hikers will have stopped and the rest of the trail will be much more secluded. Continue following the Bear Canyon trail as it continues to climb steadily up Bear Canyon. The trail stays up above a bench overlooking the creek for the next 1.5 miles of hiking. Leaving the canyon floor from here, the trail switchbacks up the west wall of the canyon, eventually reaching a saddle and fantastic views of Bear Canyon and Thimble Peak, with the city of Tucson in the distance. To the North, you see Sycamore canyon and Windy point vista in the distance. Although the trail continues to the intersection with the Sycamore Canyon trail in another 0.3 miles, this is a good turn around point. 

When ready, retrace your tracks and head back to the #3 bus stop.

 

Image Gallery

Seven Falls (via Bear Canyon Trail)
Seven Falls (via Bear Canyon Trail)
Seven Falls (via Bear Canyon Trail)
Seven Falls (via Bear Canyon Trail)
Seven Falls (via Bear Canyon Trail)
Seven Falls (via Bear Canyon Trail)
Seven Falls (via Bear Canyon Trail)
Seven Falls (via Bear Canyon Trail)

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