How to Get There
Take Duval Mine Road/Nogales Highway to Sahuarita Road. Go east (right) on Sahuarita Road to SR-83. Go south (right) on SR-83 just past the the Rosemont Overlook Picnic Area on the right. This is not signed, but is identifiable by the cleared area and concrete picnic table. Turn right on the first dirt road past the picnic area (FR-231). Follow FR-231 for approximately1.4 miles to the Rosemont area trailhead for the Arizona Trail. There is a small upright sign designating this inconspicuous entrance to the Arizona Trail.
There is no cost for this hike, which is entirely on the Arizona Trail.
This is an easy hike. The distance is just about six miles, and the total elevation gain is 1100 feet. However, much of this hike is in open sun, so as the weather warms, it will be important to be prepared for sun and heat.
This hike heads generally south on the trail. Much of the first mile is in the open, with grasses, scattered small trees and shrubs. After about a mile you will enter a wash that has a fair number of trees providing welcome shade. These shady areas are nice places to take a break for a few minutes, although there are no rocks to sit on and some of the groves have quite a few cow pies under them.
Once the trail leaves the wash you are again mostly in the open. There are views of the eastern side of the Santa Rita Mountain peaks, seen in the distance as you walk across the eastern foothills of the range. Because this is a relatively new part of the Arizona Trail, the trail itself is easy to follow and there are very noticeable cairns (piles of rock) wherever the trail crosses a wash or at one dirt road crossing. There is a prominent gate to pass through. Please be sure to close it after you pass.
At about the three-mile mark you will be ascending a gentle hillside and will see another gate and fence at the top. Do not go through the gate. Instead, turn left at the top of the hill and walk along the fence on the ridgeline until you come to a sharp right curve in the trail. This is your turn-around point. Don’t leave too quickly though.
From this spot, you have 360 degree views of the Santa Rita peaks to your west, the Empires and Whetstones to the east, the Rincons to the Northeast, and even the Dragoons in the far eastern distance if the day is relatively clear. Once you have soaked in the view, retrace your steps back to the beginning. We were lucky to have a nice refreshing breeze spring up on our way back.
When we hiked this trail in mid-April, we saw at least ten different kinds of flowers in bloom. The showiest was the bright yellow Desert Mariposa Lilly. This flower had a beautiful purplish-maroon center that contrasted with the yellow. We also saw Blue Dicks, magenta Verbena, and assorted other blooms both large and small.
Because so much of this hike is in the open, plan to go in cooler weather, or start early in the day so you can beat the heat.
We recommend you take normal hiking equipment – hiking boots, back or fanny pack, food and water (we recommend at least three liters), clothing appropriate to the weather and sun protection (sunscreen, hat.) Within your group, you should have a first aid kit, map, cell phone, compass and whistle.
Anita Woodward hikes with the Green Valley Hiking Club.