Rincon Mountains--Miller Creek Trail

About this Location

This Rincon Mountain Wilderness Miller Creek Trail provides access to the Saguaro National Park and, when combined with the Rincon Peak Trail, serves as the shortest route to the summit of that 8,482-foot mountain. The first 1.5 miles of the route are located in the Coronado National Forest, following Miller Creek for about half that distance. This small stream and the riparian habitat it supports combine to provide a pleasant setting for those here to just spend time birdwatching or enjoying the picturesque surroundings. Those passing through headed for destinations more distant will most likely appreciate them as well. In order to protect this pleasant but fragile environment it is being managed for low-impact recreation, so no horseback riding or mountain biking is permitted on this trail. After following the creek for a little over three-quarters of a mile, the trail climbs along the canyon’s north ridge and enters the National Park bound for its junction with the Rincon Peak Trail. The Miller Creek Trail is a part of the Arizona Trail.

Drive east from 39 miles from Tucson on I-10 to the J-Six-Mescal road exit (#297). Turn north on the Mescal Road and continue 16 miles to the large National Park Service “Miller Creek Trail” sign. Turn left and travel 0.2 miles to the trailhead.

About Rincon Mountains

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The 38,590-acre National Forest portion of the Rincon Mountain Wilderness borders Saguaro National Park on three sides and remains pleasantly remote in spite of its close proximity to Tucson. One reason for its seclusion is that, except for a few rough 4-wheel drive roads on the Wilderness’ northwest side and some trails leading into it from the Park, access is limited to two trails off the Mescal Road (Forest Road 35) on the area’s eastern side. This road, which leads through the communities of Mescal and Happy Valley, is generally passable to passenger vehicles. The Rincon Mountain Wilderness is rugged and steep with many deep canyons and rocky ridges. Portions of the area are difficult to reach on foot and virtually impassable on horseback. Miller Creek Trail is closed to horses in the Park. Elevations range between 3,880 and 7,325 feet in the Forest, reaching 8,482 feet at the summit of Rincon Peak in the Park. Settings on the Forest range from desert grassland to pinyon, juniper, and oak woodlands. Trails into the Wilderness offer quality opportunities for solitude among the area’s secluded canyons and remote ridges. Both Turkey and Miller Creeks are good examples of desert riparian habitats. The trails that lead into these areas continue on into the Saguaro National Park and link up with an extensive trail system there.

To Turkey and Miller Creek trails, drive east 39 miles from Tucson on I-10 to the Mescal road exit (#297). Drive north on the Mescal Road which becomes FR-35 to the trailheads (16 miles). To Italian Spring Trail, take Tanque Verde road east. The road changes to Redington Pass Road; continue east for approximately 8 miles. Turn south on FR-37 (4-wheel drive).

About Arizona Trail

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The Arizona National Scenic Trail is a complete non-motorized path, stretching 800 diverse miles across Arizona from Mexico to Utah. It links deserts, mountains, canyons, forests, communities and people. The Arizona Trail Association’s mission is to protect, maintain, enhance, promote and sustain the Arizona Trail as a unique encounter with the land.

Content from Official Website, Rincon Wilderness web site, and Arizona Trail Official Website