Blackett's Ridge

Distance6.5 miles
Elevation Gain1700 feet
Difficulty LevelStrenuous
Approx Hiking Time4 hours
Best SeasonsFall, Winter, Spring
Cost per person
(two person minimum)

This tough little hike climbs a very prominent ridge between Sabino and Bear Canyons on the northeast side of Tucson, ending 1500 feet above the road at the bottom of Sabino Canyon.

Departing from the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center, the trail follows a wide path along the southern edge of the park to a road which leads to Bear Canyon. Eight-tenths of a mile from the Visitor Center, the trail begins in earnest. Climbing gradually, the trail eventually reaches the turn-off to Blackett's Ridge. From this point, it's another 1.7 miles to the top, with lots of very steep switchbacks to conquer along the way. We'll pause at "the couch" to rest for a moment before tackling the steep trail.

Now is also the time to mention "false summits." Looking ahead up the trail, you will see a point that appears to be the top of the ridge. However, as we climb, you will find that you reach the "top" in a very short time and discover another "summit" just a short distance up the trail. Once again, however, you've been fooled. There are three (or four, depending on how you count) "false summits" along the trail to the top of Blackett's Ridge. Don't be discouraged. We've also heard them referred to as "character builders."

Chugging along, we'll pause briefly at the top of each false summit to catch our breaths. At the top of one of these summits, you will notice that we are definitely on a ridge as the walls fall away several hundred feet to a very rocky bottom on each side. Eventually, the trail becomes relatively level. It's at this point that you will know you're almost at the top. Don't stop now!

Just another few minutes on the trail, and we will reach a sign indicating we've reached the end of the Blackett's Ridge Trail. Hooray! It's time for congratulations. You've just conquered one of the toughest little climbs in the Tucson area. Now stop and take a look around. The views from this prominence are spectacular!