Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of hikes are available?

Each hike is a one-of-a-kind experience, and can be adapted for all levels of hiker. Those who choose a shorter hike like A Desert Experience can expect a two- to three-mile hike in the local area. A hike of this distance will take approximately two hours from start to finish.

More experienced hikers may want to choose a hike of a longer distance. Pima Canyon is a very popular, moderately-paced hike that will take you into one of the most beautiful canyons in the Catalinas. Blackett's Ridge, another very popular hike, is more strenuous, but the views from the top of this ridge overlooking Sabino Canyon are definitely worth the effort.

In addition to those hikes described on this website, custom hikes can be arranged for those who want a more unique experience.

How can I schedule a hike?

Scheduling a hike with Sierra Hikes is very simple.

Simply contact us at (520) 546-2122 or (520) 256-9064. Please be aware that we are often away from the phone, so you may be asked to leave a message. If so, we will very likely contact you that same evening to discuss your hike.

Of course, you may also contact us via e-mail by clicking one of the Contact links on this page.

Naturally, you will have questions about things that are not included on this website or in our brochure. Please feel free to discuss any of your questions or concerns with the guide who returns your call.

Please note that scheduling of hikes is done on a first-come, first-served basis. We have a limited number of guides and may not be able to fit your hike into our schedule on your desired day. The sooner you contact us, the better your chances of getting your hike on our calendar.

When can I hike?

Currently, we are only accepting appointments for hikes on weekends and holidays. Our guides are generally not available during the week. Depending on demand and our customer base, the schedule may be expanded in the future.

Hikes are normally conducted in the early morning hours. During the cooler months - mid-October through mid-April - hikes may start about 8:00 AM. During the very hot summer months, hikes may begin as early as 6:00 AM in an attempt to avoid the extreme heat.

Some hikes may also be scheduled during the evening hours. Please see the Available Hikes pages for more information.

What can I expect to see?

During your hike, the guide will point out interesting flora and fauna along the way. You will learn about the different types of trees, cactus, and flowering plants encountered along the trail and, if you're very lucky, you might see some of our desert denizens - coyote, javelina, Gambel's quail, mule deer, whitetail deer, vultures and hawks. You might even see some of our more secretive creatures - tarantulas, lizards, and snakes!

The trick to seeing wildlife is to hike early in the morning when the sun is coming up or early in the evening as the sun is going down. These are the times when more animals are active. Of course, maintaining some level of quiet during your hike will also increase your chances of spotting wildlife.

What do I need to bring?

The only things you will be required to bring are a pair of comfortable walking shoes (hiking boots or good sneakers are best), plenty of water, a nutritious snack, and a good attitude.

The amount of water you should bring depends somewhat on the time of year, the expected temperatures, your physical conditioning, and the hike you are planning. Please discuss this with the guide when planning the hike. One thing to remember - it is always better to have too much water than not enough. One more suggestion - drink plenty of water the evening before your hike. That way, you will be well hydrated before the hike and may not have to carry excessive water.

A snack is also essential on hikes of more than a few miles. A couple of energy bars or a piece of fruit and a sandwich will keep you strong on the trail and will enable you to more fully enjoy the hike. We have a few small daypacks available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please ask for one when you make your arrangements.

Of course, a camera is considered essential by many people and a small pair of binoculars can come in handy if you happen to have them with you. Just remember that anything you start with must be carried back out.

Sometimes a hiking stick or staff will be suggested. A few hiking sticks are available from the guide on a first-come, first-served basis. Please ask about a stick before starting your hike.

One last item that is essential for most people is adequate protection from the sun. A strong sun block (SPF 30) or a long-sleeved shirt and long pants will keep you safe from the strong sun and protect your skin from burning. Your skin can burn in as little as ten minutes under the right conditions. Please protect yourself and apply liberal amounts of your favorite sun screen at least 30 minutes prior to your hike.

More specific information will be provided when you schedule your hike.

Is hiking in Arizona dangerous?

Hiking in Arizona draws people from all over the world. Our distinctive environment, and the plants and animals that live here, are top attractions. Most people who hike in Arizona go back home with good memories and a few photographs. A very small percentage, however, are not so lucky.

The greatest dangers when hiking in Arizona are overestimating your skill and endurance, and underestimating the amount of water you will require during the hike. Provided you stay hydrated, chances are excellent that you will have a wonderful experience.

The next most dangerous thing on a hike is inattentiveness. People step into cactuses when positioning themselves to get the perfect photograph, or step on a loose rock because they're watching the wildlife. Be aware of your surroundings and you won't have any problems.

The least dangerous things on a hike are the creatures you may encounter. Tarantulas are harmless, coyotes always maintain their distance, and rattlesnakes are much more scared of you than you need be of them. The best things to do should you encounter a wild animal during the hike is to leave it alone, give it plenty of room, and let it crawl, creep, or run off of the trail. Oh, and take a couple of photographs!