“Head up King Canyon Trail, down the Hugh Norris Trail and Sendero Esperanza in this strenuous loop.”
— Sandy Hilton
Views · Wildflowers
This route is a tough run up King Canyon, but the reward is a great view from Wasson Peak
and then a terrific and fast descent on the Hugh Norris Trail
Need to Know
Park in the parking lot across the road from the Desert Museum.
No drinking water on route.
To begin this loop, head up the old jeep trail at the end of the parking lot, which is the King Canyon Trail
. About 1 mile up, you'll see Sendero Esperanza
coming down in the left. Keep going straight to stick to the King Canyon Trail
. Be aware that the climb is tough, ~12%, and pretty rocky. Be aware that you'll likely be slowing down considerably on this route.
At the junction (3 miles from parking lot) with the Hugh Norris Trail
, take the right fork to the top of Wasson Peak
just a short 1/3 of a mile. Though this short trail is steep, the views at the top are worth it! You'll enjoy scenic views of the whole Tucson basin, making for a perfect place to catch your breath before a fast descent.
Once you've enjoyed the views from Wasson Peak
, backtrack and then head down the Hugh Norris Trail
- a sandy, and fun trail. Turn left on Sendero Esperanza
which is a bit rocky but continues down past the picnic spot to the dry river bed. Continue down the river bed, also known as the King Canyon Wash
. That will bring you back to the parking lot, where you can congratulate yourself on completing an excellent and strenuous run!