Hike Green mountain ( Trail #21) Part 1
Directions: From Tanque Verde Road in Tucson turn north on Catalina Highway and follow it until past mile marker 11, just before mile marker 12 to Middle bear canyon picnic area. There are outhouse, parking and picnic facilities there, which makes it convenient to use the restroom just before you start out on your hike. Go just above the picnic area 30 or 40 feet and you should see a defined trail. You continue east on that trail, and follow it for about 2.4 miles until you reach Bear Canyon saddle. This is the very upper end of Bear canyon. You have some nice views, and you can climb up the ridge to the right, and either bushwack around to the east side of the mountain, or continue along a trail to Guthrie Mountain peak about 1.1 miles southeast from the saddle. If you decide not to go up to Guthrie Mountain, then continue on over the saddle and bear left, the trail becomes apparent after the stone top on the saddle is crossed. The stone top obscures the trail on the saddle. After you leave the saddle you continue down the backside of the saddle for about a half mile or so. You will pass a trail junction which goes to maverick spring - if you decide not to visit that spring which goes about 0.4 miles east to the spring, then you go straight / bear left at the junction. Continuing on Green mountain trail 0.3 miles, you come to another junction of a trail that goes to Brush Corral trail. If you turn right, this trail is called Trail #21a. If instead, you go straight at this trail junction, you will continue to climb out of the valley for about 1.3 miles until you come to a stealth junction. You should bear to the left to get to the green mountain upper trailhead. If you do not bear left, but go instead to the right you end up at san pedro Vista parking lot, and you will have to hike back down 0.3 miles back down the Catalina Highway to get to the Green mountain trail upper trailhead.
This trail past the Bear Canyon Saddle hikes along the eastern slope of the Santa Catalina mountains and provides views of the mountain range about 30 miles east of the Santa Catalina range, and the beautiful carved canyons on the eastern slope of the Catalinas. Anothe feature of this trail is the psychos at Arizona fish and wildlife haven't ruined it with their insane policies on longhorn sheeps and dogs. Hence Dogs are allowed to accompany hikers on the trail. This trail is reputed to have an AEG (accumulated elevation gain) of only 1,500 feet, however if you use a GPS with software, you will find that it actually gains 2,500 feet, and you will notice it in your legs. It was a beautiful day when we hiked on this trail. When we ate our lunch up on Bear saddle, the temperature was in the low 60's. With the light breeze that was blowing up on Bear canyon saddle, it was too just a bit cool for comfort, and I had to put my jacket back on. The elevation at the saddle is about 7,000 feet, which is about 4,000 feet higher elevation and about 13 degrees cooler than down in the Tucson valley. We ate our lunches a the saddle. It's about half way, and if you start hiking about 10:00AM, you'll be eating between noon and 1:00PM, so it's a good place to plan on eating, and you can enjoy the view while you eat. I took sandwiches when I went on the hike. I ate my whole lunch up on the saddle. Sometimes I prefer to have a snack about once an hour, and perhaps eat about half of my lunch an hour or two before lunch, depending on how long the hike is that day. If you take this hike, don't forget to bring plenty of water, because the high elevation desert is dry and you'll need at least 3 liters of water, and possibly more per person. It took about 4.5 hours to cover the approximately 4.5 miles in distance with about 2,500 feet AEG. The average of about 1 miles per hour seems slow, and it can be hiked in probably 3 hours, but you won't have time to stop and take pictures or look around for that matter if you get through it in 3 hours - what's the point in rushing? You won't have time to talk with your hiking buddy, you won't notice the natural beauty along the trail. You won't have time to enjoy the trail. A lot of people practically run, some even DO run on trails, as an method of exercise. I get it, if you have gone on a trail 20 times, and it's just a vehicle to aerobic exercise, but if not, do yourself a favor and slow down and take in the sights. I had injured my knee 2 weeks earlier, and was starting to feel better when I began hiking this trail, but by the end of the trail, my knees were starting to feel pretty sore. Although I was in a little pain, I did achieve my goal of getting good exercise, plenty of fresh air and lots of good pictures of the canyon and the vistas both of the Santa Catalinas, and the mountain rainge in the east. So, all in all, it was a good day to be alive!
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Last Update: Feb 06, 2015
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