Backpacking Adventure - Hiking Route
Our plan for our backpacking adventure was as follows: Day 1: Depart from Marshall GUlch trailhead and hike west - northwest up to Marhshall Saddle, then take Wilderness of Rocks trail and then go southwest for a total of 4.3 miles, along the way you'll pass the Lemmon Rock Lookout trail#12 junction, and finally you'll cross Lemmon Creek, when it crosses the trail as it heads southeast toward Sabino Creek. Plan is to find a nice level spot not too far from the creek, so one would not have to hike very far to make water, normally about 100 to 200 yards from the stream if an appropriate camping spot could be found. Planned to hike about 1 to 1.5 miles per hour, yielding a hike time of about 2.7 hours, which should get us to our campsite by about 3:00PM assuming that we leave the Marshall Gulch trailhead by about 12:30, since our ride leaves Le Buzz at about 11:00AM, and it's about a 90 minute drive to the trailhead. We would rest for 15 minutes when we found the campsite, and then start setting up camp at about 3:15. Camp should be set up by about 4:30, and we should eat at about 5:00PM. That should give us about an hour to make water before sunset, and if we have the energy and inclination, we could do some night hiking and look around the area. Or, we could go to bed at about 7-ish right after dusk, as it gets cold after the sun goes down up in the mountains on a clear night.
Day 2: Get up after sunrise, when it starts to warm up, and make breakfast. After breakfast, pack everything back up and prepare to hike. We would leave from our campsite near Lemmon Creek, and proceed southwest and complete the remaining mile or so of Wilderness of Rock trail up hill to the junction with Lemmon trail #5. At that junction follow Lemmon Trail #5 south southwest uphill until you reach the large rocks at the peak of the trail at about 7,500 feet, then continue downhill the rest of the hike on day 2, continuing on Lemmon trail about 1.9 miles until you reach Romero Pass. At Romero Pass, continue downhill, and follow Sabino Canyon West fork trail#24 south-southeast for 1.8 miles until you reach the junction with Cathedral Rock trail #26. Find a campsite near that junction, also near Sabino Creek for water. Set up camp and have dinner, after dinner look around and then go to bed. The elevation of this campsite should be somewhere near 5,500 feet, so it won't be as cold as the prior evening. /font>
Day 3: Get up after sunrise, and make breakfast. After breakfast, pack up camp, and prepare to hike. Today, we have uphill hiking 1.5 miles, and up about 1,500 feet to the peak of the trail around 7,000 feet. When we reach the trail peak or saddle, stop and have lunch, and if you have the energy, scramble up about another 700 feet to the base of Cathedral rock directly west and above the trail, for some really good pictures, as this is the highest point on the front slope of this mountain range. Of course, one would want to find a large rock behind which to stow your backpack, rather than lugging the pack up the 700 feet, and instead only take your water bottle and camera for the side hike. After you get enough pictures, you continue along the route for another 1.5 miles all downhill until you reach the junction with the Esperero canyon trail #25. If you still feel spunky at this point after 3 miles, and want another side hike, you could go to ventana rock along this trail west for a 4 mile round trip side hike, that goes uphill about 900 feet one way, and down the other. If you decide that you're not interested or too tired, continue on the Esperero Canyon trail #25 for about 0.9 miles to Bridal veil falls. Find a suitable campsite and stow your pack. If there is not enough water to make drinking water in the creek, then climb up on top of the falls, and there should be pools with plenty of water there. Othewise Mormon spring is about 0.9 miles further down the canyon. Set up camp and have dinner. After dinner look around and then go to bed when it gets too cold. /font>
Day 4: Get up after sunrise, and make breakfast. After breakfast pack up camp, and perpare for the last days hike down Esperero Canyon trail #25. This days hike will be mostly down hill, but will be a little longer than the other days at 5.8 miles to the Sabino Canyon recreation area parking lot. For lunch stop along the trail, perhaps at Cardiac gap and enjoy the view with your lunch. Catch a ride at the parking lot.
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Last Update: March 13, 2015
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