Phoneline Trail Hike - part 1
I had just done the hike on Blacketts Ridge in Sabino Canyon, and thought I'd just go ahead and do the Phoneline trail, since it was nearby, and the time seemed right. To begin with, I didn't have very high expectations for this hike, since I had just hiked the Blacketts Ridge, which is above the Phoneline trail, and has bigger and better panoramas.
But, as I proceeded down this trail, I noticed a lot of beauty in Sabino Canyon that was missed from way up on Blacketts Ridge. It's just a different perspective, looking up instead of looking down, but it makes all the difference sometimes. I'll let you be the judge from viewing the pictures, but I would make the bold statement that this trail has every bit as much beauty as the Blacketts Ridge trail.
hikearizona.com often provides lots of very useful information, including distance, elevation, AEG, elevation gain, average duration time of hike, pictures along the trail and a write up of what to expect.
The main reason for hiking is to get fresh air, good exercise and interesting pictures, thus providing a good experience and it is, of course good for my health, and is a pleasant pastime.
Although one way to hike this trail is to do an out and back on this trail, and that is a good way to do it, because you have different perspectives going the different directions, I chose to ride the Tram up to the top, and then walk back down to the visitor center. Hiking down from the top you gain 560 but lose 1200 feet, so it's net downhill, but it doesn't feel very much like going uphill. It feels like a stroll in the park. Going just one way all the way to the visitor center is a respectable 5.5 miles, but at less than 4 hours duration, it doesn't take a huge commitment in time. Well worth the time in my opinion.
The weather on that day was like most days in Tucson, it was nearly perfect, but a little bit on the warm side with the exposed nature of the trail. I brought along 3 liters, and it was about the perfect amount. This trail is very exposed, so in the summer when it's hot, take extreme measures in terms of protection from the sun's heating effects, but it's short enough that not much water was needed in the winter.
The hiking in Arizona in the fall and winter and spring. Only risk in winter is that you can have rainstorms, which translate to snowstorms in the mountains from December- March. All of the hike was below about 4,000 feet and very exposed(no shade), so generally speaking, it's extremely rare to see snow or ice on this trail, and it always melts off in a few days or sooner.
On the day when we hiked the The Phoneline trail, I got a start on hiking at about 10:30AM. I needed to go to the visitor center and get a ticket ($10) for a ride to tram stop #9, the last stop at the top of the part of the canyon where the tram runs. The hike gains about 300 feet going up the north end of this canyon-side trail. This trail can be hiked in about 4 hours. There were some good panoramas looking in most every direction, see the pictures.
This is a very nice hike, and suitable for nearly any skill level person who can commit to a few hours for a pleasant walk. It's not taxing, and there are only a couple of places where you feel like you're on a cliff or shelf above the canyon.
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Last Update: March 22, 2016
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