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Tucson, Arizona 2016

Butterfly peak trail Hike - part 4

Our Crazy Post Retirement Wanderings Hiking and Triking


Butterfly peak trail Hike - part 4

This is a one way hike. We parked at the upmountain trailhead which is known as the Butterfly trail trailhead, and started hiking from the downmountain trailhead otherwise known as the Palisades trailhead. Generally speaking this was a really easy trail to follow. The only exception is the place where the trail branches off to go to the F-86 wreck.

We found quite a bit of information about this trail on hikearizona.com, It's the Arizona trails website, and it's a great resource for people who are looking for a hiking trail, especially near Tucson, Az.

hikearizona.com 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 idea always is to get fresh air, good exercise and interesting pictures, and that constitutes a good experience and is good for my health, and is a pleasant pastime.

This trail is perfect to hike in the winter when it's sunny, and not too hot... the 70's in the valley is about perfect, because the mountain is about 15F cooler than down in the valley. The exception is when there is snow and ice on the trail making it difficult to hike and slippery dangerous and / or risky.

One thing to remember about hiking this trail in the summer is that it's located in the desert southwest, and it's really too hot in the summer to do outside exercise without getting a heatstroke. Probably be mostly ok to great from about November to April. The summer wildlife such as rattlesnakes, gila monsters, tarantulas, scorpions, and other things come out in the summer.

It's magical to hike in Arizona in the fall, winter and spring. Only risk in winter is that you can have rainstorms, which translate to snowstorms in the mountains from December- March. As mentioned above, ice and snow on steep trails is the enemy of the mountain hiker. Low friction on steep smooth rocky trail surfaces are not good. Hiking poles and crampons are useful in dealing with snow and ice, but one still needs to be careful in ice and snow. But the rewards are definitely there for the winter hiker that performs careful planning and uses caution. For 1.4 miles of the 6 miles, there was significant ice and snow, up to 40 inches deep. The deepest part of the snow cover was on the north slope in the shade. The snow and ice slowed us down and took quite a bit more energy than it should have taken to hike the trail, had their not been the snow and ice.

Jason, my neighbor joined me on the hike, as well as a couple of ladies from the meetup group. On the day when we hiked the Butterfly peak trail, we got a start on hiking early enough in the day (9AM) so that we arrived at the upper trailhead at sunset. Perfect timing. The hike loses 1,900 feet along the trail leading to the turnoff to see the F-86 crash remains, and then gains just under 1,600 feet back continuing on to the upmountain trailhead. In the first half of the trail, in the upper elevations, you have several great panoramas looking out toward the east.

One should also bring a headlamp in case one has delays or loses the trail, during the day on the trail, so that one can make ones way in the dark along the trail to ones destination safely without staying the night out on the trail in the dark, or attempting to walk along steep trails without falling over a cliff to ones' death or injury.

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    Last Update: March 7, 2016

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