Bushwack Mt. Gibbon - part 2
This bushwack/hike is an out and back. If you're looking at the short distances involved and thinking that this will be a pud stroll in the woods, then think again. The getting up to the ridge is tough hiking, or at least it was for the route that we took. I think that there might be a trail from the saddle, and that might be better than the one that we took. The route we took was a boulder hopping bushwack, and very steep. Ug. The main difference between a bushwack and a hike is for a hike you need a trail, but a bushwack is trailblazing. Although Hike Arizona's report suggested that there was a trail, it's a faint one if there is one at all, at least for the route we took up the side of the mountain.
Once up on the ridge, it's pretty easy to follow the ridge around to the summit. All you have to do is just keep going up to the highest point you can see. When you can't see any higher points, then you've arrived at the summit.
For this hike you part at Gordon Hiribayashi campground/trailhead and you pretend that you're going to Sycamore reservoir. Before you reach Sycamore saddle, you vector off to the left where there is a trail headed right toward Mt. Gibbon. The trail only lasts about a quarter mile or so and then sputters out. From there you need to get up to the ridge, and it's not an easy bushwack, but it is fortunately a short mile bushwack getting up to the ridge.
Once on the ridge, you just follow it around counter clockwise to the summit. You end up going up and down about 2 or 3 times to get to the final summit where you can look down on Bear canyon. If you like you can continue down further south from the summit south until the mountain starts to roll off for an even better view of Bear canyon, and better pictures. If you have plenty of time, I recommend doing that. If you run out of time, then be satisfied with the summit and head on back to the trailhead.
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 is an exposed trail with almost no shade at all, so you probably want to have a good hat and sunglasses.
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. Fortunately, because the bushwack is (relatively) low elevation, and with lots of exposure, it almost NEVER will have snow or ice.
This hike was a "meetup hike", and we left the trailhead at about 9:30AM. I wouldn't recommend leaving the trailhead any later than that without a headlamp. For this trail, 3 liters would not be too much in mid spring when it's warmer, less is needed when it's cold in January.
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Last Update: March 17, 2016
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