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Bog Springs Professional Review and Guide
"Nestled among the high summits of the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson, Madera Canyon is one of the premier bird-watching areas in the country. In all, more than 200 species of birds have been spotted here, many of which are considered rare north of the Mexico border. A primary reason for the canyon’s attraction to birds is that it offers cool refuge from the desert heat in the summertime. Providing a wonderful introduction to the natural beauty of Madera Canyon is the hike to Bog and Kent springs. Unfortunately, the 23,000-acre Florida Fire devastated the upper reaches of this hike in July 2005."
--Scott S. Warren, 100 Classic Hikes Arizona (The Mountaineers Books).
This trail has good & bad. First the good - Bog Springs Trailhead is easily accessible via paved road only 14 miles off of I-19 south of Tucson. Heading south, take Exit63 and go east. There are good signs showing the way. Next - you CAN BRING YOUR DOG!!! We took our husky. The trailhead at Bog Springs parking area heads up the hill with a steady climb - you gain nearly 3,000 feet from the parking area to Kent Spring. I do NOT recommend hiking the loop counterclockwise - more on this shortly. The trail sucks from the parking area to the Bog Springs fork - you're following a jeep trail through lowland scrub. Once you get to the fork, the trail gets really good. It's steep, definitely not for the wimps or out of shape. The canyon up to Bog Springs is simply stunning - shaded, cool, oaks & Ariz. Sycamores in abundance. You'll quickly forget you're in Arizona. The real ball busting starts from Bog Springs to Kent Spring - it's only 1.2 miles, but it's straight up. Oh my, is it steep. If you make it to Kent Spring, then comes the bad. At the Spring, which is nothing more than a tiny trough of stillwater full of mosquito larvae, you pick up a steep jeep trail again. It is so steep and slippery, that it's SO easy to turn an ankle. Be careful - the hike down from Kent Spring to the parking area is by far the most miserable, yet scenic, part of the trail. Afterwards, drive to Tucson's Barrio Brewery and have a cold IPA. Yum yum.
I love this trail because it is one of the few shady trails in Arizona, and it has water - at least for part of the season. I recommend hiking the loop counter clockwise because you will be in the shade when you are doing most of the climbing.
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