Mount Wrightson Super Trail 134

Coronado National Forest, Arizona

Elevation Gain3,562ft
Trailhead Elevation5,416ft
Elevation Min/Max5416/7091ft
Elevation Start/End5416/5416ft

Mount Wrightson Super Trail 134

Super Trail #134 is a hiking trail in Santa Cruz County, Arizona. It is within Coronado National Forest and Mount Wrightson Wilderness Area. It is 6.8 miles long and begins at 5,416 feet altitude. Mt. Wrightson Picnic Area (elevation 5,469 feet) and another picnic site are near the trailhead. There is also parking, information maps, an information board, benches, waste baskets, and restroom. The Riley Saddle saddle, the Baldy Spring and Sprung Spring springs, and the Little Shot Mine (elevation 6,834 feet) quarry can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Josephine Canyon Trail, Old Baldy Trail #372, Crest Trail #144, Gardner Canyon Trail #143 and Super Trail/Old Baldy Trail.

Mount Wrightson Super Trail #134 Professional Reviews and Guides

"A well-graded trail to the summit of Mount Wrightson, the highest peak in the Mount Wrightson Wilderness in the Santa Rita Mountains. The hike: This hike uses the newer, well-graded Super Trail to take you most of the way to the summit of Mount Wrightson, the highest point in the Santa Rita Mountains. The steeper but shorter Old Baldy Trail is used for the final ascent of the peak, and for part of the return hike."

"The classic loop over the top of the Santa Rita Mountains, this hike uses the well-graded Super Trail to ascend Madera Canyon and the southern slopes of Mount Wrightson to Baldy Saddle, where a spur trail can be hiked to the top of Mount Wrightson, the highest peak in the range.

From Baldy Saddle, the loop uses the Old Baldy Trail for a fast descent to the trailhead. Views from the summit extend over much of southern Arizona and far into Mexico. In addition, there is the chance of seeing rare bird species in Madera Canyon."

"This is a newer, longer, and more gradual route to ascend the 4,000 feet from the trailhead to Mount Wrightson’s summit. But what it gains in being less steep is lost in distance—it’s not an easier trail.

The lower sections have some attractive riparian areas, and pine forests provide shaded hiking up to Josephine Saddle, where the Super Trail coincides briefly with the Old Baldy Trail. Then the Super Trail almost circumnavigates the mountain as far as Baldy Saddle, where it again overlaps with Old Baldy for the last 0.9 mile to the summit, including the steepest section of this route."

"Once your dog is watered and leashed, take the Super Trail 134 southeast from the parking area. Your path initially lies under the shade of a cool oak and mixed-pine forest; however, there are large sections of this trail that are exposed.

Watch summer temperatures carefully while planning your trip, and even on the mildest days, bring more water than you think you need. Super is a “super” steep trail in places; you will gain 4000 feet in 13 miles. What you and your dog will enjoy about this longer, drier route is that it is almost entirely within the Mt. Wrightson Wilderness Area and is much less crowded than the Old Baldy Trail."

"Towering above the surrounding desert floor, Mount Wrightson (elevation 9453 feet) and the Santa Rita Mountains offer a superb example of what are often called “sky islands.” By providing a considerably cooler and wetter climate, these desert ranges feature ecosystems that are strikingly different from those of the desert below. In addition to finding shady oak and pine forests, hikers may also discover a surprising selection of fauna.

Madera Canyon, in which this hike begins, is world-renowned for the great number of birds that frequent its wooded environments, including the elegant trogon and Lucifer hummingbird. In 2013 a jaguar was sighted in the Santa Rita Mountains. Unfortunately, several portions of this hike were burned over by the 23,000-acre Florida Fire in July 2005."

"A long day hike or backpack to the summit of the tallest peak in the Santa Rita Range, 8.1 miles one way.

The Super Trail was built in 1966 to supplant the Old Baldy Trail, a steep and erosion-prone route to the summit of Mount Wrightson. The new grade is so gentle and well cleared that forest service officials recommend it as a nice sunset trail or moonlight hike during a full moon. This trail is also unique in that it offers one of the few treks above 8,000 feet that is generally passable year-round."

Mount Wrightson Super Trail #134 Reviews

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We did the Old Baldy Trail in perfect weather. My wife is 5 months pregnant and found the elevation change a bit rough, but in non-pregnancy days, this would have been a moderate trail. Definitely do it clockwise from the trailhead at the parking area. We messed up and did it counter-clockwise and the ascent was pretty steep (2 hrs up, 1 hr down). The clockwise direction has a gentler incline. This was a very nice trail, though, with great vistas. Highly recommend, and despite it being Memorial Day, it wasn't totally overrun.
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We only hiked to Josephine Saddle. 6.2 miles round trip took us about 4.5 hours. Pretty steady grade makes the trail not too difficult. There were many great views of Santa Cruz Valley on the way up to Josephine Saddle. Route provided more shade than I expected, at least 50% of hike. Sprung Spring was not too impressive and useless for drinking water. Many trail maps have wrong distance between Sprung Spring and Josephine Saddle--it's only 0.2 miles. We took Old Baldy trail down to save some time--a good idea although it is a rockier trail.
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Great running trail. The holly and wild rose can cause a few problems above 8000' if you are in shorts (I was), but overall a well-designed trail with good grade. Made it to the top in 1:58:54, descended the Old Baldy Trail (also very nice--less sun exposure). The fire damage is a pity, but part of the experience.
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It is hard to believe this hike is in the desert. It seems more like a Colorado hike. The first 2/3 is very wooded, with the last 1/3 being steep and rocky. Pack a small recorder for great 360 view at top. Remains of an old fire spotting station can be found. Make it an over night trip if you can and set up camp at Josephine saddle. If you can't, start before 0600 to beat the lower elevation heat. Temp at night at camp was mid forties. Put this on your to do list if in the Tucson area. P.S. plenty of water at Sprung Spring on Super Trail.
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This is an awsome hike. There is not many places with a 360 degree view like this one. The trail is well maintained. Near the top it does get a little slick so watch your footing. This is excellent to get out of the heat in the Tucson area.
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Long, steep, and beautiful. The hike from Wrightson saddle to the top is wonderful.. wild flowers and great views.

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Trail Information

Coronado National Forest
Nearby City
Mount Wrightson Wilderness Area
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Additional Use
Coronado National Forest; Mount Wrightson Wilderness Area
Local Contacts
USGS Mount Wrightson
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018