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Rincon Peak

Very Difficult


14.4 mile 23.2 kilometer out and back
Very Difficult


Ascent: 4,288' 1,307 m
Descent: -4,288' -1,307 m
High: 8,376' 2,553 m
Low: 4,214' 1,284 m


Avg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 58% (30°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Chris McD

Long, tough, rewarding route to Rincon Peak offering great views of southern Arizona.

Chris McD

Features Birding · Views · Wildlife

Pedestrians only (no dogs, horses, mountain bikes) allowed on the trail.


Rincon Peak is similar to Mt. Wrightson in the Santa Rita Mountains. Both are prominent peaks easily seen from Tucson. Both routes are long and strenuous, and both offer spectacular views across southern Arizona.

Need to Know

The last 1/2 mile up to Rincon Peak is very steep.


Exit I-10 at Mescal Road (Exit 297). Head north on Mescal Road which eventually becomes FR35. A high clearance vehicle is necessary. Begin your outing at the Miller Creek trailhead.

The Miller Creek Trail heads in a westerly direction from the trailhead. After about a mile, the trail enters Saguaro National Park East. After approximately four miles, the Miller Creek Trail intersects the Rincon Peak trail. Please beware that the Rincon Peak trail and Heartbreak Ridge tail overlap for a little bit. Signage usually shows Miller Creek trail connecting with Rincon Peak trail, but information could exist showing the Miller Creek trail leading to the Heartbreak Ridge trail for a short distance then Rincon Peak trail. The Rincon Peak Trail is an "in and out" trail to Rincon Peak. The round trip mileage from the Miller Creek trailhead to Rincon Peak and back is 16.2 miles.

An option to break up the route would be to take the Miller Creek trail to the Happy Valley Campground, set up camp and take a lighter pack to Rincon Peak, heading back to Happy Valley Campground to spend the night. Visitors could then return to the trailhead the next day. Please remember camping is only allowed in designated areas within Saguaro National Park. One must have a permit to camp anywhere in Saguaro NPS.

Just to be safe, plan on carrying all your water. There might be water in various places along the trail, but no guarantee.

Flora & Fauna

Visitors pass through several transition zones on the way to Rincon Peak.


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Sep 28, 2019
Anna Kittle
Strenuous, but worth every step! 16.2mi — 11h 45m
Sep 28, 2019
Emily Havard
millions of ladybugs at the top, amazing view 16.2mi — 11h 45m
Mar 31, 2019
Overnight at HVCG w/Jenna. Hard with packs to CG on class 2 w/water. Steep ending. Crossed 11 streams in Saab on way in! Many fallen trees acros trail 15mi — 8h 30m
Sep 8, 2018
Brandon Burr
Mar 12, 2018
Becca Cloud
Feb 11, 2018
Ryan Money
Jan 26, 2018
Jade Shepherd
I died 14.4mi
Jul 19, 2014
Elliot Gardner
Started at the base of Miller Creek for a longer hike of around 8 miles. 8mi

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 8 votes


  4.8 from 8 votes
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in Arizona


144 Views Last Month
6,415 Since Apr 12, 2016
Very Difficult



December is  fine time to hike Rincon Peak.
Jan 2, 2020 near Mescal, AZ
Looking at Rincon Peak from the start of the trail, near Happy Valley Campground.
Jan 20, 2016 near Mescal, AZ
The rocky summit of Rincon Peak rises out of ponderosa pine forests.
Jul 28, 2016 near Mescal, AZ
Sweeping views from Rincon Peak make for a great place to watch clouds.
Jul 28, 2016 near Mescal, AZ
Looking east over Happy Valley with Little Rincons in the distance.
May 17, 2016 near Mescal, AZ
View looking east across Happy Valley with Galiuro Mountains and Pinaleno Mountains in the distance.
May 17, 2016 near Mescal, AZ