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Wasson Peak Circle Route

  4.1 ( 19 ) Favorite


8.4 mile 13.5 kilometer loop


Ascent: 1,905' 581 m
Descent: -1,912' -583 m
High: 4,673' 1,424 m
Low: 2,914' 888 m


Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 45% (24°)


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Trail shared by Sandy Hilton

Head up King Canyon Trail, down the Hugh Norris Trail and Sendero Esperanza in this strenuous loop.

Sandy Hilton

Features Views · Wildflowers


This route is a tough hike up King Canyon, but the reward is a great view from Wasson Peak and then a terrific and fast descent on the Hugh Norris Trail.

Need to Know

Park in the parking lot across the road from the Desert Museum.


To begin this loop, head up the old jeep trail at the end of the parking lot, which is the King Canyon Trail. About 1 mile up, you'll see Sendero Esperanza coming down in the left. Keep going straight to stick to the King Canyon Trail. Be aware that the climb is tough, ~12%, and pretty rocky. Be aware that you'll likely be slowing down considerably on this route.

At the junction (3 miles from parking lot) with the Hugh Norris Trail, take the right fork to the top of Wasson Peak just a short 1/3 of a mile. Though this short trail is steep, the views at the top are worth it! You'll enjoy scenic views of the whole Tucson basin, making for a perfect place to catch your breath before a fast descent.

Once you've enjoyed the views from Wasson Peak, backtrack and then head down the Hugh Norris Trail - a sandy, and fun trail. Turn left on Sendero Esperanza which is a bit rocky but continues down past the picnic spot to the dry river bed. Continue down the river bed, also known as the King Canyon Wash. That will bring you back to the parking lot, where you can congratulate yourself on completing an excellent and strenuous hike!

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Jul 5, 2019
Sophie W
https://socalhiker.net/hiking-wasson-peak-in-saguaro-national-park/ Drank 2-2.5 liters RT. Go early to beat the heat! We hiked from 0530-0950. 7.7mi — 4h 20m
Apr 7, 2019
Hugo C
8.2mi — 5h 17m
Mar 10, 2019
Greg Francis
It can get very windy up on the ridge line views are great and the wildflowers on the high Norris trail are beautiful
Feb 20, 2019
Andy Chaffin
You can also finish with the Gould Mine route back to the parking lot.
Jan 25, 2019
Ryan Brouwer
Jan 24, 2019
Ryan Brouwer
Jan 5, 2019
Brad Strathman
The route up to Wasson Peak ends with a 360 view of Tucson and beyond. Great workout and worth the effort to get there. 8.4mi
Dec 23, 2018
Stone Patrick

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 19 votes


  4.1 from 19 votes
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in Arizona


53 Views Last Month
2,176 Since Dec 31, 2016



View west from the saddle below Wasson Peak
Mar 28, 2018 near Tucson…, AZ
Looking west from Wasson Peak.
Aug 2, 2017 near Tucson…, AZ
Saddle before heading up to Wasson Peak.
Aug 2, 2017 near Tucson…, AZ
Tucson Mountain from the King Canyon Trail
May 5, 2015 near Tucson…, AZ
California poppies. EVERYWHERE!
Mar 19, 2019 near Tucson…, AZ
Cacti blossoms over Tucson.
May 5, 2015 near Tucson…, AZ


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