Beauty of Seven Falls

Friday, January 17, 2014

Brown Mountain Trail in the Tucson Mountains

Beautiful desert mountain scenery
We hiked The Brown Mountain Trail this week.   There were 11 of us along for the hike, JoAnn, Jim, LaNeta, Gordy, Connie, Don, Nancy, Chun, Linda, Kirk, and myself.  The weather was warm and sunny…perfect for hiking, but promised to warm up considerably in the afternoon. We’ve been having warmer than normal temps for this time of year – usually 70’s every day, so we make sure we have plenty of water and Gatorade along.  

Jim cheesing
On our way....

LaNeta, Jim, Linda, Connie and Joann

Look at that sun!!!!
We came out of our jackets within the first 30 minutes!

Brown Mountain Trail is in the Tucson Mountains.  Many people think that it is called Brown Mountain because of the rich brown color of the rocks and boulders and rock walls along the way, but not so.  It was named for Cornelius B. Brown who was an agriculture agent in Pima County from 1920 to 1945 and is known as the “Father of Tucson Mountain Park”.   He was a strong proponent of land preservation in the Tucson Mountains.  In April 1928 Brown and Arizona Senator Carl Hayden were successful petitioning the U.S. Department of the Interior to set aside 28,988 acres of land to protect from homesteaders and mining.  This land was the creation of the Tucson Mountain Park.  

Decisions decisions.....

I know it's early, we haven't even made it to the trailhead, but am I wrong for thinking, "maybe we can just do lunch first"?

The trail is approximately 5 miles long round trip with a 350 ft. elevation gain.  The guidebooks always just give you the highest elevation gain on the trail that you will have to climb.  Sometimes you climb to that elevation more than once.  In the case of the Brown Mountain Trail, it reaches that height a total of 3 times.  It is listed in the guidebooks as a moderate hike and I would have to agree with that.  We climbed this trail last year, and as I progress as a hiker I have to say that I can tell that I am growing.  My whining was very minimal this time.  

Clear shot in the distance of the 3 rises we will have to climb
Even though we have done this trail before, what keep our hikes fresh and new and exciting are the people.  We welcomed 4 new hikers to the group Wednesday.  Welcome shouts out to Nancy, Linda, Kirk, and Chun!  It was wonderful visiting with them along the trail.  

Kirk, Don, Gordy, Jim, and Chun

Gordy and Kirk

Nancy and Linda

We got a chance to see many saguaro, prickly pear, and jumping cholla and ocotillo cactus.  I was actually able to get a shot of one lonely ocotillo blossom, which really stood out.  Not much color out there on the trails this time of year.  One of the best things about the Brown Mountain Trail is the surrounding views.  Everyone that is able should make the effort to take a hike in the mountains, even if it is one of the really easy trails.  You are able to get a completely different feel for the real beauty here.  

Can you say desert landscapes?
Deep brown against sandy background
First sighted ocotillo blossom....
Our hike moved along very well along the ridge on the way up the first elevation gain.  This area is home to Old Tucson, The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and Gilbert Ray Campground just to name a few spots of interest.  

Tucson Desert Museum at the bottom of the hill
I think we were all pretty happy to reach the picnic area.  We had a great view of the Tucson Desert Museum as we rested.  After about a 30 minute lunch break we headed back down.  We did the loop and followed a different trail on the way back.  This trail was filled with all types of cactus and this is where the mountain wanted to let us know that although we are allowed to hike, camp, hunt, bike, and just sometimes come up and watch the sunset – it is still wild.  

Heading back, another successful hike under our camelbacks.  

See you on the trails.....

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