Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Mt. Bigelow, Coronado National Forest

Santa Catalina Mountains,
Pima Co.,

Hiking Trails:
Mt. Bigelow Trail
Kellogg Trail
Butterfly Trail

Total Time: 1:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.1 Miles

Pros: Amazing drive to trailhead, great views and nice forest
Cons: Towers on top take away from the natural setting

I was in Tucson, Arizona, and decided to take a hike near Mount Lemmon high in the Santa Catalina Mountains. I had been to the Catalina Highway many years ago, and wanted to make a return trip with a hike in the area. (I think the Catalina Highway is one of the most scenic roads in the country.) Since I was busy with work, I could not do a long hike, so this was the perfect size for something short, yet with a good climb, and including a drive up Catalina Highway.

I parked at the Mt. Bigelow trailhead, and took the trail up to the Kellogg Trail, and then to the summit. The climb is about 600 feet in elevation gain to the summit by the towers. There are great views as you ascend, and the area is nicely forested with pine. At the summit I used a shortcut trail to cut down around the loop and back to the junction with the Butterfly Trail, and took the Butterfly Trail down a short distance past the norther ridge to the area where there was still some snow. I then turned around and took the Bigelow Trail back down to the parking area.

Map of the Route

Plaque About the Forest at the Trailhead 
Pine Trees at the Beginning of the Hike

Interesting Rock Formation

Pine Forest

Butterfly Trail Marker

Mt. Lemmon Summit from Mt. Bigelow

Nice View Facing North

View of the Desert Blue

Trail Marker at the Mt. Bigelow Summit

Me at the Trail Marker at Bigelow Summit 

Butterfly Trail Descending the Northern Slope of Bigelow Mountain

Forested Area and Desert. Note the Snow on the Trail in the Distance

Panning East from the Bigelow View

View from Mt. Bigelow, Facing Southeast

View from Mt. Bigelow, Facing South

Forested Area Below Bigelow Summit, Facing South

Zoomed South Towards Thimble Peak

Forest Below Mount Bigelow

Desert on the Northern Flank of the Catalinas

Snow on the Butterfly Trail

Northern Flank of Bigelow Mountain 

Me on the Snowy Bigelow Trail, in Short Sleeves

Mt. Bigelow Summit and Towers in the Distance

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