Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Box Springs Trailhead

Mount Lemmon,
Santa Catalina Mountains
Coronado National Forest,
Pima Co.,

Hiking Trails:
Box Springs Trail

Total Time: 1:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.2 Miles

Pros: Great mountain views and forested terrain
Cons: None

I love the drive up the Catalina Highway to Mt. Lemmon. It's one of the most scenic roads that I know, climbing to almost 9,000 feet above sea level, with vast differences of flora throughout the drive up. The drive starts in Tucson in the Sonora Desert, with lots of cactus and saguaro. As the road climbs through the Molina canyon, the saguaro are replaced by large Yuccas, and the vegetation increases. The first trees appear after that, with really interesting rock formations and then the "hoodoos", and then after Windy Gap, it's fully forested.

I drove up past the 8,000 foot level, which was fully covered in fresh snow from the storm from the night before. I parked at the Box Springs Trailhead, and took the Box Springs Trail for a little over a mile before turning back. The snow cover was several inches and I had boots, but didn't want to go too far away from the road all by myself in these conditions.

The heavy clouds alternated with bright blue sky, creating surreal scenes feeling like worlds apart from my hike the day before in the desert in Saguaro National Park. After reaching a nice rocky vista, I turned around and went back along the same route back to my car.

Map of the Route

Catalina Highway by the Trailhead

Snow Covered Trail and Dense Forest

Me at the Beginning of the Trail

Twin Trees along the Trail

Beautiful Scenery along the Trail

Full View from the First View

Me at the First View

Beautiful Winter Scenery

Surreal Mountain Scenery

Previously Burned Area of the Forest

Sweeping, Cloud-Covered View

More Interesting Scenery

Snow and Cloud Covered Mountains

Me at the View on the Way Back

Deep Blue Sky

View on the Return Route

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