Mount Wrightson via Florida Canyon

At 9,453 feet, Mount Wrightson is the highest peak around Tucson. There are various ways up it, and the hike from Madera Canyon via Baldy Saddle is easily the most popular.

If you want a somewhat harder hike, climbing Mount Wrightson up Florida Canyon and along the Crest Trail gives you one of the longest routes, with the most elevation gain. The trailhead is at 4,32o feet, so you get 5,133 feet automatically, without counting any of the descents on the Crest Trail. The whole out-and-back hike is 15.6 miles with about 5,500 feet of climbing. It took me 8h 10m.


Drive down I-19 and take Exit 63 for Continental Road in Green Valley. Turn left and drive East for about a mile, then turn right following the sign for Madera Canyon. In 7.3 miles, just after Mile Marker 7, where the paved road bears right, continue straight on Hwy 62, the big well-graded dirt road signed to Box Canyon. After 0.3 miles take the right hand fork for Hwy 62A signed for Florida Work Center. Follow this for about 3 miles to the parking area by the gate to the Research Station.

The Hike

The route is well marked with metal signs, although you’ll find some minor inconsistencies in the mileages shown on the different signs. All of which are different from the mileages shows in the Green Trails Map (which are too high).

Follow the Florida Canyon trail up to the left of the Research Station to the Florida Saddle. As you climb the trail, you’ll have a constant view of the beautiful but horrible North Ridge of McCleary Peak on the right.

At Florida Saddle turn right and follow the trail up for 0.3 miles until it splits. Take the left hand trail signed for the Crest Trail. Unfortunately the Crest Trail mostly stays to the left of the crest so you rarely get views on both sides. Eventually you’ll descend to Baldy Saddle from where another 0.9 miles takes you to the top of Mount Wrightson.

Return the way you came, looking down Florida Canyon with dread as you realize how far you have to descend – 3,440 feet 😀.

Links and Other Clicks

Hiking McCleary Peak, North Ridge

Hiking around Tucson

Other Hiking Pages