I arrived at the Red Hills Visitor Center on the West side of Saguaro National Park around 230pm. I wanted to hike and see the park, but was worried about the early December sunset at 515pm.
I decided on hiking the beautiful Hugh Norris Trail and seeing how far I could get. This trailhead is located off of the Bajada Loop Drive.
It didn’t take long to find the trailhead and start hiking. I quickly realized that the trail pretty much goes up indefinitely, but that was good since the return trip would be faster. I took a series of pictures as I ascended to the first pass.
Giant 30-40 foot saguaros were everywhere! There was a cool rock formation, similar to a hoodoo, off to the right as well.
The sun was getting lower in the sky by now with a pretty orange glow starting to appear on the clouds behind me.
At the top of the first pass were several large rocks that you could scramble and take in some gorgeous 360 degree views. Of course, I took advantage of that. Off in the distance you could see mountain ranges all around me.
I hurried on through the similarly spectacular terrain, glancing over my shoulder repeatedly at the sun setting creating orange and pink stripes across the sky. Soon the dirt seemed to change to a more yellowish tone and off to the right was a fenced off hole in the ground. I wasn’t sure if it was an old mine, a cave, or the den for a mountain lion. I didn’t tarry long. Almost immediately after the “big hole” as I dubbed it was my turnaround point at the trail interjunction with the Esperanza Trail.
I had made it 2.7 miles with a return trip looming of another 2.7 miles with a race against the setting sun. Fortunately for me that included non stop views of the sun setting which made the hike all that more enjoyable.
Man what a great hike! I was able to do the 5.4 miles in about 2 hours and 10 minutes which could have been faster if I hadn’t stopped to take so many pictures. If you are in Saguaro definitely hike this trail. Thanks for reading. rk