West Fork Trail #24

Area Status: Open

At the end of Sabino Canyon Trail #23, if you choose to continue deeper into the Pusch Ridge Wilderness, you have a choice to proceed one of three different ways. One of those choices is to follow Sabino Canyon farther upstream in the direction of Romero Pass and the West Fork. Along this route, you’ll be able to enjoy more of the desert oasis supported by the water that flows above and below ground in the Sabino Basin. After the trail drops down to the creekbed from the Sabino Canyon/West Fork trails junction, it wanders close to the creek for a considerable distance. There are several perennial pools here and a healthy community of riparian vegetation, as well as excellent views of Sabino Canyon. Trail conditions are good in the basin and the trail is easy to follow, but creek crossings can be hard to negotiate when the water is high. After crossing Sabino Creek for the last time, the trail begins climbing gradually up West Fork Canyon. The trail stays with this smaller canyon for a considerable distance before it climbs out of the canyon for the last time. It then traverses and switchbacks its way toward Romero Pass and a junction with the Cathedral Rock Trail #26. Cathedral Rock Trail provides a connecting route to a number of other Pusch Ridge Wilderness trails, but it is hard to follow and not recommended for inexperienced hikers.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: From January 1st to April 30th, traveling more than 400 feet off this Forest Service system trail is prohibited due to the bighorn sheep lambing season. 36 C.F.R. § 261.53(a) No animal may be brought, or allowed to enter, into the Restricted Area at any time during the year. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, dogs, domestic sheep, and goats. 
Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport are prohibited. This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters, unless provided for in specific legislation.

Dogs are prohibited in the Bighorn Sheep Management Area portion of the Pusch Ridge Wilderness.
Water: Purification of water is recommended prior to use.
Operated By: Santa Catalina Ranger District
Information Center: Santa Catalina Ranger District  520-749-8700

General Information

Directions: This trail can be accessed from Sabino Canyon Trail #23, 2.5 miles in from the trailhead; from the Bear Canyon Trail #29, 10.3 miles in; from the Romero Trail #8, 5.6 miles in; from the Mt. Lemmon Trail #5, 5.8 miles in; and from the Box Camp Trail #22, 7.1 miles in.


Day Hiking

Access to upper Sabino Basin, Streamside trail, Watchable wildlife, Good views of Sabino Basin, Arizona Trail segment. This trail is entirely within the Pusch Ridge Wilderness. The canyon riparian areas that make this trail such a pleasant place to visit have been damaged by thoughtlessness and overuse. Please take special care when you visit these fragile areas. When hiking or horseback riding in remote areas go with a companion whenever possible. Always tell someone where you’ve gone and when you expect to return. USGS Map(s): Mt. Lemmon
Elevation desc 4,300 - 6,100 feet
Difficulty Level: More Difficult


Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
6.8 miles

  Elevation : 
4,300 feet - 6,100 feet