Palisade #99

Palisade Trail 99 map

You’ll enjoy good views and get a tour of most of the biological life zones which grace the slopes of the Santa Catalinas along this moderate to more difficult trail. From its upper terminus at Showers Point Group Campground, Palisade Trail starts out through stands of ponderosa pine and drops down the ridge which separates Palisade and Pine canyons. Upper sections of the trail are shaded and carpeted with pine needles. Views through the trees extend into both canyons and to the Sabino Basin below. In the distance, the city of Tucson spreads across the broad Tucson Basin. Mud Springs is the only reliable water source along the Palisade Trail, and after dropping into Pine Canyon to visit it the trail sidehills back to the ridge to treat you to expansive views of Pine Canyon, parts of the central canyons of the Santa Catalinas and the Front Range. Below Mud Springs, the trail drops into lower Pine Canyon down a two-mile series of steep but solid switchbacks which tend to be brushy and rocky for much of their length. The trail can be hard to find in this area.

At a Glance

Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Light
Restrictions: Motorized and mechanized vehicles and equipment, including mountain bikes, are not permitted in 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


Take the Catalina Highway off Tanque Verde Road in Tucson. Drive 4.2 miles to the Forest boundary and continue 19 miles to Organization Ridge Road just downhill from the Palisades Visitor Center. Turn left here and drive a quarter mile down the Organization Ridge road to the trailhead parking area. The Catalina Highway is paved and suitable for passenger cars but it may be snow-covered in winter when chains or 4-wheel drive may be required. In winter, Organization Ridge Road is closed, so you will have to hike about a quarter mile to the trailhead.


Day Hiking

5.1 miles of this trail are within the Pusch Ridge Wilderness. A trail full of views. Mountains to desert diversity. Access to Sabino Basin. Watchable Wildlife. Arizona Trail segment. USGS Map(s): Mt. Bigelow, Sabino Canyon
Elevation desc 4,100 - 7,800 feet
Difficulty Level: More Difficult


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  Area/Length : 
6.2 miles

  Elevation : 
4,100 feet - 7,800 feet