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Rincon Mountain Wilderness

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Rincon Wilderness

The 38,590-acre National Forest portion of the Rincon Mountain Wilderness borders Saguaro National Park on three sides, and remains pleasantly remote in spite of its close proximity to Tucson. One reason for its seclusion is that, except for a few rough 4-wheel drive roads on the Wilderness’ northwest side and some trails leading into it from the Park, access is limited to two trails off the Mescal Road (Forest Road 35) on the area’s eastern side. This road, which leads through the communities of Mescal and Happy Valley, is generally passable to passenger vehicles. The Rincon Mountain Wilderness is rugged and steep with many deep canyons and rocky ridges. Portions of the area are difficult to reach on foot and virtually impassable on horseback. Miller Creek Trail is closed to horses in the Park. Elevations range between 3,880 and 7,325 feet on the Forest, reaching 8,482 feet at the summit of Rincon Peak in the Park. Settings on the Forest range from desert grassland to pinyon, juniper and oak woodlands. Trails into the Wilderness offer quality opportunities for solitude among the area’s secluded canyons and remote ridges. Both Turkey and Miller Creeks are good examples of desert riparian habitats. The trails that lead into these areas continue on into the Saguaro National Park and link up with an extensive trail system there.

At a Glance

Fees All three trails leave National Forest and enter the Saguaro National Park. The Park requires permits for overnight camping.
Restrictions: Motorized and mechanized vehicles and equipment, including mountain bikes, are not permitted in Wilderness.
Closest Towns: Rincon Mountain Wilderness is the major mountain range east of Tucson.
Water: Water is scarce here, but some high country streams may flow year round. Purification of water is r
Operated By: Safford and Santa Catalina Ranger Districts
Information Center: Santa Catalina Ranger District 520-749-8700

General Information

Directions: To Turkey and Miller Creek trails, drive east 39 miles from Tucson on Interstate 10 to the Mescal road exit (#297). Drive north on the Mescal Road which becomes FR 35 to the trailheads (16 miles). To Italian Spring Trail, take Tanque Verde road east. The road changes to Redington Pass Road; continue east approximately 8 miles. Turn south on FR 37 (4-wheel drive).


Nature Viewing

Hide detail HIDE

Viewing Scenery

Excellent opportunities for solitude. Access to Saguaro National Park. Good views. Desert grasslands to oak woodlands diversity. Maps: Coronado National Forest Recreation Map (Safford and Santa Catalina Ranger Districts). USGS Quads: Galleta Flat West, Happy Valley, Piety Hill, Rincon Peak, Soza Canyon. Trails in Wilderness: Turkey Creek #34, Miller Canyon #28, Italian Spring #95. Please abide by Wilderness rules and observe NO TRACE! ethics.
Areas & Activities


  Elevation : 
3,880 feet - 7,325 feet