Soldier #53

Area Status: Temporarily Closed

This trail follows the route of an old road and power line from the Catalina Highway to the site of a now-abandoned prison camp beside the Highway. The camp has been razed and the power line removed, while the road has been closed and is being allowed to return to a natural condition. The trail follows portions of this old route and provides access to an excellent example of Sonoran desert habitat that is conveniently close to Tucson. As the trail winds up the mountain, it visits a few ridge tops that provide good views back toward the city before dropping into Soldier Canyon, where there are some picturesque waterfalls when the stream is running. The boulder-strewn cascades over which those falls tumble are pleasant to spend a few moments by even when they are dry. The trail’s rating is moderate, as is its length, and it is relatively easy to follow from beginning to end. In a few places, however, spur paths that lead to overlooks or other off-trail places of interest have developed through repeated use and could prove a bit confusing. The trail ends at a the western limit the old prison camp, from which it is a short walk on the road to a closed gate that marks the trailhead.

At a Glance

Current Conditions:

Closed in response to the Molino 3 Wildfire.

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

General Information

Directions: Upper trailhead–Drive up the Catalina Highway to the turnoff into the old prison camp beyond milepost 7. Turn left and follow the road to a closed gate that marks the trailhead. Lower trailhead–This trailhead is located on the north side of the Catalina Highway about a mile from the bottom of the mountain.


Day Hiking

Desert setting. Views of Tucson. Rocky canyon. Convenient location. 2.5 miles of this trail are within the Pusch Ridge Wilderness. When hiking 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): Agua Caliente Hill
Elevation desc 3,200 - 4,900 feet
Difficulty Level: More Difficult


Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
2.6 miles

  Elevation : 
3,200 feet - 4,900 feet