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U.S. Forest Service

Rincon Mountains

Rincon Mountains banner scene. Photo by Andinistaloco at

Desertscrub with many saguaros. The lower elevations of the Rincon Mountains are desertscrub with many saguaros. Photo by: Charlie McDonald.

Open pine forest. Open pine forests are found at the highest elevations. When this snowy winter scene was taken, it was dry and warm at the mountains’ base. Photo by: Leonid Kunyansky at

Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium cernuum). Nodding blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium cernuum) is one of the rare plants in this mountain range. Most other species in this genus have blue flowers, thus the misleading common name for this one. Also, it is not a grass, it is in the iris family. Photo by Pedro Tenorio-Lezama at

High Point: Mica Mountain, 8,664 feet

Elevation Change from Base: 5,664 feet

Vegetation at Highest Elevations: pine forests

The highest peaks of the Rincon Mountains, Mica Mountain at 8,664 feet and Rincon Peak at 8,482 feet are within the Saguaro National Park. The Coronado National Forest manages lands on the northern, eastern, and southern flanks of this mountain range. Vegetation at the highest elevations is open ponderosa pine forests. Lower elevations have oak-pine forests that grade into desert grassland and desert scrub. Giant saguaro cacti are the vegetation’s signature feature near the base of the mountain range.

Special Places:

  • Saguaro National Park, Rincon Mountain District: This eastern unit of the park has a tourist loop and many short trials for viewing the saguaro cacti and other desert plants; but, actually the Saguaro Wilderness Area occupies most of this park unit. This wilderness of 57,930 acres includes the highest peaks of the mountain range. It has an extensive trail network and six backcountry campgrounds that are available through reservation from the Park Service.
  • Rincon Mountain Wilderness: This wilderness area of 38,590 acres is managed by the Coronado National Forest and surrounds the Saguaro Wilderness on three sides creating a total of 96,520 acres of contiguous wilderness. The wilderness has three access points and all trails connect with those on the Saguaro Wilderness.

Special Plants: 4

  • Arabis tricornuta
  • Muhlenbergia xerophila
  • Sisyrinchium cernuum
  • Stevia lemmonii

Further Reading: