Passage #8 - Rincon Valley

The Arizona Trail across Marsh Station Road is temporarily closed. Pima County and the ATA are working with the Arizona Department of Transportation to approve and install the necessary improvements to make this high-speed road crossing safe for trail users. When finished, there will be a user-activated crossing light that will alert cars that someone is crossing the road. Until then, please avoid this crossing. If you want to use the northern part of the Arizona Trail, you can access it from Colossal Cave Mountain Park or Pistol Hill Road.

Three Bridges Location:  Gabe Zimmerman TH to Saguaro National Park

Length:  14.8 miles

Southern Trailhead:  Gabe Zimmerman TH
- GPS Coordinates:  32.01362° N, 110.64730° W

Northern Trailhead:  Saguaro National Park - Hope Camp
- GPS Coordinates:  32.13336° N, 110.64893° W  

Trail Route Description:  From the Davidson Canyon-Gabe Zimmerman trailhead the trail drops down into Davidson Canyon, joins Cienega Creek, goes under the train trestle, and then climbs out of the canyon on the north side. After joining a two-track, the route turns sharply back to the southwest and then crosses Marsh Station Road. From here the trail heads west and then north across several drainages. It crosses a pipeline road and then goes under some powerlines. From here it climbs up to a saddle and a view of the La Posta Quemada ranch and the south end of Colossal Cave Mountain Park. The trail switchbacks down and then around the ranch to the east. It enters the park and parallels Posta Quemada Canyon past the campground and up to a park road. After crossing the road, it parallels it and then comes to the La Selvilla picnic area. From here it runs north-northwest up to Pistol Hill Road, crosses this road and then the X-9 Ranch Road, and continues up through the Rincon Valley. After passing through a gate the trail crosses Rincon Creek and then reaches a kiosk at the boundary of Saguaro National Park. From here the trail works its way over to a gate and then north up to Hope Camp.

Difficulty:  Easy to Moderate

Season(s):  Fall, Winter and Spring (current weather forecast)

Water:  Water can usually be found at Colossal Cave Mountain Park in El Bosquecito Campground and the La Selvilla Picnic Area, and at La Posta Quemada Ranch. There is seasonal water in Cienega Creek and Rincon Creek.

View of the Rincon Mountains Notes/Warnings:

  • All water along this passage should be purified prior to use.
  • A permit is required to enter Cienega Creek Natural Preserve. Please stay on the Arizona Trail route through this sensitive riparian area. If you remain on the trail, a permit is not required. Click here for more information.
  • A tour through Colossal Cave is an interesting side trip on this passage. There is a fee for the guided tours.
  • Mountain bikes are prohibited in the Rincon Mountain Wilderness at the very northern end of this passage.


  • USGS Topographic Maps: Vail, Rincon Peak and Tanque Verde Peak
  • Saguaro National Park map.
  • BLM Information Center maps.

For more information, contact:

Current Trail Information:

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