Gould Mine Loop, Saguaro West - Tucson Mountain District: King Canyon Trailhead, Saguaro National Park, Arizona
Gould Mine Loop - 2.5 miles
Saguaro West - Tucson Mountain District: King Canyon Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||2.5 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||2,916' - 2,916' (3,237' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+394' total roundtrip elevation gain|
Gould Mine Loop - 2.5 Miles Round-Trip
The Gould Mine Trail, Sendero Esperanza Trail and King Canyon Trail form an easy 2.5 mile loop through the Tucson Mountain foothills.
Hikers will enjoy diverse ecology and excellent views of Tucson Mountain Park from high points along the south flank of Wasson Peak. The following description travels clockwise:
From the parking lot, drop into and cross the wash. A faint path leads up the wash's north bank to a sign marking the Gould Mine Trail.
The Gould Mine Trail climbs steadily on a path to the Sendero Esperanza Trail (1.0 mile : 3,160'). These steep, south-facing slopes are ideal habitat for saguaros, and you'll pass many along the way.
Turn right on the Sendero Esperanza to continue the Loop. The Sendero Esperanza Trail undulates past mining remains and the Mam-a-gah Picnic Area to the King Canyon Trail junction (1.5 miles : 3,177').
Turn right just beyond the sign and drop into the wash (see Worth Noting for alternative routing from this point). This particularly wide wash is lined by steep walls and dense brush. Deep sand and several dry falls make for interesting travel on the .9 mile descent back to the King Canyon Trailhead.
- N32 14.815 W111 10.025 — King Canyon Trailhead
- Petroglyphs can be found in the wash near the Sendero Esperanza-King Canyon Trail junction. Ask a Park Ranger about their locations.
- A copper boom at the turn of the century led to waves of mining claims and speculation in the Tucson area. Though some were productive, the Gould Mine yielded only $9,000 worth of low-grade chalcopyrite.
- The Mam-a-Gah picnic area is named after a Tohono O'odham Indian Chief.
- From the Sendero Esperanza-King Canyon Trail junction, the above description follows a wash (southwest) toward the King Canyon Parking Lot. This is an unofficial alternative route that actually travels just below the official trail, which is a less eventful fire road just above the wash (south side). The route described here is equal in length but arguably more interesting, and is therefore recommended.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- There is no camping in the Tucson Mountain District of Saguaro National Park. Backcountry camping is permitted only in Saguaro East; reservations and a free permit are required and can be obtained at the visitor center.
Directions to Trailhead
From Tucson, follow Speedway Blvd west (it will turn into West Gates Pass Road) until you reach Kinney Road. Turn right onto Kinney Road and follow until you reach the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum (2 miles southwest of the Red Hills Visitor Center). Parking for the King Canyon Trailhead is directly across the street (north) of the museum entrance.
Saguaro National Park: Tucson Mountain District
27 North Kinney Road
Tucson, AZ 85743