December Art Hike Recap - Seven Falls, Sabino Canyon, Tucson, AZ
For our last Art Hike of 2022 we visited one of my favorite hikes: Seven Falls in Bear Canyon.
I love recommending this hike to people visiting Tucson because you get a little bit of everything: desert landscape, plenty of saguaros, canyon views, many, many creek crossings, and of course a waterfall at the end!
Elephant Rock below, can you see it?
We met at the Bear Canyon Trailhead, rather than in Sabino Canyon, to get closer to the start of the trail. There's about a half mile hike up an uneven, rocky trail and then another half mile on paved road until you reach the mouth of Bear Canyon.
This hike is longer and more challenging than some of the other Art Hikes we have done. I was excited to do something harder and have a longer trail to enjoy with others. We also had a smaller group which was good because this trail is very popular and can get crowded.
One thing to know about this trail is that you will cross the creek 7 times on the way to the falls and 7 times coming back. So making sure you have proper footwear and trekking poles to help balance when crossing is definitely recommended. Or if you don't mind getting wet, come prepared to splash through the water to your heart's content.
I also want to make sure I say a quick word about flash floods. During or right after rains or monsoons it is not safe to be in a canyon. On the sides of each creek crossing we saw the remnants of downed trees, branches and other debris wrapped around trees and rocks a good 5-8' above the current waterline. A gentle creek like the one in Bear Canyon can get high and dangerous fast if a flash flood comes through. Sadly many people have lost their lives to flash floods in canyons around Tucson so make sure you're smart and plan your hike accordingly.
After we finished our 7 creek crossings the trail begins to climb up the side of the canyon until you finally see what you've been hiking towards: Seven Falls!
It really is quite stunning to hike through the desert and then a canyon and come to a waterfall in the middle of nowhere. The water coming down is from Mt Lemmon. When we hiked this in December the water was normal but after a heavy rain or snow the waterfall can be raging!
We found a place in the shade to have lunch but soon got chilled since the sun was keeping us warm. We spent some time exploring the first upper section of the falls and did some painting. Two birders were in the group so it was fun to see what they spotted with their binoculars.
It was hard to leave this beautiful oasis in the middle of the desert canyon but we had to head back. The hike back is always faster and the creek crossings were easier since we remembered the best way to cross them earlier in the morning.
It was so nice visiting one of my favorite trails that I hadn't hiked in a while. Can't wait to go back again!
Seven Falls Trail, Tucson AZ
Date hiked: December 10, 2022
Total miles: 7.3 mile out and back
Elevation gain: +/- 985 feet
Total time: 6 hours
Land acknowledgement: Ancestral lands of the Tohono O'odham and Yaqui