Here's the quick scoop on the loop: Park at the Hugh Norris trail head (#6 on the map) and head on up Hugh Norris trail, go left on Sendero Esperanza trail, left down Dobe Wash, follow the dirt road briefly, then right into Bajada Wash, to make your way back to your vehicle. As a bonus, Saguaro National Park has good signage on their trails!
Now for the details: The first mile or so up Hugh Norris is mostly stone stairs on decomposed granite trail. The trail is on the North side of the mountain so it is LUSH right now from all the rain we've had recently. Plus, as you rise in elevation the views expand on the horizon. And you pass by, and have views of, giant boulders all the way to the top. We even saw tiny patches of snow near the top, left over from Monday's "storm"!
Now Hugh Norris is described as a strenuous trail and yes, it is a long and fairly steep climb, but the trail is good, not rocky, and the switchbacks and stairs make for an easy ascent.
Once you reach the top you're done with the stairs and have nice decomposed granite as you traverse a ridgeline for a while, enjoying spectacular views. Only a small portion of the ridgeline trail is on the South side of the mountain which tends to make for sharp, rocky trail.
At the Sendero Esperanza junction you make your way down the North side of the mountain in easy switchbacks. Then you enter Dobe Wash and a gentle downhill in soft sand. After maybe a quarter mile on the dirt road, you'll turn into even lovelier Bajada Wash which features many boulder strewn water courses which are fun to imagine in seasonal flood.
|Heading up the Hugh Norris trail. Check out all the grass from the recent rains!|
|Some ocotillo's are starting to get leaves.|
|As we head up the hill the views expand before us.|
|Huge, perfectly shaped yucca!|
|Heading along the ridgeline.|
|Looking back at the ridgeline we've just come across...|
|Looking North and down into the valley we'll be descending in to.|
|You can see for miles and miles...|
|The Dobe Wash was lush and green too. We were happy to be going downhill in the sand, not up.|
|In the Bajada Wash rocks formed channels from water flow.|
|We saw several pools in the Bajada Wash leftover from Monday's rain.|
|Happy Valentine's Day!|