Hiking to Finger Rock - A Photo Essay
Our First Attempt of the Season to Reach Finger Rock.
On Christmas Eve my son Victor, whose nom de plume on HubPages is Sith Penguin, and I decided to take some time away for Christmas preparations to go hiking.
For years we have been hiking the two trails in the Coronado National Forest that are near our home and lead to the top of Mt. Kimball which rises 7,255 feet above sea level or a little less than 5,000 feet higher than the elevation where we live.
We have talked about dropping one car off at the parking lot by the Pima Canyon Trailhead and driving to the Finger Rock Trailhead and hiking back over the mountain to the Pima Canyon parking lot but have never attempted it.
This year we would like to just get somewhere near the top of Mt. Kimball from either trail - or, at least reach Finger Rock - and, now that summer is over and the weather cooler we plan to begin launching more attempts to reach the mountain.
But on this day, we didn't start until 3:30 in the afternoon and our goal was to simply get some exercise and enjoy the spectacular scenery.
Finger Rock - This Season's First Objective
Tucson, Arizona is located in a valley surrounded by four mountain ranges.
The Santa Catalina Mountains, in which Finger Rock is located, stretch along the northern edge of Tucson.
The Santa Catalina’s are the largest and highest mountain range bordering the city with peaks rising as much as 9,000 feet.
As can be seen on the map and pictures below, the city has expanded into the foothills of the Catalina’s with homes being built right to the base of the towering mountains.
To the west of the city are the Tucson Mountains which are the smallest of the four mountain ranges that surround the city. The highest point, Wasson Peak, is only 4,687 feet high.
Living on the northwest side of town, we are close to both of these mountain ranges and enjoy hiking in both of them. The other two mountain ranges, the Rincons on the east side of the city and the Santa Rita Mountains which are located forty miles south of Tucson, are more distant from us and thus rarely visited by us.
Map Showing Locations of Trail Head and Finger Rock
Start of Finger Rock Trail at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains where N. Alvernon Way in Tucson, AZ 85718 ends.
Distance from trail head is approximately 3 miles with Finger Rock with the trail rising about 3,800 feet between the trail head and the rock.
Finger Rock is located in the Santa Catalina Mountains and the trail head begins at the base of the mountains right where Alvernon Way ends.
Along the west side of Alvernon Way, just before the trail head, is a parking lot which is open during the day and offers free parking for those using the trail. Parking is not allowed on the street along Alvernon Way.
Paved roadways go off to the left and right at the end of Alvernon Way but these only provide access to homes in the gated communities on either side of Alvernon Way.
These expensive homes in these communities are built right along the edge of the base of the mountain and their back yards are easily viewed from the trail.
Directions To Finger Rock From Central or East Tucson
From central or east Tucson turn north off of any of the major east-west streets (22nd Street, Broadway Blvd, Speedway Blvd., Grant Road, etc.) on to Swan Road and continue north to Skyline Drive.
Turn left on Skyline Drive and, staying in the right lane, head west to Alvernon Way.
Turn right on Alvernon Way and go to the end.
The free parking lot will be on the left just before Alvernon Way ends.
Directions to Finger Rock Train from I-10 and West Tucson
If you are traveling on Interstate-10 on Tucson's west side, you can take either the Ina Rd (Exit 248) or Orange Grove Road exit 250 east from the Interstate. You can also head east on either of these two roads from Oracle Rd.
Between North 1st Avenue and Campbell Ave, Ina Road will bend to the right and become East Skyline Drive. Continue on Past Campbell a short distance to a sign indicating to veer to the left for Skyline Drive while the main portion of the road veers to the right and becomes E. Sunrise Drive
If you miss this turn off for E. Skyline Dr. continue in the left lane of E. Sunrise a short distance to the intersection of E. Sunrise and N. Swan Road. Turn left at the signal on N. Swan and follow the directions in the capsule above to reach Finger Rock via Swan Rd.
Continue a short distance on E. Skyline and you will see a sign instructing you to turn left ahead to reach the Finger Rock Trail.
Turn left on N. Alvernon Way and drive to the end where you will see the parking lot and trail head.
If you exit at Orange Grove instead of Ina Rd. simply follow Orange Grove to where it intersects and ends at E. Skyline Drive a mile or so past North 1st. Ave.
Turn right onto E. Skyline Drive and follow the directions above for Ina Rd.
Map Showing Roads Leading to Finger Rock Trail Head
This home has a spectacular view - and equally spectacular property taxes.
Start of Trail - Finger Rock is straight ahead between the two peaks
2003 Forest Fire on Mountainalmost reached the homes we just passed.
Homes on edge of Coronado National Forest
Victor Surveying Trail
We advance up the canyon
It's 4:15 & Time to turn back - With its zoom lens my camera appears to have gotten closer than we did.
Even on December 24th one can work up a sweat hiking in these parts.
The Moon rising
And To All a Good Night
© 2006 Chuck Nugent