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

Saguaros are particularly abundant on the Gould Mine Loop

Saguaros are particularly abundant on the Gould Mine Loop

Round-Trip Length: 2.5 miles
Start-End Elevation: 2,916' - 2,916' (3,237' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +394' total roundtrip elevation gain
Skill Level: Easy-Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

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.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N32 14.815 W111 10.025 — King Canyon Trailhead

Worth Noting

  • 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.

Contact Information

Saguaro National Park: Tucson Mountain District
27 North Kinney Road
Tucson, AZ 85743

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"Lots of damage from recent freezes. Go up King's Canyon (it's much easier up than down; ignore the guy who tells you it is the only way down, [he's just standing there} and come back down on Hugh Norris, a beautiful trail. Follow directions to the Mah Ga picnic area, but don't go there. When you get back down to the trailhead of King's Canyon, do not take the wash. Take the upward tending slate ramp. Big giants have fallen on the trail, victims of extreme weather. A few years ago it was a garden. It was Austrian hillside poppy explosion. The changes in the vegetation of the desert may be undetectable to some. I wish it were more lush and beautiful in the blooming desert for visitors this year."
Edna Russell  -  Anklam Road, Tucson, AZ  -  Date Posted: April 4, 2013


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