From the Highest Point Between Tucson and Mexico: A Hike up Mount Wrightson
Tucson is surrounded by mountains. As you look south, however, the highest and most distinctive peak is Mt. Wrightson (9,453ft/2,881m) in the Santa Rita range. Hike to the top and you'll be rewarded with a 360-degree view from the highest point between Tucson and Mexico. In fact, on a clear day, looking south from the top of the mountain, you'll see all the way into Mexico.
On the way, you'll drive and hike up through forested Madera Canyon — one of the best spots in the U.S. for birdwatching. Around 250 different species (including 15 different varieties of hummingbirds) of birds, have been spotted, some of which are normally only seen in tropical ecosystems. You're also likely to encounter deer and wild turkey as you drive up from the high desert grasslands south of Tucson.
This is a challenging hike: about 11 miles round-trip, with a four-thousand foot elevation gain. You'll be hiking mostly in forest, but at the top there's no shade and the winds can be formidable. Nonetheless—the views! City, wilderness, grasslands, mines, forested slopes, and endless mountain ranges...worth it!