Pima Canyon, Arizona 85718, USA
Hiking to Metates in Pima CanyonOne of the quickest and most immersive city-into-wilderness hikes is a trip from Tucson to Pima Canyon. From downtown Tucson, it's a quick drive up through the Santa Catalina foothills to the trailhead parking lot—tucked into saguaro-studded estates where neo-Tuscan mansions with glass walls look out over the city. After a bit of rocky scrambling, you'll enter the canyon: lush with cottonwood and mesquite trees. The mesquite seed-pods, when ground, produce a healthy and sweet flour that you can buy in town—perfect for tortillas and cookies.
In pre-Columbian times Native Americans would hike in to search for mesquite seed-pods and then would use the bedrock to grind the pods for flour. A few miles into your hike, start searching for holes near the mesquite trees and you'll see these metates (the grinding holes) that date back to the mid-8th century A.D.
This is an ideal hike for fall and winter--summer is just too hot, unless you go very early, and then you need to watch out for monsoon flash-floods washing down from the higher elevations...
about 6 years ago
Hiking in Pima Canyon
Is as beautiful and challenging as seeing this gila monster was exciting. The desert has a way of bringing peace to a frazzled soul while kicking your butt on the climbs.