Saturday, March 3, 2018

The John Krein Trail in the Tucson Mountains

Today was the day Jim was allowed to resume being a free range human.  We had planned to get the bikes out, but the wind forecast was not promising.  After reading Pam’s post about the John Krein trail in the Tucson Mountains, we were interested in finding somewhere new to hike.  However, prudence dictated that our first hike since the stent should not be 5.5 miles.

We found a map of the trail and decided to hike it in reverse, since we would start out on flatter, easier terrain.


The Green Valley Hiking Club had published a description of the hike in the Green Valley newspaper.  It was somewhat helpful.  I have cut and pasted it here and added photos.

Drive west on Ajo, north on Kinney, then east on Sarasota.  Park at the paved parking lot at the end of Sarasota.

Join the Starr Pass Trail just east of the trailhead parking area and go left.  (Do not walk up toward the kiosk, go left on the wide stretch of desert.)


On your left there will be a crested cactus.


Follow the Starr Pass Trail through an open gate and continue on as the trail winds its way through shallow washes below the silhouette of imposing cliffs to the east. (Just through the gate, the trail splits, take the left branch.)



If the cairn is still on the trail, don’t turn here.


In about two-thirds of a mile from the trailhead, the trail comes to an open area with a gate to a residential area straight ahead. Turn right at this point to continue on the trail, proceeding in a north easterly direction for a short time before again heading northwest.


This is the trail, it’s indistinct and not marked.


After while, you’ll tee into another trail, also not marked.  Go left.


In about 1.5 miles from the trailhead where you turned right on to the trail at the second gate, and another open area, the trail swings northeast again and begins a modest climb. The David Yetman Trail will shortly come up from a wash on the left. This is the end of the Starr Pass Trail (it's been renamed) Sarasota Trail, and you will now follow the Yetman for about a quarter of a mile to the junction with the John Krein Trail.  (It’s a big wash, the Yetman trail is somewhat difficult to see.)


This is where Yetman and Starr Pass Sarasota join up.  Now you’re on Yetman.


Shortly before the John Krein Trail, the Yetman will drop into a large wash. As you emerge from the wash, there will be a clearing and a smaller trail leading off to the right. This is the John Krein Trail. The junction, as the previous one, is unmarked. Follow it up to the saddle, clearly visible, about 250 yards to the southwest.  (The trail is easy to miss.  We had to actively look for it after exiting the wash.)


The John Krein Trail and starts up with a steady climb to the saddle, where you’ll have views to the south and west and be able to overlook a large trailer park.

This is where we stopped and turned around.  It was enough hike.


If you continue on to the really high point, you do this:
At the saddle, the trail takes a sharp left and continues up, following the ridge line. It will eventually level off somewhat, with a few ups and downs and some false summits. Continue along the trail to the point where it drops steeply down from a saddle. But don’t go down. From this saddle, you can see Cat Mountain, a little over a mile away and across a wide wash. Leave the trail at this point, working your way up the rocks on your left, following one of the faint trails. Continue to the top and then on to the end of the promontory. This is the overlook and your turn around point.
This was a nice hike.  We haven’t been on that side of the mountain, and it’s really pretty.  The saguaro cacti are very happy there, and there are many of them.  There are also some other side trails yet to be explored, so we now have so more varied opportunities for walking in the desert.


  1. So encouraging that Jim was out and hiking again. That was fast!

  2. Great to see Jim out hiking so soon. No more "heartburn"?

  3. Isn't it great to find new places right smack in the old places! Good to see Jim out and about.