Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,298.00 ft (395.63 m)
Trail type
14.00 mi (22.53 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

AZT Passage 8: Rincon Valley is a 14-mile point-to-point section of the roughly 800-mile Arizona National Scenic Trail. This moderately rated section runs from Gabe Zimmerman Trailhead to Saguaro National Park located southeast of Tucson, AZ. It is accessible for runners, hikers, long-distance backpackers, equestrians, and mountain bikers. 

Passage 8 extends from Davidson Canyon to the southern boundary of Saguaro National Park. The trail is mostly singletrack with a few short ups and downs, leading to a longer, gradual descent. This biologically diverse section features thornscrub and semi-desert grassland environments, beautiful geology and the chance to see unique wildlife such as coatimundi and Cooper’s hawks. 

This passage takes you through Cienega Creek Natural Preserve, a lush riparian corridor that has a perennial stream and harbors a population of native fish. It also supports cottonwood and mesquite trees as well as several species of birds, including some that are rare. A permit may be required to enter Cienega Creek Natural Preserve. However, if you remain on the Arizona National Scenic Trail through this sensitive riparian area, a permit is not required. If you are not

After Cienega Creek, the trail enters Colossal Cave Mountain Park, which is home to one of southern Arizona’s most impressive cave formations. Colossal Cave Mountain Park has a fee and you must stay in the designated campgrounds of La Selvilla or El Bosquecito. This desert park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features camping, snacks, and guided cave tours. A tour through Colossal Cave is an interesting side trip on this passage. There is a fee for the guided tours.

The trail continues north through the Rincon Valley, a vast landscape with desert scrub, tall saguaros, and inspiring mountain views. It crosses the Rincon Creek, another riparian corridor, and concludes at the park boundary.   

NOTES: Mountain bikes are prohibited in the Rincon Mountain Wilderness at the very northern end of this passage.

Check the Arizona Trail Water Report for current information at:


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Riparian Environment. Colossal Cave. Scenic Desert.


Some areas may be crowded.

Trailhead Elevation

3,445.00 ft (1,050.04 m)

Highest point

3,698.00 ft (1,127.15 m)


Family friendly
Backcountry camping
Big vistas
Bird watching
Guided tours

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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