Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
3,996.00 ft (1,217.98 m)
Trail type
10.12 mi (16.29 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.

Mount Wrightson is the highest point in the Santa Rita mountains and the 9th highest in Arizona with an elevation of 9,456 feet. The Mountain is named after a miner named William Wrightson who was killed by Apache warriors in 1865.  The Old Baldy trail is the shortest, but steepest route to the top of Mount Wrightson. This out-and-back trail is just over 10 miles round trip and gains around 4,000 feet of elevation as you travel through multiple ecological zones.

The Old Baldy trail starts from the Mt Wrightson trailhead at the end of Madera Canyon road. The trailhead contains a picnic area and restrooms. Travel on a wide trail for .2 miles before turning left onto the Old Baldy Trail and heading towards Josephine Saddle. As you continue up winding switchbacks you will have opportunities to see a large variety of Southern Arizona's flora. Once you reach the junction at Josephine Saddle at 7080 feet elevation, you will follow signs to continue on the Old Baldy trail.

You will then hike for 2 miles up to Baldy Saddle at 8780 feet elevation. Before you reach the saddle you will see Bellow Springs on the right side of the trail. This is a seasonal spring, so don't rely on it to be running during the drier times of the year. The Baldy Saddle is where you will get your first views of the Sonoran Desert landscape to the East.

From the Baldy Saddle have just under a mile to the summit. From the saddle, head south on Crest Trail #144. This trail will lead you across the saddle and up tight switchbacks to the summit.

At the summit of Mount Wrightson you are rewarded with panoramic views of the Sonoran Desert and mountain ranges of Southern Arizona and Mexico. There is also a great view of the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory on nearby Mount Hopkins.

The hike to Mount Wrightson is difficult but rewarding as you summit one of the highest peaks in Arizona. This trail can get very hot during the day. There also may not be a reliable water source, so be sure to bring plenty of water.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Vehicle Fee

Open Year-round



Wildlife. Good Views.



Trailhead Elevation

5,460.00 ft (1,664.21 m)

Highest point

9,456.00 ft (2,882.19 m)

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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