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Green Mountain Trail

Santa Catalina Mountains

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Total Length3.9 miles
Highest Elevation:7300 feet
Lowest Elevation:6000 feet
Elevation Change:1300 feet
Difficulty Rating:C
Best Seasons:Spring Summer Fall Winter
Hiking Time:2.2 hours
Dogs:Dogs allowed

This trail description has not been revised since the Bullock Fire.

This is a nice short one-way hike which can be done in any season, although spring and fall are the best times to do it. The trail goes through different types of forest, and there are very nice views at the upper end. There are also a number of short side trails that you can take.

The way I describe this hike it is all uphill, but many people prefer to do it in the opposite direction as a downhill hike.

This hike is a one-way hike where you will need to do a car shuttle to get back to your starting point. To do this leave a car at the Upper Green Mountain Trailhead parking lot. To get to this trailhead drive past General Hitchcock campground, past Windy Point, past Geology Vista, and then look for the trailhead parking lot on your right. If you come to the San Pedro Vista you have gone a short distance too far, and if you come to the Palisade Ranger Station you have gone a couple miles too far.

One additional note; this trail doesn't actually go to the top of Green Mountain, it just skirts around its flanks.

Directions to Trailhead

•From the intersection of Tanque Verde and Kolb/Grant, head east on Tanque Verde until you get to the Catalina Highway, about 5 or 6 miles.

•Turn left on Catalina Highway (the only way you can go), and drive towards the mountains. After a few miles the road begins to climb into the Catalinas. Follow the road up into the mountains.

•You will have to stop at the U.S. Forest Service toll booth located near Molino Basin and pay $5 per car. These fees for recreational use will hopefully allow the Forest Service to continue to subsidize grazing leases and timber sales at their present generous levels.

•Pass Molino Basin, and then, Bear Canyon. Less than a mile after Bear Canyon turn right into the General Hitchcock Campground. If you get to the Windy Point Overlook you have gone too far.

Trail Description

Green Mountain Trail, FS #21
(General Hitchcock Campground to Bear Saddle)

Looking down Bear Canyon, with Thimble Peak framed in the distance.

On the climb up out of Bear Canyon.

Length: 1.8 milesHiking Time: 0.8 hours
Highest point: 6960 feetLowest point: 6000 feet
Trail goes uphill

There is no sign for the trail at the General Hitchcock Campground parking lot. Head to the rear of the campground and you will find a sign for the Green Mountain Trail at the far end, past the big water tank.

From the sign it is a little unclear exactly which way the trail goes since the arrows on the sign point straight into some bushes. Take the trail which starts to the left of the sign. Ignore the trail which heads off to the left just after the beginning and stay down in the dry streambed for about 30 yards. At this point the trail climbs the bank to the right and then parallels the dry creek on the right hand side. The trail continues up Bear Canyon, crossing the dry streambed a number of times. This part of the trail is well forested and shady.

About 10 minutes from the trailhead the trail leaves the streambed to the left and climbs up a hillside covered with rock formations and thin scrubby forest of pine, oak, manzanita, chapperal and juniper. There are some places here where the trail crosses large areas of bare rock, and you have to look carefully to find where the trail picks up again. From some points along here you can look down Bear Canyon and see Thimble Peak neatly framed at the far end of the canyon.

After climbing the hillside the trail goes through a section of level sections mixed with short climbs up and down. There are some stands of ponderosa here, but mostly it is still scrubby pine/oak forest. The trail then follows the bottom of a drainage for a while, and then climbs up to the saddle where the Guthrie Mountain Trail joins from the right.

The Guthrie Mountain Trail junction is not marked by official forest service signs, but there is a homemade sign made out of tin and press-on mailbox lettering which points to the Guthrie Mountain Trail to the right, and the Green Mountain Trail to the left. The Green Mountain trail bears left and descends down the far side of the ridge you just climbed.

Bear left and take the Green Mountain Trail here.

Green Mountain Trail, FS #21
(Bear Saddle to Maverick Spring Trail)

Homemade sign at Bear Saddle.

Length: 0.2 milesHiking Time: 0.1 hours
Highest point: 6960 feetLowest point: 6800 feet
Trail goes downhill

From Bear Saddle it is a short walk downhill to the signed junction with the Maverick Spring Trail, FS #704. Here the Green Mountain Trail continues straight and the Maverick Spring Trail takes off to the right.

The trail to Maverick Spring descends through ponderosas and some rock formations and takes about 25 minutes to do (round trip). Maverick Spring is a very green and shady area, and there is a concrete water tank put in by the Fish and Wildlife department which always has water.

Continue straight on the Green Mountain Trail here.

Green Mountain Trail, FS #21
(Maverick Spring Trail to Brush Corral Shortcut Trail)

Length: 0.4 milesHiking Time: 0.15 hours
Highest point: 6800 feetLowest point: 6700 feet
Trail goes downhill

From the intersection with the Maverick Spring Trail the Green Mountain Trail descends as it contours to the northwest along the slope. The forest here is mostly open ponderosa forest.

At the end of this short segment the trail comes to the signed junction with the Brush Corral Shortcut Trail, FS #21A. The Brush Corral Shortcut Trail takes off to the right (north/northeast) and the Green Mountain Trail continues straight (west).

Continue straight on the Green Mountain Trail here.

Green Mountain Trail, FS #21
(Brush Corral Shortcut Trail to Brush Corral Trail)

View from the ridge looking to the north.

Length: 1.2 milesHiking Time: 0.75 hours
Highest point: 7200 feetLowest point: 6700 feet
Trail goes uphill

After leaving the trail junction with the Brush Corral Shortcut Trail the Green Mountain Trail climbs gently as it contours along the slope to the west through open forest. The trail then bends around to north, and about 15 minutes after the trail junction it reaches the top of a ridge.

From here the trail heads steeply uphill as it heads southwest up the ridge toward Green Mountain. The trail moves from one side of the ridgeline to the other, but always stays near the top of the ridge. From this section there are beautiful views of rock faces on the other side of the valley.

After about 20 minutes of moving up the along the ridgeline the trail curves to the right and starts contouring along the main slope of the mountain to the northwest. This section of trail is not so steep, and is shady and cool, and quickly brings you to the signed junction with the Brush Corral Trail, FS #19. There are two signs here. One is the small modern aluminum Forest Service sign; the other is an old large rusty iron sign with cutout letters.

At this junction the Brush Corral Trail takes off downhill to the right (north), and the Green Mountain trail turns left and uphill.

Turn left and take the Green Mountain Trail here.

Green Mountain Trail, FS #21
(Brush Corral Trail to Upper Green Mountain Trailhead)

Length: 0.3 milesHiking Time: 0.25 hours
Highest point: 7300 feetLowest point: 7200 feet
Trail goes uphill

From the junction with the Brush Corral Trail the Green Mountain Trail heads steeply uphill for a short segment. After a couple of minutes it passes a large rock outcropping to the right which has a faint side trail heading off to it.

The trail then comes to a very confusing signed trail junction where the trail you are on makes a T intersection with another trail that goes to the left and right. The sign here says that the trail you just came up on is the Brush Corral Trail, which is simply not the case because you just came from the real signed junction between the Green Mountain Trail and the Brush Corral Trail. This sign faces the trail you just came up on, which heads downhill, and reads:

Brush Corral Trail #19
Catalina Highway .3 mi (left)
Brush Corral Shortcut Trail 1.8 mi (ahead)
Evans Mountain Trail 5 mi (ahead)
Brush Corral 7 mi (ahead)

The sign doesn't say anything about the trail which takes off to the left (as you are looking uphill, or right if you are looking at the sign). I have not taken this trail so I don't know where it goes.

Go to the right (looking uphill) or northwest to get to the Upper Green Mountain Trailhead on Catalina Highway, which is about 1/8 mile below San Pedro Vista. The trail climbs gently as it contours along the slope past some rock formations, and there are great views of the valley below you and soon you see the parking lot for the trailhead below you.

Here either get in the car you staged here or hike back the way you came.



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