Hiking & Backpacking
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The trailhead for the Cougar Trail is located in Tucson close the entrance for the Gilbert Ray Campground. The trail, which is around four miles round trip, is an easy hike that lasts a couple hours, and is located within the Saguaro National Park on the city's west side. You'll begin your journey by taking the Brown Mountain Trail for about a half mile before the path changes direction and goes to the right. After that point, it continues through the foothills of the Brown Mountain.
You'll only gain in elevation about 300 feet so, again, your hike will be more like a comfortable stroll instead. You've reached the end of the trail when you come to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which is a good place to go to become acquainted with the wildlife and desert flora of the Sonoran Desert.
So, if you are visiting the area, this is a great trail to take to become familiarized with the desert scenery and general lay of the land. Because Tucson can be rather warm in the summer months, hikers often take the trail during the seasons of spring, fall, and winter. In summer, you'll want to make sure you bring plenty of water along on your hike as temperatures can sometimes see three digits on the Fahrenheit scale. You'll like viewing the desert scenery along this trail, some of which includes barrel cacti, towering stands of saguaro, and palo verde and ironwood trees.