Over the weekend, I hiked one of my all-time favorite Tucson trails. Blackett’s Ridge is approximately 1700 feet in elevation gain over a 6-mile roundtrip, out-and-back trail. It’s relatively quick (1.5-2 hours up to the summit, depending on my pace), and beautiful all the way through. It was, of course, exactly what I needed.
This first photo is from the very summit of Blackett’s, as we were ready to turn around and head back. From the first ascent of the hike, you can see views of Tucson stretching out all around for almost the entire hike.
For the first mile or so, you’re walking under the looming presence of giant, ancient saguaro cacti, until the trail splits to either Phoneline or Blackett’s. Once you take that turn, you march upwards onto steeper, jagged switchbacks until the first false summit. Right now, Blackett’s is absolutely covered in wildflowers. Typically, you see yellow or orange wildflowers in Tucson, but this trail had several spots of red and purple as well. It was such a breathtaking view (partly because of the climb, mostly because of those flowers).
One of the reasons I love Blackett’s Ridge is because it very much feels like an indication of health for me. If I’m huffing and puffing, stopping every two minutes, I need to be hiking and completing high-intensity cardio more often. If I can make it up in a reasonable time, I feel pretty good about where I’m at in my fitness.
As much as I love exploring new trails, Blackett’s was an endearing reminder to return to my favorite hiking haunts. There’s a reason certain trails, like this one, found their way into my hearts, and there’s a reason that I will always find my way back.