One of the places in Tucson we haven’t explore much of is the Tucson Mountain Park area, which encompasses Saguaro National Park (West). We’ve visited Gate’s Pass quite often but hadn’t ventured much beyond that until we went storm chasing during monsoon season and discovered there is more to that area that we initially thought there was.
We had heard there was an old, abandoned mine in Tucson Mountain Park so we made it our mission for the day to hike the Gould Mine Trail. Parking for the Gould Mine Trail can be found at the Kings Canyon Trailhead at 32.247,-111.167 coordinates. There is a small dirt lot that can fill up quickly on weekends.
Hikers can follow the wide Kings Canyon Trail or walk through the wash for a more interesting hike (in between the towering canyon walls and the occasional scramble over rocks).
The wash passes through canyon walls dotted with petroglyphs so it’s not uncommon to come across a group of scouts learning about the ancient Hohokams from their exhausted-looking scout leaders on this hike. The petroglyphs are dated from between A.D. 300 and 1450 and are easy to miss if not paying attention (they are about .9 miles from the trailhead). If not for the passing hikers who pointed the etchings out to us, we would have surely walked by without noticing them.
We think this is a much more recent structure that was meant to be a bathroom.
Instead of continuing directly to Gould Mine, we veered to the opposite direction towards Wassen Peak to do some exploring… completely intentional, not because we missed the sign post and got lost… ok, ok, we got lost! 🙄
After miles of lots of scrambling and many ‘maybe it’s just around this hill…’, we finally decided to backtrack….
Are we there yet???
Oh um… there’s the sign. If you don’t want to add an extra 3 miles to your hike, this sign post is about 1.2 miles away from the trailhead (close to the building/bathroom in the photos above).
See the tailings from Gould Mine in the distance? We’re definitely heading the right way this time…
Mine shaft that is more than 300 feet deep.
This mine dates back to 1906 when S.H. Gould created his own mining company. Between 1906-1911, the Gould Copper Mining Company filed 19 claims. Rumors abounded that the Tucson Mountain area had an abundance of copper, however this proved false when only 45,000 pounds of copper (valued at $9,000) were produced. The company went bankrupt several years later.
It may have taken a lot longer than expected, but mission accomplished! Yay! As always, we get lost so you don’t have to. 😉
Gould Mine Trail Loop Overview
- Coordinates: 32.247,-111.167
- Fees: FREE
- Difficulty: Easy
- Usage: Moderate
- Length: 3 Miles
- Things to note:
- This is an expose trail with very little shade.
- Bring plenty of water since this is a high sun-exposed trail.
- Pets allowed: Yes