Loop around the Tortolita Mtns. 09/25


A few of us decided to get together this past Sunday and do a loop around the Tortolita Mountains just north of Tucson. You can drive from Marana to Catalina around the north end without touching pavement. The southern Foothills are builtup and no longer have access.

We all had commented on how this area is the closest to home for us, yet we haven't spent much time exploring the area.

We started out heading up Cochie Canyon. This is the same area that we have our Friday night campfire get togethers.

We kept following another wash as far as we could and got into some neat little canyons.

When the wash came to be impassible by anything less than a rock buggy we set out on foot to see what lay around the next corner.

We found a few strange things in a lush shady part of the canyon.

In this same area along the sides of the canyon were many old stacked rock walls. Some were hundreds of feet long.

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This was written on a gate post on the powerline road the runs west to east along the north end of the range.

Near Rail-X ranch...

My daughter Kiley enjoying herself and picking wild flowers.

I think we should be allowed to shoot on site...j/k

I remembered a neat little wash that I had found years ago on Rail-X Ranch that I wanted to check out again.

And that's it...We did drive a few roads that wound up having locked gates and private property signs. There are ranches spread out all the way around the mountains so I guess it's inevitable. All in all it was a good day and we ended up driving just over 60 miles on dirt.
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In this same area along the sides of the canyon were many old stacked rock walls. Some were hundreds of feet long.
No doubt these were made as catchment basins for cattle/sheep to hold back any water from any rain/seeps in the area. :costumed-smiley-007
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I love that area, and hate that Dove Mountain and others killed the southern access. That was my stomping ground in high school. Thanks for posting the pictures!


The area has a history of sheep hearding dating back to the early 1800's. These walls cover the tortolita range from one side to the other. Amazing stuff! I'd like to find that spring and the litttle shady spot in that first canyon, looks beautiful!
I would like to go back in there again and hike farther up the canyon. Maybe we can get up there in the next few weeks.


2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
great post
I like the random close to home exploration and fun day trip
looks like I need to come down south for a friday night/camp and explore on sat :)


Come on down Lance, it's been awhile since we have sat around the fire. I want to check out the progress on the vehicle since the first time I saw it after you got it back to Arizona.


New member
Great pictures. I miss that area. I have yet to find a way through that mountain range without running into locked gates.

Willow springs to Putnam Springs area is also a great drive. It is located just East of the Tortolitas and North of the Catalinas.