Hike | Phoneline Trail | Tucson

Trail Stats

  • Length:  9 miles (round trip)
  • Trail Type: Out and Back
  • Trailhead Elevation:  2,800 ft.
  • Gain/Loss:  +600 ft.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Dog Friendly: No

Trail Description

The Phoneline Trail is a gateway trail into Sabino Canyon and follows the southern side of the tram road. The Phoneline trail is a great alternative trail to riding the Sabino Canyon tram and is very popular among hikers and trail runners.

The trail begins at the Sabino Canyon Recreation Center. Follow the Bear Canyon Trail and quickly you will find a sign pointing to the Phoneline Trail. The trail is also accessible from the Sabino Canyon side but I have never approached it from there. The trail will gain elevation almost immediately and then level off several hundred feet above the tram road and Sabino Canyon. You will see a sign pointing towards Blacketts Ridge but continue on the Phoneline Trail. You will be able to see both Blackett's Ridge and Thimble Peak from the trail. The trail is easy and relatively flat the remainder of the way.

There are nice shady areas to stop and have lunch or take a break along the way. At the end of the trail you will see the turnaround junction for the tram and there are a few switchbacks to lead you down. This trail connects to the Sabino Canyon #23 Trail and you have a few options when you get there. Many will hike back on the Phoneline Trail, some will continue to Sabino Canyon, and others will hitch a ride back on the tram.

This is a straight forward, easy trail along the walls of Sabino Canyon. If you are looking for a good running trail or do not want to walk Sabino Canyon near the tram and concrete this is a good trail to consider. The views are great, however, you do not get to enjoy Sabino Creek up close like you would hiking near the tram. This is a typical route for those who are connecting to Sabino Canyon #23. I recommend this easy stroll to those who want to get outdoors, see the canyon, and feel like you have actually completed a hike and not a nature walk.

hiking tips

  • I recommend going up the canyon on Phoneline trail and back down either the trolley or on foot.
  • The trolley is expensive (in my opinion)
  • It gets very crowded on weekends
  • This hike can be done by just about anyone
  • Here is a link to Sabino Canyon Visitor's Center for fees and hours

* Please remember to hike at your own risk. To learn more please refer to our Hiking Disclaimer

Map to trailhead

Directions: From Tanque Verde Road in Tucson turn north on Sabino Canyon Road 4 miles to the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area Visitor Center.


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TucsonCameron JarmanComment