Hike | Prickly Pear Gates Pass | Tucson



Just 30-minutes away from the heart of Tucson this desert oasis hike leads adventurers through the Tucson Mountains.


  • Distance: 2 miles
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Dog Friendly: Yes
  • Fee/Permit: NA


When seeking adventure in Tucson many often visit Saguaro National Park or the Coronado National Forest for sights and heights. Yet, nestled just to the west of downtown is Tucson Mountain County Park where dozens of trails and campsites await, including the infamous Sentinel Peak (A Mountain).

Just on the other side of Sentinel Peak is Prickly Pear Gates Pass - an easy 2-mile trail located against the towering mountain ranges of the park. Getting to the trailhead from Tucson is worth the venture simply for the drive itself. The winding smooth road allows for a pleasant drive through the mountain ranges that first starts with neatly crafted homes nestled in the mountains and soon changes to open fields of cacti and other vegetation.

Though the road will lead you to a pull off on your right side, note that the trailhead is actually on the other side of the street. The trail is well defined, but since this trail connects to many others it can be easy to get off path - just stay right and you will complete the loop without issues.

The trail is clean and clear, and perfect for all ages. Due to the accessibility and level of trail many bikers use this route - be sure to keep clear especially at the start of the trailhead when the hill slightly descends down.




  • There are two safe areas of parking; a pull out to your right, which you will hit first, or a pull out to you left which is a 100 feet further up.
  • The hike is short, but completely exposed to the sun with no shade. Pack ample supply of water and sunscreen.
  • I highly recommend this hike during sunset!


This blog was thoughtfully written by Vicki Ferguson. You can find her on Instagram at @vickidiazferguson.

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