Early one morning in late summer, Ms. Rosemary and I drove out to the southeast corner of the Tucson Mountains known as Enchanted Hills, named after a subdivision near there. 365 acres of land were procured by Pima County in 2016. 80 acres is in development as a system of trails.
Enchanted Hills is a new Pima County Open Space Management and Preservation project in Tucson Mountain Park off 36th and La Cholla. This is in its early stages. There is a parking lot, with plenty of parking and plenty of accessible trails. New plantings are beginning to cover up years of off road vehicle use to bring it back to its natural state.
We arrived shortly after 6 am for a short 1-2 hour hike. Upon our arrival at the parking lot, after some delightful commenting about the oodles of trash that had been left by revelers the night before, we headed up to the old Ranch Ruins at the top of the hill to the north. These ruins are much like the ruins of the Bowen Ranch on the Yetman Trail on the other side of Starr Pass, only without the graffiti.
Enchanted hills is actually quite scenic. The ocotillo were plentiful and green this time of year. Many saguaro dot the landscape. The trails here are mostly all moderate, except perhaps the one at the eastern end, which circles and continues up to the top of a volcanic hill. Well, yeah, they are all volcanic. We agreed to do this when cooler weather prevails.
To orient yourself, from the stone ruins, you can see the Starr Pass Golf Course. to the north. There are few houses encroaching this area, making it seem more remote than it actually is.
A Warning: This project is a long way from being done. Volunteers are needed for planting. Vandals and parties are evident. Every morning bottles and cans are strewn around the parking lot. The day we came to hike, a woman who cleans up the area every day, collected three garbage bags worth.
Aside from a lot of trash, glass and graffiti at the stone ruins at the top of the hill, this is a beautiful part of the Tucson Mountains. Actually the graffiti is colorful and entertaining as are the glass shards but not congruent with a nature park. Suffice to say, it is a work in progress and few hikers yet know about it.
Okay, so much for the caveats. Please watch this slideshow for some of the scenic views from Enchanted Hills.
To get more info on the Enchanted Hills Restoration, or get more information on how to help with Pima County trail projects and natural area restoration, visit PimaCounty.gov or contact Neil Stitzer – [email protected] or 520.724.5239. Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation manages 25 trailheads, five trails parks and more than 250,000 acres of conservation lands open to outdoor recreation.