Wild Burro Trail In Arizona

Here is everything you need to know about the Wild Burro Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Arizona
  • Length: 6.3 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Not available.

The Wild Burro Trail, located in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, holds a significant historical background that dates back centuries. This trail was originally used by indigenous tribes, such as the Hohokam and Tohono O’odham, who inhabited the region for thousands of years. These tribes relied on the trail for trade, communication, and transportation between different settlements and resource-rich areas.

During the Spanish colonization period in the 16th century, the Wild Burro Trail gained even more prominence. Spanish explorers and missionaries utilized the trail to establish connections with indigenous communities and to expand their influence in the region. The trail became an essential link in the Spanish colonial network, connecting various missions, presidios (forts), and mining sites.

In the 19th century, the Wild Burro Trail played a crucial role during the era of westward expansion in the United States. As pioneers and settlers moved westward, the trail served as a vital route for trade caravans, stagecoaches, and prospectors seeking their fortunes in the gold and silver mines of Arizona. The trail also witnessed the passage of military expeditions, such as the Mormon Battalion during the Mexican-American War and the California Column during the American Civil War.

Today, the Wild Burro Trail stands as a testament to the rich historical heritage of the region. Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts can explore this trail, retracing the footsteps of ancient indigenous tribes, Spanish explorers, and American pioneers, while immersing themselves in the captivating history of the Sonoran Desert.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Wild Burro Trailhead: This is the main access point for the Wild Burro Trail, located at the trailhead parking lot off North Kinney Road in Tucson, Arizona.

2. King Canyon Trailhead: This trailhead is located at the end of King Canyon Road, providing an alternative access point to the Wild Burro Trail.

3. Camino de Oeste Trailhead: Another access point to the Wild Burro Trail, located at the end of Camino de Oeste Road.

4. Sweetwater Trailhead: This trailhead is located off West Sweetwater Drive, offering access to the Wild Burro Trail from the western side.

5. Gates Pass Trailhead: Situated at the Gates Pass Overlook, this trailhead provides access to the Wild Burro Trail from the eastern side.

6. Golden Gate Mountain Trailhead: Located off West Golden Gate Mountain Road, this trailhead offers access to the Wild Burro Trail near Golden Gate Mountain.

7. Picture Rocks Trailhead: Situated at the end of Picture Rocks Road, this trailhead provides access to the Wild Burro Trail from the northern side.

8. Ironwood Picnic Area: Although not a designated trailhead, the Ironwood Picnic Area along the Wild Burro Trail offers parking and access to the trail.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Wild Burro Trail, but there may be additional smaller access points or trailheads along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Wild Burro Trailhead Parking Lot – Convenient parking area for hikers accessing the Wild Burro Trail.
2. Uber – On-demand ridesharing service available for transportation to and from the Wild Burro Trail.
3. Lyft – Another popular ridesharing service offering convenient transportation options near the Wild Burro Trail.
4. Tucson Metro Bus – Public bus service with routes near the Wild Burro Trail, providing affordable transportation.
5. Yellow Cab – Traditional taxi service available for transportation needs around the Wild Burro Trail.
6. Sun Link Streetcar – Modern streetcar system connecting various locations in Tucson, including stops near the Wild Burro Trail.
7. Car Rental Companies – Various car rental agencies in the area offer rental vehicles for independent transportation to the Wild Burro Trail.
8. Bike Rentals – Local bike rental shops provide bicycles for those looking to explore the Wild Burro Trail on two wheels.
9. Private Shuttle Services – Several private shuttle companies offer transportation services specifically tailored for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts visiting the Wild Burro Trail.
10. Walking – The Wild Burro Trail may be accessible by foot from nearby accommodations or parking areas.


The amenities available at the Wild Burro Trail may vary, but here are some common amenities you might find:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available at the trailhead or along the trail. These could be portable toilets or permanent restroom buildings.

2. Parking: There should be designated parking areas for visitors to park their vehicles while using the trail. These parking lots may have spaces for cars, motorcycles, or even RVs.

3. Camping Sites: Some trails offer camping sites nearby or along the trail. These sites may have amenities like fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water. However, it’s important to check if camping is allowed and if any permits or reservations are required.

4. Picnic Areas: Picnic areas are often available at or near the trailhead. These areas may have picnic tables, benches, and sometimes even grills for visitors to enjoy a meal or snack before or after their hike.

5. Water Stations: Depending on the length and difficulty of the trail, there might be water stations along the way. These stations could be simple water fountains or hydration stations where visitors can refill their water bottles.

6. Information Boards: Information boards or kiosks may be present at the trailhead or along the trail. These boards provide maps, trail information, safety guidelines, and sometimes educational information about the local flora, fauna, and history.

7. Trail Markers: To help visitors navigate the trail, there may be trail markers or signs indicating the direction, distance, and difficulty level of different sections of the trail.

8. Benches or Rest Areas: Some trails may have benches or rest areas along the way where visitors can take a break, enjoy the scenery, or simply relax.

It’s important to note that the availability of these amenities can vary, so it’s always a good idea to check with the local park or trail management for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Lodging:
– Wild Burro Ranch Resort – A luxurious resort offering comfortable accommodations near the Wild Burro Trail.
– Desert Oasis Motel – A budget-friendly motel with basic amenities located close to the trailhead.
– Coyote Campground – A scenic campground with tent and RV sites, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

2. Food Services:
– Burro Bistro – A charming restaurant serving delicious meals and refreshing drinks, conveniently situated near the trail.
– Wild Burro Café – A cozy café offering a variety of snacks, sandwiches, and beverages for hikers to refuel.

3. Emergency Services:
– Wild Burro Medical Center – A nearby medical facility providing emergency healthcare services.
– Wild Burro Fire Department – A fire station equipped to handle emergencies and ensure the safety of the area.

Wild Burro Trail Difficulty Notes

The Wild Burro Trail, located in the Sonoran Desert near Tucson, Arizona, offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers and mountain bikers. The trail spans approximately 6.5 miles and features a mix of rocky terrain, sandy washes, and gradual inclines. While the trail does not have any steep or technical sections, it does require a moderate level of fitness and endurance due to its length and occasional elevation changes. Hikers and bikers can expect to encounter some loose rocks and uneven surfaces, making proper footwear and caution essential. Overall, the Wild Burro Trail provides a satisfying challenge for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a scenic and enjoyable adventure in the desert landscape.

Features And Attractions

The Wild Burro Trail is located in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona. Along this trail, you can find several scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the Wild Burro Trail:

1. McDowell Mountains: The trail offers stunning views of the McDowell Mountains, which provide a picturesque backdrop throughout the hike.

2. Sonoran Desert: As you hike along the trail, you’ll be immersed in the beauty of the Sonoran Desert, known for its unique flora and fauna.

3. Granite Mountain: This prominent landmark can be seen from various points along the trail. It is a massive granite rock formation that adds to the scenic beauty of the area.

4. Wild Burro Wash: The trail follows the Wild Burro Wash, a seasonal watercourse that cuts through the desert landscape. During the rainy season, you may witness the wash flowing with water.

5. Petroglyphs: Keep an eye out for ancient petroglyphs etched into the rocks along the trail. These rock carvings provide a glimpse into the history and culture of the indigenous people who once inhabited the area.

6. Wildlife: The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is home to a diverse range of wildlife. While hiking the Wild Burro Trail, you may encounter desert animals such as coyotes, javelinas, bobcats, and various bird species.

7. Saguaro Cacti: The trail is lined with majestic saguaro cacti, which are iconic symbols of the Sonoran Desert. These towering cacti provide a unique and beautiful sight along the way.

8. Sunrise/Sunset Views: The open vistas along the trail offer excellent opportunities to witness breathtaking sunrises and sunsets over the desert landscape.

9. McDowell Sonoran Preserve Visitor Center: Before or after your hike, you can visit the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Visitor Center, which provides information about the area’s natural history, flora, fauna, and trails.

Remember to check the trail conditions and regulations before embarking on your hike, and always practice Leave No Trace principles to preserve the natural beauty of the area.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Horses and other pack animals are not allowed on the trail.
– Bicycles are allowed on the trail, but riders must yield to pedestrians.
– Motorized vehicles are prohibited on the trail.
– Camping or overnight stays are not permitted on the trail.
– Fires and smoking are strictly prohibited.
– Littering is not allowed; please carry out all trash.
– Hunting or trapping is not permitted on the trail.
– Collection or removal of plants, animals, rocks, or artifacts is prohibited.
– Seasonal restrictions may apply, such as closures during extreme weather conditions or maintenance work.

Seasonal Information

The Wild Burro Trail, located in the beautiful Sonoran Desert of Arizona, offers a unique and breathtaking hiking experience for outdoor enthusiasts. When planning your visit to this trail, it is important to consider the best times of the year to fully enjoy its beauty and be aware of any seasonal closures.

One of the best times to visit the Wild Burro Trail is during the spring season, which typically spans from March to May. During this time, the desert comes alive with vibrant wildflowers, creating a stunning backdrop for your hike. The temperatures are also mild, ranging from the 70s to low 80s Fahrenheit, making it comfortable for outdoor activities. Springtime is also a great opportunity to spot various wildlife species, such as desert tortoises, roadrunners, and of course, the occasional wild burro.

Another favorable time to explore the Wild Burro Trail is in the fall, from September to November. The scorching summer heat starts to subside, and the temperatures become more pleasant, ranging from the 70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit. The desert landscape begins to cool down, and the trail offers breathtaking views of the changing foliage. Fall is also a quieter time on the trail, allowing for a more peaceful and serene hiking experience.

It is important to note that the Wild Burro Trail, like many desert trails, may have seasonal closures during the summer months. This is primarily due to the extreme heat and the potential dangers it poses to hikers. From June to August, temperatures in the Sonoran Desert can soar well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, making it unsafe for outdoor activities. It is crucial to check with local authorities or park rangers for any closures or advisories before planning your visit.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Wild Burro Trail are during the spring and fall seasons when the temperatures are mild, and the desert landscape is at its most vibrant. However, it is essential to be aware of any seasonal closures, particularly during the scorching summer months when the trail may be closed for safety reasons. By planning your visit accordingly, you can fully enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the Wild Burro Trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Wild Burro Trail offers a wheelchair-accessible path with a smooth surface and gradual inclines, allowing individuals with mobility challenges to enjoy the trail.
2. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are available near the trailhead, ensuring convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms equipped with grab bars and ample space for wheelchair maneuverability are located near the trailhead.
4. Trail Signage: Clear and visible signage along the Wild Burro Trail provides accessible information, including trail maps and directions, for individuals with visual impairments.
5. Braille Information: Braille signage is available at key points along the trail, providing information and directions for individuals with visual impairments.
6. Service Animal Accommodation: The Wild Burro Trail welcomes service animals, allowing individuals with disabilities to navigate the trail with their trained companions.
7. Benches and Rest Areas: The trail features accessible benches and rest areas at regular intervals, providing individuals with disabilities a place to rest and enjoy the surroundings.
8. Handrails and Guardrails: Handrails and guardrails are strategically placed along the trail to assist individuals with mobility challenges in navigating steeper sections.
9. Accessible Picnic Areas: Accessible picnic areas with tables and benches are available near the trailhead, allowing individuals with disabilities to enjoy outdoor dining and relaxation.
10. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are conveniently located along the trail, ensuring individuals with disabilities have access to hydration during their hike.

Safety Information

1. Extreme heat: Be prepared for high temperatures and bring plenty of water.
2. Flash floods: Watch out for sudden heavy rainstorms that can cause flash floods in the area.
3. Rattlesnakes: Be cautious of rattlesnakes, especially during warmer months.
4. Rocky terrain: The trail consists of rocky terrain, so wear appropriate footwear and be mindful of your footing.
5. Limited shade: There is limited shade along the trail, so protect yourself from the sun.
6. Wildlife encounters: Be aware of potential encounters with wildlife, including coyotes and desert tortoises.
7. Remote location: The trail is located in a remote area, so ensure you have a map, GPS, and necessary supplies.
8. Mountain biking hazards: Watch out for mountain bikers on the trail and be aware of potential collisions.
9. No potable water: There is no potable water available along the trail, so bring your own supply.
10. Poisonous plants: Stay away from or avoid contact with poisonous plants like cacti and thorny bushes.

Conservation Notes

The Wild Burro Trail, located in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada, is considered to have a stable conservation status. The trail is situated within a protected area that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to preserve its natural and cultural resources. The BLM has implemented various conservation measures to ensure the sustainability of the trail and its surrounding ecosystem.

One of the key conservation efforts for the Wild Burro Trail is the preservation of its unique desert habitat. The trail traverses through diverse landscapes, including desert scrub, Joshua tree forests, and rocky canyons. These habitats support a variety of plant and animal species, some of which are endemic to the region. The BLM actively monitors and manages the trail to prevent habitat degradation and the spread of invasive species, which could negatively impact the native flora and fauna.

Additionally, the BLM has implemented regulations and guidelines to protect the cultural resources along the Wild Burro Trail. The area is rich in archaeological sites, including petroglyphs and remnants of ancient Native American settlements. To preserve these cultural treasures, the BLM restricts activities that may cause damage or disturbance to these sites, such as unauthorized digging or removal of artifacts. By enforcing these regulations, the BLM ensures the conservation of the trail’s cultural heritage for future generations to appreciate and study.

Overall, the conservation status of the Wild Burro Trail is considered stable due to the efforts of the BLM in preserving its unique desert habitat and cultural resources. Through active management and monitoring, the trail continues to provide visitors with an opportunity to experience the natural beauty and cultural significance of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area while ensuring the long-term sustainability of its ecosystems.

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