Sweetwater Preserve Hike

posted in: Travel | 1

Every Fall and Winter, I have the best of intentions. The temperatures are heavenly and we—desert dwellers—can be active outside without the fear of frying. Subsequently, every year, I plan to go hiking because I love walking and I love nature and hiking combines the two. Yet, every year, I don’t go.

I have plenty of excuses: too busy, too hard, too far, too one thing or another. I did not say I had good explanations for my lack of enthusiasm just that I had some justifications.

After being stranded at a resort for two extra days—due to an overfull creek—and meeting a retired couple from Canada—both avid hikers—I decided I had zero valid reasons to not at least try to go on a hike.

Hubs and I arrived back home from our unplanned escapade on Sunday and by that afternoon, I had scheduled a hike. Tuesday was the day.

My selection was a small and easy path close—or relatively close—to home.

Sweetwater preserve hike

Picture by Emma Witt Photography

Hiking in Sweetwater Preserve

Even though the hike was an open invitation to my family, only my oldest daughter deciced to come with me. We headed out a tad past 9:30 on a nippy February morning. We made it to the preserve a bit after 10:15 and where at the trailhead at about twenty after ten.

The Location

Sweetwater Preserve is located on the west side of Tucson about 9 miles from I-10 and Camino del Cerro.

The address is: 4001 N Tortolita Rd

Parking Area and the Trails

The parking lot has plenty of space but it was also busier than I expected for a weekday—and a cold one at that.

Although we passed a few groups on the trails—some with dogs—we amazingly did not see that many people considering the amount of cars on the lot.

We did encounter a couple mountain bikers. They were good at announcing their arrival so we could move out of their way.

The paths are narrow and you must walk Indian file.

The plentiful, well-marked loops are designated by varying colors and clearly marked with the accompanying mileage which makes it easier to choose a path on the fly—as we did.

Difficulty: Easy

This hike was marked as “easy” and it was. I really enjoyed the change in grade which—while easy—was still challenging for a newbie.

The paths are not smooth but are peppered with rocks.

This hike was perfect, and I plan on doing it again soon before summer arrives. Anything thirty to forty minutes from my home is close by our standards, and Sweetwater Preserves qualifies.


With all the rain we have had, my daughter and I were hoping for a wide array of wildflowers. This wish was a bust. Meanwhile we have had plenty of water, we have also been endowerd with cold weather—for which I am exceedingly grateful after two rather mild winters.

We plan to go again soon to—hopefully—witness the desert in bloom with a vast array of wildflowers.

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