Hiking the Sycamore Reservoir Trail / November 2, 2013
On this sunny Saturday morning, we met up with our friends to go letterboxing around the Molino Basin area off of the Catalina Highway. We thought that the series would provide a short hike, but as it turned out, we only had to walk a short distance and then all the boxes were scattered around one small area. Kathy and I sat down on a giant boulder next to the trail, and Curtis, Mitch, and Alex all tackled the clues and brought the boxes to us. It was fun, but too easy — we wanted a real hike!
After finishing the series, Kathy and Alex had to leave, but Mitch, Curtis and I decided to pursue another series on a 4 mile hike. We drive a little further up the Catalina Highway to the Gordon Hirabayashi campground and began our hike up the Sycamore Reservoir trail.
The trail begins at the back of the Gordon Hirabayashi camp ground and is 4 miles round-trip. The first mile goes generally uphill, and the second mile descends into the valley to the Sycamore Reservoir in the heart of the Catalina Mountains.
After hiking the first mile, we ran into the intersection with the Arizona Trail. The AZ Trail goes 800 miles across the state of Arizona from South to North. We wouldn’t be hiking it today, but we loved the giant metal sign that was placed here.
The view into the valley was beautiful. We were able to see peaks such as Mount Lemmon and Mount Cathedral. We have driven up Mount Lemmon several times already, and Mitch and Curtis hiked almost all the way up to Cathedral last spring on a backpacking trip.
After admiring the view, we began heading down into the valley. We were having good luck with finding all the letterboxes. We were also all alone on the trails making it for a very pleasant hike.
Soon, we were able to see where the Sycamore Reservoir was from a distance. The trees with colorful leaves were a great surprise — we hadn’t expected to get a taste of fall on this hike!
At last, we arrived at the Sycamore Reservoir. Here, there was a large place to sit and relax, enjoy the sunshine and the breeze, take in the fall colors, and watch the trickle of water in the reservoir.
The guys were much more brave than I, and climbed down to get a better view. It was much too steep for me!
Here’s a picture of the view from where they were though — I guess it was worth it!
After finding one last letterbox, we began our hike back. Once again, the first mile went uphill, and we finished with an easy downhill stretch. We were all very pleased with this obscure and solitary hike that we wouldn’t have found if it hadn’t been for letterboxing!