Palisades Trail Offers Cool Breezes

Maria Szentirmai, Lynda Green, Steve Gallagher, and Guide Tim Butler (photo by Linda Bailey)

Lynda Green

Down a dirt road about three-quarters of the way up Mount Lemmon, five SaddleBrooke hikers parked by the Palisades trailhead and proceeded down a long path to a secluded lunch stop. On May 22 summer heat was building in the Valley, but here, the group found cooling breezes for most of the 5.5-mile trek.

Guide Tim Butler led four others through pine forest and then more open ground sporting manzanita and other low-growing trees. In typical “Butler” fashion, he carried a set of clippers to clear some of the overgrowth on this trail, which has had relatively low use since the Bighorn Fire. His followers especially appreciated his trimming of certain “stiletto” agaves that threatened the legs in narrow passages.

After a long descent, the hikers arrived at a large rock with some shade beside the Palisade cliffs that gave the trail its name. Here, they enjoyed rest and a quick lunch.

The way up proved challenging. They climbed the 1,319 feet of elevation slowly, taking many breaks for water and electrolyte chews. A refreshing breeze followed them back to the beginning. The Palisades Trail, they decided, offers great and varied views of Tucson and of the surrounding mountains. It just needs more traffic—and perhaps more clippers.