Rockslide closes popular trails in Sabino Canyon

The Phoneline and Blackett’s Ridge trails are closed out of precaution
Published: Jul. 10, 2023 at 7:08 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - As the wait for monsoon rains continues, Sabino Canyon has already had a rockslide. And it could close some popular trails for a while. As the Santa Catalina Ranger District managers wait for rain to arrive, they are warning hikers.

The scenery inside Sabino Canyon has been familiar to many for many years but can still change.

“It was so loud I got scared for a minute because, you know, you don’t know how big the rockslide’s going to get,” said Anna Coronado, who heard the landslide as she visited Sabino Canyon Sunday.

The rockslide that surprised Coronado came to rest above Phoneline Trail just more than two miles into Sabino Canyon. The event prompted a response from first responders such as the Pima County Sheriff and Southern Arizona Rescue Association.

“They also took a look at all our trails and they saw that the trails didn’t appear to be impacted. So we’ve closed those trails through an abundance of caution,” said Santa Catalina District Ranger Don DelMastro.

Phoneline and Blackett’s Ridge trails are closed to keep hikers out of the area.

“So we want to have our trails crew and our engineers take a look and just make sure they’re safe before we let people back out on them,” he said.

Now a waiting game starts for monsoon rains to test the stability of the rocks that slid. But what doesn’t change is a call for hikers to be careful, whether it’s rockslides or, more likely, dehydration.

“So actually, we average one hiker rescue a day in this district, and the number one thing that we’re seeing is folks that are either going out in conditions that are wrong for hiking or beyond their ability. And I’d say the number one thing to watch out for is dehydration and heat,” DelMastro explained.

He estimated that those analyzing the slide would have their answer if the rains hit in about two weeks. It depends on when they get enough rain to be satisfied.

The rest of the recreation area remains open and the tram is running. Only those specific trails are closed.

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