The Tucson Trail Run series began in the late 1970s, founded by Ken Young. Several other people continued the series through the years (Bob Deeran, Jennifer Avilés, Laura Lusk, Gordon Neal, Ross Zimmerman, Gene Joseph). Since the summer of 2018, Mike Duer, Angela Greynolds, Stephen Woodall, and John Mollenhour have continued the original series and added some new elements. Most aspects of TTR have moved to a Facebook group.
We use trails on public lands in the mountains around Tucson, Arizona. Our schedule sets a time and place where you can expect to find other runners doing the same route. There are no entry fees or awards. A Run Director (RD) will collect runners' names, emergency information, provide a brief description of the route, and get people started. The RD will make sure everyone is accounted for after the run. If someone is not accounted for, the RD will contact the appropriate authorities and emergency contact, which may result in an organized search effort. That effort might be billed to the runner. Most routes have been successfully completed numerous times by well-trained, experienced local ultra runners. These are low-key recreational activities designed to conform to the National Park and National Forest rules for informal, small group activities that don't require a permit. On some of the longer runs, the RD may provide aid. Most have no aid other than what you carry yourself, and all routes use existing trails or roads with no special markings. RDs may provide route maps, but runners are responsible for acquiring maps and learning the routes. The current schedule incorporates the original “core” TTR trail runs (Bear Canyon Loop, Mt Lemmon Ascent, Esperero Loop, Cowhead Saddle, Mica Mountain Marathon, Tanque Verde Loop) along with several newer runs introduced in recent years reflecting the interests of the various runners. Here is some general information concerning our runs:
The routes are often rugged, rocky, steep, and potentially dangerous for the inexperienced and untrained. It is your individual responsibility to be adequately prepared to find your way and complete a multi-hour, self-supported endurance effort.
If the run is labeled ADV (Advanced) you should not attempt it unless you have completed one of the less difficult runs or its equivalent.
No individual or entity assumes any responsibility for your safety. Particularly if you are new to these runs, contact the RD before the day of the run. You may be asked to try less difficult runs before you attempt an advanced run.
The current schedule is a document link that TTR members receive in the footer of group e-mails. Please don't share this list with individuals, post the runs in other schedules, or post them on public web sites.
Maps of the Santa Catalinas, Rincons, Santa Ritas, and the Tucson mountains are available at Sabino Canyon, Saguaro National Park, Summit Hut, and Tucson’s Map and Flag Center.
Most routes are based on the trails marked in red on topographic maps. When available, maps are provided. Study trail maps and route descriptions before the run. Consider running together in pairs or groups and following those who are familiar with the route. Nowadays you can use your phone and apps like Trail Run Project or All Trails, or upload a gpx file to follow on your watch.
Parking for most runs requires you pay a fee or obtain an annual pass (Coronado National Forest/National Parks, Arizona State Parks). Typically runs start at 7:00am on Sunday mornings, but check each listing because some start earlier. If you're new, introduce yourself to the run director (RD).
There is a risk of encounter with bears, mountain lions, snakes, bees, or rabid animals.
Stay on the marked trails and observe good trail etiquette. Look for trail markings, including rock cairns and flags or blazes on trees. If you get off trail, don't try to cut over to where you think the trail is. Backtrack until you are sure you are on the trail, and then look for the correct route. Waist belts or hydration packs for carrying water, food, maps, and supplies are a good idea on the longer routes.
Never leave the finish area without making sure that the RD knows you have gotten off the trail successfully. If you get off the route and exit in some other place, please make every effort to return to the finish. In any event, contact the RD or someone else associated with the run as quickly as possible so we know you are safe.
If you're up for the challenge, become a member, and join us!