One of the attractions of staying at the Kratchner Caverns State Park (a couple miles south of Benson, Ariz. off AZ 90) is immediate access to the 4.2 mile Guindani Loop Trail (#398), located on the east flank of the Whetstone Mountains in the Coronado National Forest.
According to the trail map, the first mile is relatively “easy” walk, next mile of trail is “moderate” difficulty, and the last 1/2-mile climb to the saddle is “strenuous.”
The trail begins at 4720’ and climbs more than 900′ to over 5620’ at the highest point.
Every segment of the hike was fascinating as we passed from “mesquite-invaded Chihuahaun semi-desert grassland at the lower elevations into the open oak-juniper woodland on the higher slopes.”
This is not a trail for folks who are prone to knee problems. The descent of 900′ is along a 1.5-mile stretch of switchbacks over a very narrow, rocky patch–the reward, however, is the spectacular view of the San Pedro Valley and the Huachucas and Dragoons.
For more information on the Guindani Trail, contact: Sierra Vista Ranger District, 5990 W. Hwy 92, Hereford, AZ 85615 or call (520) 378-0311.
For other Kartchner Caverns State Park facilities click here.
Photos: Beginning of the Guindani Loop Trail. Source: Arizona State Parks.