Rincon Overview

The Rincons are a large and mostly untouched wilderness with lots of mixed oak, juniper, and pine forests in the lower-mid to upper elevations and open pine forests at upper elevations.  The open forests that crown the range are a good example of what results from healthy fire cycles.  Trails aren't as numerous in the Rincons with the exception of the Douglas Springs trailhead which has a myriad of short trails.  Unforunately the major trails of this trailhead are overused by the nearby ranches who's horses tear out the trail and leave their "traces" everywhere.  The rest of the range seems surprisingly quiet and wild for being part of a national park that is adjacent to about a million people.  Free of development and mining, the Rincons are a wilderness stand-out of southern Arizona.

Some aerial shots... 

Looking north to Rincon Peak with Distillery Canyon heading east from the wingtip up to the crest where it meets up with the head canyon of Ash Creek flowing down the east slope of the mountain.  The tops of both drainages follow the alignment of a fault, which on the east slope is marked by large distinctive north facing cliffs visible from the Happy Valley area.      

Looking north along the steep and rugged east slope of Rincon Peak with the broad summit of Mica Mountain and Happy Valley below in the background.    

Views on the north side of Mica Mountain, with this one looking over the domes of granite on the northeast flank of Mica Mountain.  The silhouette of Tanque Verde Ridge in the bright haze is to the west.     

Some other views of the same area which is a confusing jumble of rock that is made even more difficult to access by being choked with thick brush.  The nearest trail is Italian Spring which ascends out of view to the right of the first photo on its way up to the Mica Mountain in the upper right.   

Looking up the north slope of Mica Mountain with the summit being the highest lump just right of center and Spud Rock the dome on the right.  The Italian Spring Trail meets the North Slope Trail near the left edge, and the North Slope Trail continues contouring past the highest rock outcrops at center.  The bare patches towards Spud Rock were left by the Helens II Fire, which burned simultaneously with the much larger Aspen Fire in the Catalinas.    

Farther west along the north slope with Helens Dome the large outcrop sitting atop the ridge and Spud Rock to its left.   

These photos were taken on another flight with the sun at a different angle.

The southwestern slopes below Rincon Peak sprawl over most of this photo with Posta Quemada Canyon running from the bottom right in a roughly straight line up to the south side of the peak.  The next canyon to the right, or south, is Shaw Canyon which has the only other footpath that I know of on the slopes of Rincon Peak other than the trail to the summit.  This is an old ranching use trail that leads up to Aliso Spring which is near the flat spot in the canyon.   

Upper Distillery Canyon and the crest to the south of Rincon Peak with the cleft at upper left marking a fault and the point at which Ash Creek starts down the east slopes.  The extents of the Distillery Fire are clear, appearing as yellow grassy cover over nearly all the slopes except the upper left area that was beyond the reach of the fire and is still thickly carpeted in trees and brush.    

The steep east slopes falling away from Rincon Peak, at top center, with the deep recess of upper Ash Creek at left under the shadows of cliffs.  The head canyon of Paige Creek drains the east face of Rincon Peak and is also shadowed by cliffs just right of center.  The dirt road to Happy Valley is at lower right.