Tucson Mountain Park: Bowen House Ruins

It feels like ages ago Mama Boots and I hiked our way through Tucson in early March. In typical ‘me’ fashion, I just had to squeeze in one more trek before we hit the airport.

This option is actually a perfect trail for squeezing in on limited time. The trail itself is part of a network of trails going all over west Tucson and Tucson Mountain Park, but from where we parked to see the Bowen House Ruins was just over a mile. We did even have time to keep walking after to see a bit more of this gorgeous land one last time. But I digress!

Note: No dogs allowed on trails in the park.

We always appreciate a good trailhead sign and map!

We started from the Camino de Oeste trailhead. Note, Google Maps did NOT want me to get here properly and kept wanting to have me turn onto a private driveway. We figured it out and made it to the parking spot. It was my turn to meet with a snowbird I knew for a hike, and we were both able to find parking.  We were rewarded with a trio of deer climbing up the hillside right away, and, of course, saguaros as far as the eye could see.

The Yetman trail flits about a few creek crossings here and there as it cuts into the hillsides. Like other trails in Tucson, it was easy to follow my pre-mapped trail on my Gaia app, but it could easily get confusing if not prepared, with the dizzying array of beautiful sights all around.

All too soon, after a little over a mile, we approached the historic house ruins. I guess calling something less than a hundred years old ‘historic’ might be a stretch, but this preserved frame and floors of a homestead house are still fascinating to see. The land became part of Tucson Mountain Park in 1983. The area of the kitchen and bathroom were still plainly obvious,

With time on our side, we decided to venture a little further on the trail after exploring inside the house a bit. We made it to 1.5 miles total from the trailhead before we decided to head back. It was great getting to see the house from both approaching angles. We saw some birds, but no more deer on the way back to the car. It’s amazing how wild the area felt, as some parts of the park back right up against resorts and housing complexes (can you imagine getting to walk these trails daily?!).

The house ruins from another angle.

This is only the tiniest fraction of the trails inside Tucson Mountain Park (which boasts over 20,000 acres), with the Gates Pass-area trails being especially tempting to those with more time and wanting to break a sweat. But again, if wanting to squeeze every last drop of a trip (and Vitamin D!) in, it’s a great way to kill an hour or two before heading out of town. Again, no dogs allowed inside the park, so maybe if I lived here I wouldn’t visit as much, but for a visitor, it’s a no-brainer to visit.

In summary:

Distance: The park has 62 miles of interconnected trails, shared with horse and bikers at times. To the house and back is around 2.4 miles round-trip.

Elevation: Elevation on these trails can greatly vary, but to the house and back is nearly as flat as it can get.

Parking: No pass required.

Bathrooms: No bathrooms at the trailhead we used.

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