Walkers find woodland wonders in an atmosphere of tranquility on the Green Mountain Trail — one of the lowest trails with true forested terrain in the Catalina Mountains.
The trail — which begins at an altitude of 5,920 feet between mile markers 11 and 12 on the 25-mile Catalina Highway — is a green haven of ponderosa pines, oaks, ferns and a trickling stream.
Walking even a mile or two of the 4.3-mile trail is a tradition for hikers seeking a quick, yet soothing, getaway from urban Tucson. For a longer trek, some continue to the end of the route — an upper trailhead between mile markers 17 and 18 on the highway.
From a parking lot at the lower trailhead, the route heads first uphill on a bluff above the highway and then angles away from the highway into a beautiful expanse of forest.
After descending to a watercourse, the trail follows the sometimes flowing, sometimes dry, streambed up a wooded canyon before climbing to a broad ridge affording big views across the Catalinas. This makes a good turnaround point for a moderate day hike.