Broadway in midtown Tucson is all about bright lights and big city - but you will find something very different near the street's eastern dead end: tranquil trails. • A maze of more than a dozen interconnected paths begins at a trailhead off Broadway just west of Camino del Codorniz. • Hikers can link trails into loop routes ranging from short strolls to treks totaling many miles. • The surroundings: classic Sonoran Desert. • The access: easy as pie. BOOTS AND HOOVES
Hikers and horseback riders share the trails, which lie within Saguaro National Park East. Mountain biking isn't permitted.
Many of the trails are mostly flat or gently rolling, but some of them have uphill and downhill passages.
A SCENIC SETTING
These trails might be easy to reach, but that convenience doesn't come at the price of second-rate scenery.
Befitting their Saguaro Park locale, the trails take hikers and riders through a wild gallery of giant cacti of almost endless shapes and sizes.
Other prickly species - including cholla cacti and desert trees - decorate the spaces between towering saguaros.
Horizon views take in the Catalina and Rincon mountains - often handsomely snowcapped after winter storms.
"It's beautiful out here," said Jacosa Boyle as she trekked one of the area's loop routes with her 2-year-old Lillian.
No argument there.
ONE POPULAR LOOP
Here is a loop route that totals about 3 miles and involves only a few gentle ups and downs.
From the Broadway trailhead, hike east on the Shantz Trail and continue via well-signed junctions east on the Pink Hill Trail, south on the Loma Verde Trail, west on the Cholla Trail and north on the Cactus Forest Trail.
The final segment on the Cactus Forest Trail leads back to the trailhead.
To see a map of the trails, go online to www.nps.gov/sagu/planyourvisit/brochures.htm and click on "Hiking in the cactus forest."
Pets are prohibited on the trails.