Vail is a Gateway Community to the Arizona Trail

Originally a Southern Pacific railroad town, Vail is a growing community east of Tucson in the shadow of the Rincon Mountains.  Vail is now a Gateway Community to the Arizona Trail and the GVACC is the steward of segment 8B of the trail that starts at Pistol Hill Rd and runs 6 miles north to Hope Camp where it enters Saguaro National Park. This popular segment is easily accessible from Pistol Hill Road and is a relatively easy hike, horseback or bike ride; however, there is no water on this segment.  Just a short distance from the trail you can find delicious Mexican food and basic necessities for your trail adventures.  This “town between the tracks” is also home to Colossal Cave Mountain Park and the Gabe Zimmerman Memorial Trailhead.

The Arizona Trail goes through Colossal Cave Mountain Park, but to see the cave itself requires a two mile detour.  The cave and surrounding areas have been in use since around 900 A.D. when the Hohokam formed a thriving community, farming in the valley and using the cave for shelter, storage and as a shrine.  Today it features public tours, a gift shop, camping and nearby La Posta Quemada Ranch.

You can access Cienega Creek, to the South from the Gabe Zimmerman Memorial Trailhead.  Gabe Zimmerman, a 30 year old aide to U. S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, was killed along with five others in the January 8, 2011 shootings in Tucson that injured Giffords and a dozen others.  This trailhead and interpretive trail celebrates his life and love of the outdoors and the Arizona Trail.

Visit the trail year around for an enjoyable hike, bike ride or horseback ride through the beautiful Sonoran Desert.

Arizona Trail