Birding Hike: Gordon Hirabayashi Campground to Sycamore Reservoir with Holly Kleindienst ⋆ Tucson Audubon Skip to content
Categories: Field Trip
Scott's Oriole by Mick Thompson

Birding Hike: Gordon Hirabayashi Campground to Sycamore Reservoir with Holly Kleindienst

Trip difficulty: Difficult. 5+ Miles round trip over rugged trails with 800+ feet elevation gain both coming and going. This hike has a down-UP-DOWN profile on the way to the reservoir, which is reversed on the return trip. It is suitable for seasoned, self-reliant hikers; cell phone coverage and medical assistance are not available in this remote area.

The portion of the Arizona Trail from Gordon Hirabayashi Campground to Sycamore Reservoir on Mt Lemmon passes through juniper woodland habitat, a fairly scarce habitat type in the broader landscape around Tucson. In early summer it hosts Mexican Jays and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers in good numbers. Lucky birders may also hear the flute-like warbles of a Scott’s Oriole, or encounter Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jays or Juniper Titmice. Our turnaround destination is Sycamore “Reservoir”. The reservoir itself has long since silted in, but the tall narrow dam remains. The cottonwood-sycamore riparian habitat behind the dam hosts all manner of songbirds, both migrating and breeding.

Meet in the parking lot at the entrance to Gordon Hirabayashi Campground. Participants must pack a minimum of 2 qts of water and typical backcountry hiking essentials. Wear good hiking shoes, dress in light layers, and bring your binoculars.

Wrap up around 12 pm. Limit 10 participants.

Leader: Holly Kleindienst (

Registration for this trip is free. Register here starting Saturday, April 8, 7:00 AM.


Header Image: Scott’s Oriole by Mick Thompson





6:30 am - 12:00 pm

Trip Features

All Levels,
Outside Tucson,
Shade Available


Mount Lemmon- Gordon Hirabayashi Campsite


Holly Kleindienst