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40 minutes south of Tucson, on the west side of the Santa Rita Mountains




Winds ideally must be northwest to fly this site. There are mid day conditions for thermalling, where you only venture up to launches if the wind is W to NW and somewhat light. West winds from top launch usually funnel up the hill creating good launch conditions, and the mid launch faces west, but westerly conditions may create rotor along the west-facing ridge that descends down toward lower launch, especially if there is a south component at all. The cycles can blow in very strong, especially in summer.
For late afternoon glass-off conditions, wind typically smoothes out, where mid- to top-launch can be really good in W to NW conditions.  Lower launch is accessed via a hike up from the LZ but it faces north on the side of a Western extending ridge, so wind MUST be NW. A due west wind at lower launch location is dangerous.


  • There are cliffs and steep valleys below the launches with limited to no cell reception. AZ winds can easily shift creating rotors or conditions where you could be pushed OTB.
  • Dehydration and heat exhaustion are a real hazard during hot weather. Bring plenty of water for the hike up.
  • Desert flying is hazardous in hot weather. Inexperienced pilots should limit flights to evenings under the guidance of a local pilot. DO NOT attempt to fly this site for the first time without a local guide!
  • Rain or virga in the desert produces gust fronts and microbursts. Watch for overdevelopment or lines of moving dust.
  • Desert vegetation has teeth and eats the wings of the unwary or careless.
  • Rattlesnakes may be present during spring, summer, and early fall.

Ratings / Requirements:

P3, P2 with instructor or local guide. SAHGA and USHPA membership required.


SAHGA club frequency is 151.925 (USHGA Ch. 2)


There are three launches. Lower is a hike up, about 800’ above the LZ. The mid launch faces west, and top launch is Alazurra Peak, about 6100 MSL.

Launch Direction:

Visitors please see the listed site contacts for information.

Launch Access:

Dirt forest road 2wd to LZ and hike up the front. Arizona State Trust land, individual or family recreational use permits required to hike to launch; or 4wd to back parking and shorter hike up the back over USFS land.


Fairly large field, about 4400 MSL. Arizona State Trust land under SAHGA group activity permit.

LZ Directions:

Visitors please see the listed site contacts for information.

LZ Access:

Paved two-lane road to dirt high clearance forest service road.

LZ Parking:

Along road near LZ.




All pilots planning to fly this site must access and review the Box Canyon Emergency Action Plan.  They must make a copy of the plan so that it can be easily consulted in the event of an emergency.  They must also execute the pre-expedition and on-site-arrival checklists contained in the EAP.  
When calling 911 in the event of an emergency, be prepared to give the operator the lat/long coordinates of the emergency scene and also expect to be asked what county the emergency scene is in.  Quite often it will be the county sheriff who will direct rescue operations.
911 Pima County Sheriff's Department; St. Mary's hospital, 10 miles north Rt 19 to Rt 10, take Congress St. Exit, west on Congress until it turns north into Silverbell, 0.5 mi. north.