Mt. Graham – Swift Trail – Pinaleno Mountains

Date & Time: 
July 8, 2017 -
7:15am to 2:00pm
Meeting Place: 
7:15 AM in Fry’s parking lot at 8080 S. Houghton Rd. at the corner of Houghton and Rita Road which is 2.8 miles north of Interstate 10 on Houghton.
Trip Leader: 
Cindy Bethard
Special Notes: 
The road trip to the first butterfly stop will take approximately 2 hours with restroom stops at Texas Canyon (1 hour travel time) on Interstate 10 and then at Noon Creek Picnic Area(restroom available) on the Swift Trail. The second meeting place will be Noon Creek Picnic Area on the Swift Trail at approximately 9:00 - 9:15AM. Approximate stop time: 1:30 - 2:00PM at Hospital Flat which is 1 mile past the end of the paved road – we will then commence an approximate 2.5-3.0 hour drive back to Tucson. Any questions please contact: Cindy Bethard at or 520-429-2650 (texting OK). Please RSVP so I know who to wait for at the two meeting places.

Trip description: We are going up Mt. Graham, to approximately 8,500’ and we will see breathtaking views along the way up the Swift Trail. Beautiful flowered meadows, an amazing amount of flowers along the road, and free running streams make the road (Swift Trail) a beautiful and enticing trip. Some northern butterflies make their way to this mountain as it extends well into the Canadian zone. We will be making several stops starting with Wet Canyon, and other interesting places such as Ladybug Saddle, Snow Flat, Treasure Park, and Hospital Flat. We hope to see a variety of butterfly species such as Northwestern Atlantis Fritillary, Weidemeyer’s Admiral, Two-tailed Swallowtail, Western Tiger Swallowtail, Crescents and Skippers such as Golden-banded Skipper, Silver-spotted Skipper and Western Branded Skipper. Most of our day will be spent between 6000’ and 8500’ so the temperature will be much cooler than in the Tucson Area. If you haven’t explored this area take advantage of this trip, and if you are experienced with this area, please join us and assist in finding some of the uncommon species that are possible here.  Please note the last 1 mile of this trip up the mountain will be on a dirt road (ok for passenger cars). Total round trip will be approximately 265 miles.


Type of terrain: We will be making stops along the road (Swift Trail) at creek crossings, wet canyons and grassy meadows. There will be some bushwhacking, walking through meadows with no trails and uneven terrain.

Leader email:

General Information

Beginners are welcome on all field trips! Experienced members will share their butterfly knowledge and expertise with all field trip participants. Children accompanied by a responsible adult are welcome on SEABA field trips. A donation of $5 per person to benefit SEABA will be appreciated. Carpooling from the meeting place is encouraged and it is kind to share gas expenses. If high clearance vehicles are required for a trip, it will be noted in individual trip descriptions. Dress for the field with sturdy shoes, hat, sunscreen, and insect repellant. Bring your own water, snacks, and lunch. Close-focusing binoculars, cameras, and field guides will be helpful aids for butterfly observation and identification. Trips usually end by mid-afternoon unless noted differently in individual trip descriptions.

Please be aware that:

1. Collecting or netting is NOT allowed on SEABA field trips.

2. Pets, with the exception of service animals, are NOT allowed on SEABA field trips.

3. All field trip participants are required to sign SEABA's Release and Assumption of Risk form at the beginning of the trip. The form may be viewed at SEABA Release.

4. Please arrive a few minutes prior to the meeting time posted for trips to facilitate paperwork and introductions to other trip participants.

    5. Field trips may be cancelled or rescheduled on short notice due to changing weather or road conditions. Please check the website for updates prior to the Field Trip.


    Our Southeastern Arizona Butterfly Checklist can be downloaded here. Please note that the SEABA checklist is copyrighted.

    Local NABA Butterfly Counts are listed at NABA Counts

    Field trips organized by the Central Arizona Butterfly Association are listed at their website: CAzBA.