Some of the hikers were led out of Bear Canyon by deputies using swift-water rescue techniques, but others had to be flown to safety by helicopter.
No one was reported injured and most were on dry ground by nightfall, the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson said. About 10 people were stuck until after nightfall.
Rains earlier in the day in the Catalina Mountains triggered the influx of water. ""The hikers in the Bear Canyon area did not take into account that the weather conditions earlier in the day might have a delayed effect," Deputy Tom Peine told the newspaper.
The National Weather Service called for occasional showers in the Tucson area Sunday but there were no flash flooding advisories posted.