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Crystal Spring Trail #17, AZ

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88 22 0
Guide 22 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson N
Rated
3.8
3.8 of 5 by 4
 
2
Statistics
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 3.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,800 feet
Elevation Gain -217 feet
Accumulated Gain 780 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.2
Interest Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Collective Slideshow
17  2016-08-30
Catalina Mts Crystal Spring Hike
markthurman53
5  2014-10-23 wha
7  2014-10-12 wha
12  2014-06-26 Mountain_Rat
2  2013-11-09 Sredfield
7  2013-11-05 Sredfield
5  2013-02-03
Butterfly Trail #16 - Catalina
OldNslow
9  2012-07-11 hikechoco
Page 1,  2
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Oct, Sep, Aug → 9 AM
Seasons   Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  7:12am - 5:18pm
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Official Route
 
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Water
Nearby Area Water
Oracle Ridge: Upper TH to Dan Saddle
Oracle Ridge: Upper TH to Dan Saddle
1.0 mi away
5.0 mi
-1,000 ft
Butterfly Trail #16 - Catalina
Butterfly Trail #16 - Catalina
1.6 mi away
5.1 mi
1,797 ft
Sunset Trail #90 - Catalina
Sunset Trail #90 - Catalina
1.6 mi away
3.2 mi
372 ft
Upper Lemmon Canyon & Pools
Upper Lemmon Canyon & Pools
1.8 mi away
8.0 mi
1,600 ft
Oracle Ridge - AZT #12
Oracle Ridge - AZT #12
1.8 mi away
15.5 mi
1,840 ft
Marshall Peak - Santa Catalinas
Marshall Peak - Santa Catalinas
1.9 mi away
3.9 mi
1,037 ft
Aspen / Marshall Loop
Aspen / Marshall Loop
1.9 mi away
3.5 mi
1,015 ft
Aspen / Marshall Superloop via Radio Ridge
Aspen / Marshall Superloop via Radio Ridge
1.9 mi away
8.6 mi
2,482 ft
Aspen Trail #93
1.9 mi away
3.7 mi
1,800 ft
Marshall Gulch Trail #3
Marshall Gulch Trail #3
1.9 mi away
1.2 mi
594 ft
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Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Catalina's Backside
by BrettVet

The northern half of the Catalina mountain range is affectingly called "The Backside" by locals, not in relation to any particular body part, just in reference to being away from Tucson. Very few people hike the backside trails, because most are steep and rocky. The Crystal Spring Trail is neither and can be accessed from an intersection of the Butterfly Trail about 1 mile in from the Soldiers Camp trailhead or from the Control road. Most people think the control road is named for a fire control road, but it is actually named that because before the Mt Lemmon Highway was built it was the only access to Summerhaven. It was so narrow that the timber wagons and cars could not pass each other so they "controlled" the direction. Up in the morning and down in the afternoon. The Control Road takes off the Mt. Lemmon Highway at the fire station (mile 24.5) and turns to dirt just past the fire station. Road conditions on the Control road can be variable and seasonal. Most of the time a high clearance 2 wheel drive vehicle has no problem if you are careful. The trailhead is on the right 2.8 miles from the fire station, about a hundred yards after the metal gate. It s not well marked with only a metal post. Park in a campsite on the opposite side of the road. I would skip this road if it looks like snowfall is imminent.


The first 2 miles from the Control road the trail is well-maintained and reasonable level and it parallels the mountainside winding in and out of streams. Lots of scrub oak and clear running streams with seasonal waterfalls. Wildlife is definitely more abundant on the backside because of the privacy. Bear, deer and the occasional mountain lion like this area. Crystal Spring is kind of anticlimactic compared to the creek beds you had to cross getting to it. It is about a mile and a half in. From the spring the trail deteriorates fairly rapidly as it goes through the Bullock Fire area. It is overgrown with brush, the razor kind with lots of poison ivy because of the abundant water. It climbs steadily for about 2 miles to the butterfly trail. At this intersection right will take you to the soldier camp trailhead and left will take you around the backside of Mount Bigelow and add 4 to five miles to the hike. This would be a great 2 car shuttle hike to either trailhead or simply hike as far as you can and do an out and back hike. The first mile or two from the control road is a great hike for kids because it is easy has great views with water to play in and an adventure getting there. I hike this trail to the spring and back frequently and have never seen another hiker.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

BrettVet
  • sub-region related

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Permit $$
Visit this link for full details.

There are four specific day use areas that require a Coronado Recreational Pass or a National Pass/America the Beautiful Pass.
1) Sabino Canyon - located on the Santa Catalina Ranger District (520)749-8700
2) Madera Canyon - located on the Nogales Ranger District (520)281-2296
3) Cave Creek - located on the Douglas Ranger District (520)364-3468
4) Mt. Lemmon at 11 day use sites.

Catalina State Park $6 per day. Sabino Canyon Tram is $10 extra.

Coronado Forest
MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

To hike
Speedway east to Wilmot. Go north to Tanque Verde. North on the Catalina Highway to the beginning of the Mt. Lemmon Highway. Turn right at the fire station (mile 24.5) and turns to dirt and is called the Control Road. Road conditions on the Control road can be variable and seasonal. Most of the time a high clearance 2 wheel drive vehicle has no problem if you are careful. The trailhead is on the right 2.8 miles from the fire station, about a hundred yards after the metal gate. It s not well marked with only a metal post. Park in a campsite on the opposite side of the road. I would skip this road if it looks like snowfall in imminent.
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