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This trail provides access to the upper slopes of Mt. Hopkins, the second most prominent peak in the Santa Ritas. The trail leaves from Roundup Picnic Area at the end of Madera Canyon Road. It earned its descriptive name because it climbs 1,400 feet in a distance of a little over one-half mile. This heart-thumping climb leads from upper Madera Canyon to the vicinity of Agua Caliente Saddle, where that trail branches off toward Josephine Saddle and several other trails that crisscross the upper slopes of the Santa Rita Mountains.
If you arrange a shuttle in advance, a trip that stretches between this trailhead and the Very Steep/Vault Mine trailhead in Madera Canyon makes a good long day hike. A loop that doesn't require a shuttle takes you up the Very Steep/Vault Mine trail to Agua Caliente Saddle, then northeast to Josephine Saddle, and back to the Roundup parking Area via the Lower end of either Old Baldy or Super Trail.
1.5 miles of the Very Steep/Vault Mine Trail are within the Mt. Wrightson Wilderness. Mechanized vehicles, including mountain bikes, are not permitted in Wilderness areas.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
This is a moderately difficult hike.
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.