This is an out and back beginning at the Catalina State Park trailhead parking lot. As you approach the main trailhead, you’ll see a trail to the left, running just inside a split rail fence. This is your trail, so get going :D
The trail switches back and forth, but primarily runs north-northeast for the first segment. At 0.7 miles in, you’ll come to a junction in a wash bottom. Be sure to hang left here. I mention this as I have missed my turn here more than once. Now it’s 2 more miles of mild and scenic trail to finish out this segment where you merge onto the Sutherland jeep trail. From here, you head due east for 0.9 miles. This segment is fortunately short as it isn’t very pleasant. This “jeep” trail isn’t even well liked by many jeeps, but this stretch is quickly behind you.
Now, I don’t want to over elevate your expectations, so don’t be thinking ‘Grand Canyon’, but instead a pleasant day on a lightly used trail that offers new views and perspectives of the Catalina’s western range. You are about 3.8 miles into it when you arrive at the Baby Jesus Trail splitting from the jeep trail and heading north-northwest. In 0.8 miles you’ll arrive at a concrete spring box filled by the nearby Wooden Trough Spring. If you happen to be here at the right time of the year it may even have a few gold fish in it. As you leave the spring you’ll head along a crooked northerly path that ungulates pleasantly over the soft foothills below Samaniego Peak, reaching its peak elevation of 3,885’ at just about 1.5 miles from the jeep trail. From here the trail arcs from north to northwest as you drop away from the ridgeline working ultimately toward the canyon floor. The end of the trail will all of a sudden be right there in front of you as it opens up into a system of jeep and ATV trails. This junction is a very nice spot with a lot of shade to rest in before your return.
Enjoy the views and the solitude.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.
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