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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop, AZ

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1k 175 5
Guide 175 Triplogs  5 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson S
Rated
4.4
4.4 of 5 by 28
 
8
Statistics
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Multi-Loop 12.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,441 feet
Elevation Gain 4,010 feet
Accumulated Gain 4,050 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 6-8 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 33.05
Interest Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Will recalculate on button tap!
4  2019-08-03 chumley
7  2019-07-25 LJW
3  2019-05-19 gummo
4  2019-05-04 DixieFlyer
18  2019-02-10 nathanbrisk
5  2018-12-22 gummo
11  2018-09-03 trekkin_gecko
10  2018-09-03 LindaAnn
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 11
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,825
Trips 4,261 map ( 21,471 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct → Early
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:11am - 6:22pm
Official Route
 
12 Alternative
 
Water
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Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
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Wright On!
by joebartels

Likely In-Season!
Overview
This figure eight loop combines Old Baldy Trail up to the peak then follows the Super Trail #134 back down. Predominant vegetation consist of oaks, madrone, walnuts, pines and even a few sycamores.


2.3mi up to Josephine Saddle
Up slope from the restrooms the trail takes off easy and wide. Soon comes a junction with the Vault Mine Trail, proceed left on Old Baldy. About 1,700 feet up Josephine Saddle is reached at 2.3 miles / 7,100ft. This junction intercepts six paths.

1.8mi up to Baldy Saddle
The Super Trail and Old Baldy continue together for less than a quarter mile. Old Baldy continues to the left. Here the vegetation starts to turn. Beautiful pines fill the slope. 1.2mi from Josephine Saddle or 0.6mi before reaching Baldy Saddle you pass Bellow Springs. Soon followed by nearly a dozen tight switchbacks up to the saddle. Views on the saddle open up.

0.9mi up to peak
From here it's 0.9mi on the Crest Trail to the peak. The footing gets a little rocky on route. Wide views open up on Mount Wrightson (noted as "Baldy 2" on topo).

0.8mi down to Super Trail
Retrace your steps back down. 0.1mi before reaching the saddle take a right at the signed junction onto the Super Trail. For some odd reason the signage doesn't mention "Super Trail".

1.5mi to Riley Saddle
Here you enter the torched forest skirting the eastern flank over to Riley Saddle. Fortunately the views are top notch. To the east-northeast French Joe Peak hides Benson. To the east-southeast lies Sierra Vista with the Huachucas fanning south. In the far far east horizon lies the Chiricahuas. Continue on over a couple sections of firm scree. Our group debated this may be old mine tailings. Getting closer to Riley Saddle the brush closes in. It's not a bushwhack yet but could be in future years. From the saddle I'm sure some go off-trail 0.55mi to Josephine Peak.

1.7mi to Josephine Saddle
Views turn to the southern wilderness and the opposing ridge (directly west). Which is Tia Juana Ridge coming down from Mt Hopkins. The pines make a comeback the closer you get to Josephine Saddle. However the lack of shade over the past four to five miles begins to take its toll. Smiles curl as you're greeted by the towering pines on the lazy switchbacks.

3.4mi to parking
Carefully select the proper signed path for the Super Trail #134. Sprung Spring is immediately passed. This hike kicks into overdrive pampering you down. Albeit slighty sun exposed, every twist and turn continues to provide exceptional views. The best views of the peak are over your shoulder. McCleary Peak to the northeast practically begs a future visit. Huge and healty sycamores greet you at the creek. Within a half hour you arrive back to the parking lot.

Note
Data is derived from a combination of GPS and topo map routing.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Note
This is a moderately difficult hike.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2008-06-16 joebartels
  • book
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  • 100 Classic Hikes - 2007
    area related
    100 Classic Hikes - 2007

Coronado FS Details
Old Baldy is the shortest and steepest, while the Super Trail is longer but has a more moderate gradient, but both of these trails lead to the 9,543-foot summit of Mt. Wrightson, the highest peak in the Santa Ritas. The trails form a figure eight making it possible to put together a number of different loops using different portions of each. Old Baldy is the most heavily traveled and also remains the coolest of the two by keeping a more northerly aspect and staying in the trees for almost its entire length. The Super Trail stays within the same drainage as its steeper cousin on the lower loop of the “8”, but it follows a more south-facing slope through a high desert environment. Above the midpoint of the “8” at Josephine Saddle, the Super Trail loops around the south side of the mountain through even more arid country, while Old Baldy switchbacks through thickets of New Mexico locust on a west-facing slope to Baldy Saddle. The last mile to the summit of Mt. Wrightson via the Crest Trail #144 is the same no matter which trail you’ve followed to the saddle. The views from the summit are, to say the least, breathtaking. The Santa Catalinas near Tucson, Mt. Graham to the east, and the high peaks of the Huachucas to the southeast combine with sweeping views of the Santa Cruz and San Pedro valleys to form a 360° panorama. Actually, you don’t even have to go all the way to the top to enjoy great views. Many of these landmarks are visible from dozens of overlooks along both trails. And while you’re at it, remember that all that’s worth seeing here is not in the distance. The birdwatchers heaven that exists in Madera Canyon extends up the mountain into this area where, in addition to the birds, you have a chance to see Coues white-tailed deer, black bear and even mountain lion. The trails also boast an impressive potpourri of tree species characteristic of southeastern Arizona including Arizon
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.

Most recent of 55 deeper Triplog Reviews
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Hoping to avoid storms later in the day we got started at 7:30 and made quick work of the climb reaching the summit at about 10:20. It was a bit humid at the start, but cooler weather higher up and some light breezes made it pleasant.

A couple got engaged on the summit, and as an ordained minister, I offered to officiate. Sadly, they didn't want to seal the deal right then. [-(

Typical clouds started building by 11, and we lost the sun for good before we got around to Josephine. Thunder rumbled and light rain cooled us off for the final four miles. We never did pull out the rain gear as it was more pleasant than annoying.

The informational sign at the summit with the picture of the old fire lookout house on it isn't there anymore.
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
The trail was in as good of condition as I’ve ever seen it. Sign posted at trailhead warns pf Africanized bees. Person was stung 11 times 3 days ago near Josephine Saddle. Water flowing at Bellows Spring otherwise completely dry. I don’t think I could ever tire of this hike. Two hours and 30 minutes from bottom to the top and a little under an hour and a half back down.
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Headed down south for a day trip to Mount Wrightson with Chumley & Kyle. This is one of my favorite hikes in southern Az and this hike didn’t disappoint. We made the drive down and then made the figure eight loop. We saw Vince near the Josephine Saddle on our way down and chatted for a few minutes. Nice day on the trails!
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
One of my favorite old stand-bys. You just can't go wrong here!

A nice breeze offset the warm sun, and on the way down at lower elevations we got shade from some clouds. Talked to a few trail runners today, one at the summit who had made it up in about 1:15 I think he said. He said that 1:02 is the current day fkt, not too bad if you ask me!

Save for Bellows and the very bottom, not much water on the mountain today. But the whole loop has been freshly relieved of all deadfall, and the Super trail has received a full trimming, with a nice clear 4-6 foot wide path the whole way now.

On the way down we passed ultrazona and chatted for a minute before continuing on our way. BK's for tacos on the way home! :y:
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
We were introducing a dog to Old Baldy; he loved it and did great but got pooped on the switchbacks ~a mile above Josephine Saddle. We decided to take the Super Trail down since I hadn't been on the lower section in years and neither my friend nor the dog had been on that trail at all. It was well worth the detour, especially for the running water (an unusual sight these days).
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
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Super Trail - Baldy Loop
jj suggested Battleship or Wrightson. Since I told one of my neurologists yesterday I'm only doing easy trails Battleship from the jokester got nixed :lol:

The first five miles went off at 20 minutes a pop. Then the wind had my non blinking eye watering so I slowed down to manually blink or my depth of field gets funhouse mirror scary. The final 0.9 mile to the summit was a grunt.

Super Trail #134
The upper miles are scratchy, most will likely prefer pants.

Down Old Baldy Trail #372
Per typical I slow down descending to be careful not to slip. All went well. Today I went without the Camelbak and only used my medium sized fanny pack. Worked well but 14 miles would be my limit as it doesn't hold a lot of water.

Great weather, maybe 80 degrees at the warmest point. Large group of ladies at the summit and only a few others. One fit older guy was doing two laps on #372, he must be enjoying the retired life!

Mentioned several times to jj that I thought I'd done the Super Trail once or twice. Only to come home to realize I know the author of [ Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop ] pretty well ](*,)

Wildflowers
Yellow knee high daisies were putting on a stellar show!
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Mount Wrightson has been calling and a recent HAZ triplog is all it took to get this one on the schedule. Earlier in the week I asked Joe if he would be interested in going along. Luckily our open days lined up and we were able to make it happen.

Upon arrival we saw several cars in the parking lot but would only see a handful of other hikers on the trails. Up top was a group of ladies enjoying themselves but otherwise we mostly had the mountain to ourselves. The weather was perfect ranging from the low 70’s to about 80 degrees all day.

There were two memorable moments on this particular trip that I won’t soon forget. The first was when we were getting close to Baldy Saddle. There was a large downed tree crossing the trail and I had to get down on all fours and crawl under it. I thought to myself this is probably going to require some assistance to get Joe through the obstacle. He looked at it and then crouched down, worked himself around a bit and then managed to pop out the other side unassisted. If you saw the situation you would understand how awesome that was. The second was seeing Joe summit. I don’t really need to say much more about this but his recovery is well on its way and his attitude and drive are an inspiration.

On the way home we devoured some tacos at BKs in South Tucson. All in all just a great day!
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Got a late start after tending to some business this morning here in Phoenix. Started my hike at 2:40pm. Didn't see another soul until I hit Josephine Saddle on the return. One guy passing by in that area and that was it the whole trip. :o I was hoping to have the whole mountain to myself as that would be a first on this popular trail. Almost! :D
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
My Buddy Tom has been wanting to do a hike so I invited him along to do Mt Wrightson with me. Going to the top may have been a small stretch for him so I went on my way and he went up to Josephine Saddle and then continued on for about another mile before turning around. I caught up to him at Josephine Saddle and then we continued together on Old Baldy back to the Trailhead. Weather was excellent if not a tad chilly up top. Small amounts of snow remain in dark corners but for the most part it is all gone.

We stopped at BKs on the way home from some tasty tacos.
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Excellent figure-8 route on well-constructed trails. Just a few patches of snow in shady areas. Also went down Gardner to the end of the road and back - the lower half is nice with good flow in the creek at the bottom, the upper half is recovering burn zone with some downed trees.

There's decent at-large camping along Proctor Road at the mouth of the canyon (especially if you like cows).

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
Paved - Car Okay

To Madera Canyon Trailhead
From Tucson: I-19 south to exit 63 Continental. At the end of the exit take a left and follow brown signs to Madera Canyon. You'll be taking White House Canyon Road 13.2 miles to Madera Canyon.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 152 mi - about 2 hours 31 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 42.3 mi - about 55 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 295 mi - about 4 hours 37 mins
page created by joebartels on Jun 14 2008 8:00 pm
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