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La Milagrosa / Agua Caliente Canyon Loop, AZ

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259 44 0
Guide 44 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson N
Rated
3.7
3.7 of 5 by 10
 
6
Statistics
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 6.35 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,793 feet
Elevation Gain 969 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,440 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13.55
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Collective Slideshow
Recalculates 2018-10-22 6:30 pm
30  2018-01-28 tibber
5  2018-01-28 writelots
11  2018-01-04
La Milagrosa Agua Caliente Ridge Loop
markthurman53
3  2017-02-04 fricknaley
11  2016-01-30 GrottoGirl
8  2016-01-16
La Milagrosa Ridge
azdesertfather
9  2016-01-10 sirena
15  2016-01-10 writelots
Page 1,  2,  3
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
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Preferred   Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:53am - 5:22pm
openimportsetbegin
Route Scout App
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Official Route
 
4 Linked
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Agua Caliente Canyon
Agua Caliente Canyon
same trailhead
5.3 mi
1,326 ft
La Milagrosa Ridge
La Milagrosa Ridge
0.0 mi away
10.5 mi
2,212 ft
Soldier Trail #706
Soldier Trail #706
0.8 mi away
2.6 mi
1,800 ft
Babad Do'ag Drainage
1.0 mi away
4.6 mi
1,300 ft
Babad Do
Babad Do'ag
1.0 mi away
4.7 mi
1,430 ft
Soldier Canyon
Soldier Canyon
1.1 mi away
3.4 mi
1,245 ft
The Pillars
The Pillars
1.1 mi away
0.5 mi
1,700 ft
Prison Camp via Soldier Canyon Loop
Prison Camp via Soldier Canyon Loop
1.1 mi away
7.1 mi
2,351 ft
Agua Caliente Regional Park
1.2 mi away
3.0 mi
5 ft
Agua Caliente Hill
Agua Caliente Hill
2.0 mi away
9.0 mi
3,015 ft
[ View More! ]
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Canyon Loop with Great Views
by Red Rover

Overview: We've been talking about trying to find the trail up one side and down the other of La Milagrosa Canyon and Agua Caliente Canyon east of Tucson for some time. We finally took off to do it on a beautiful January day, and the search was worth it.


Hike: Start east on Horsehead Road which is blocked by a gate that was open the day we arrived (see Directions below.) As you walk down this dirt road it turns to a paved road after about half a mile for about 200 yards. When Horsehead Road intersects Wentworth Road you'll see a 4WD dirt road blocked by a gate. The fence beside it was crushed so you could walk over it, but if you have to open the gate, be sure to close it after you. Continue along this road which crosses Molino Wash and contours around a low ridge. The La Milagrosa Ridge trail goes off to the left. You'll soon pass a side trail to the left that goes to a small, abandoned house. If you take this trail, look for the main trail below the house, or backtrack to where you turned off. To your right is the wash that comes out of Agua Caliente Canyon, but wait to explore it when you come back this way as you complete the loop.

The trail is easy to find as you climb up the ridge. It's covered in loose rock which prohibits safely looking around while walking, however. The view improves as you climb and look back toward Tucson. You'll come to a gate in a fence across the trail that you pass through. As you climb take time to go over to the edge of the canyon on your right and look down and back toward Tucson. Be sure to do this along here since it's hard to see anything from the other side.

The trail will seem to end with a drop-off straight ahead, but look for it to your left to climb the small hill. After continuing over the hill you'l drop down to your right and cross a drainage. Even on a day with water in other areas, this was mostly dry, but you could see that it would be a funnel for water in heavy rain. After you cross this drainage look for the trail to climb the hill in front of you and back toward La Milagrosa on your right. When you come to a "Y" in the trail, take the right fork. The left trail continues to Molina Basin on the Catalina Highway. The right fork soon starts a descent to the bottom of the canyon. You can look across the canyon at the trail you'll take up the other side. As you enter the canyon floor you may find pools of water and even a small beach, depending on the time of the year. It was lovely in January. Turn right (west) toward Tucson on the floor of the canyon for a few hundred yards. Look for cairns to locate the trail as you wander along while watching for the trail leaving the canyon bottom and climbing up the opposite side. Even though we did some "exploring" it wasn't hard to find the trail.

The climb up the opposite side of the canyon seems long as you travel up a mostly dry grass and dirt trail that even turns back east briefly. But keep going until you come to a "Y" in the trail. Take the right fork that allows you to cross a fairly flat area at the end of the ridge. As you look ahead, it's easy to spot the trail winding through the saguaros. There are few opportunities to look off the ridge into Agua Caliente Canyon on this side. The canyons are blocked from view unless you bushwhack through some rough terrain with plenty of shin daggers. Straight ahead is Tucson as you travel mostly west and gradually start down the ridge. You'll come to another gate and fence as you near the end of the ridge. The trail gets quite rocky and is a series of switchbacks until you reach the wash again. As you reach the lowest area, you'll come out at a pool in the wash below the abandoned house you saw when you started out. After crossing the wash, climb the hill to rejoin the trail you started on. Turn left (west) on the trail toward the gate near Wentworth, and travel back down the paved/dirt road to your car. It's a great hike with elevation change up and down four times and great views of canyons, pools and Tucson in the distance. There is little to no shade, so this is a very early summer hike if at all. Winter is great.

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.

Red Rover
  • sub-region related
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 $$
None


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Paved - Car Okay

To Agua Caliente Trailhead
Take Catalina Hwy toward Mt Lemmon and turn right on Snyder Road. Turn left on N. Avenida de Suzenu to the intersection with Horsehead Road. There are usually a few cars parked along Suzenu at the intersection. The trail starts at Horsehead Road. This is actually a residential area, but the residents have agreed to allow foot traffic to get to the public land, so please be respectful so we can continue to have access to this lovely area. You must park where Horsehead Road and N. Avenida de Suzenu intersect.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 128 mi - about 2 hours 15 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 19.0 mi - about 38 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 272 mi - about 4 hours 20 mins
page created by Red Rover on Jan 28 2009 11:31 pm
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