username
X
password
register help

Tortolita Preserve Loop, AZ

details
drive
no permit
forecast
route
stats
photos
triplogs
topics
location
3 13 0
Guide 13 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson NW
Rated
3
3 of 5 by 3
 
0
Statistics
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 9.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,490 feet
Elevation Gain 525 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.93
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
3  2015-03-06 azdesertfather
Author azdesertfather
author avatar Guides 12
Routes 59
Photos 1,185
Trips 789 map ( 6,447 miles )
Age 45 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
Expand Map
Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Mar
Seasons   Early Winter to Early Spring
Sun  6:09am - 6:28pm
Official Route
 
0 Alternative
 
Water
A Preserve that May Not be Preserved
by azdesertfather

Tortolita Preserve is a 2,300 acre preserve managed by the town of Marana under a lease from the State Land Department since 2000. It is right at the end of Moore Road and sandwiched between Moore Road and The Gallery golf course. It is a nice old growth, ironwood-saguaro forest, with mature, mistletoe-filled ironwoods from 300 to 1,000 years old and large, mature saguaros a couple of centuries old.


The preserve was originally set up as housing developments and more started cropping up in the area, further threatening the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl, which at the time was on the endangered list. In 2006 the pygmy owl was taken off the federal endangered list, however, and since then there have been talks of Marana backing out of their 99-year lease as the lease rates escalate, to use the money for other purposes. There is a distinct possibility, if Marana backs out on the lease, that one day the preserve will be gone and purchased up from the state by the Dove Mountain developments that back up to its northern and eastern boundaries. So enjoy it while you can!

Hike:
If you are looking for a fairly easy to follow trail, or just looking for a place to get in a good, fairly flat trail jog, this is a good one to do. Dogs are ok in the preserve but must be leased at all times. The only real trail in the preserve is a loop trail that mostly follows the outer borders of the preserve. All along this loop, you will see metal signs designating particular features of interest, such as old ironwoods or specially named, notable saguaros, like Strong-Arm Saguaro, just under 5 miles into the loop.

Once passing through the gate where the paved Moore Road ends, follow the dirt Moore Road about 150 yards and you will see an entrance to the preserve on the right. After coming upon a rusted, metal map sign, almost immediately once entering into the preserve, the trail splits to form the loop. Following the loop in a counterclockwise position, the hike will head north for about 1¼ miles alongside Wild Burro Road. Here the main trail turns east, though there is a smaller trail about ¼ mile long that continues north and cuts off the 3 miles of the loop in the far NE portion of the preserve.

Taking the main route, the trail follows the boundary which is just north and west of homes adjacent to the preserve until you get to the preserve's far NE corner. Here, as the trail follows the northern boundary, which butts up against The Legacy golf course — fairly odd hiking in the desert to see lush putting greens just a few yards away and people riding around on golf carts next to the fence here!

As the trail makes its way west toward the NW boundary, eventually it leaves the golf course views. This area in the northwest and western boundaries is a little more hilly, though still pretty minor. Rather than continuing to make its way west toward the western boundary of the preserve, the trail does take a sharp turn south and make its way to the southern end. There are spots where the dirt Moore Road can be seen through the cacti and trees, but mostly the trail is just far enough in from the road that it isn't really visible. It is possible at the far SW end of the track to take the wash to the southwest and exit the preserve through an open gate there, and just take Moore Road back out if short on time. Along the southern end, at one point the trail comes alongside a short crested saguaro. After finishing the southern part of the loop, it ends up back at the main gate and trailhead.

Approximate distances:
East Boundary Trail along Heritage Highlands & other developments - 2.7 mi
North Boundary Trail along The Gallery Golf Course - 3.5 mi
West Boundary Trail along State Land Trust - 1.5 mi
South Boundary Trail along State Trust Land & the continuation of Moore Road - 1.5 mi

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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.

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

2015-03-07 azdesertfather
    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 Triplog Reviews
    Tortolita Preserve Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    it's been a little while. the development along the north stretch was kind of surprising :o

    it's dry and extremely sandy out there right now. saw a runner, mountain biker and a jack rabbit :lol:

    got pretty hot at the end
    Tortolita Preserve Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    First time out here, nice day. Tried slipping out of the northern gate to see if I could make my way up the wash that leads into the Wild Burro trailhead, but quickly discovered that I was on golf course property and abandoned that idea, heading back into the preserve. After finishing the loop, I followed the dirt Moore Road to its end, and entered back into the preserve at the SW part of the loop and re-did the southern part of the preserve loop back to the car.

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    To drive to the Tortolita Preserve entrance, take Tangerine Road to Dove Mountain Boulevard. Go north to Moore Road, and turn left again. Follow Moore to a dead-end at the preserve entrance. Park just outside the gate or just inside the gate.
    page created by azdesertfather on Mar 06 2015 11:22 pm
    3 pack - loud whistle
    go prepared
    help comment issue

    end of page marker