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Baby Jesus Upper Trail - Catalina Mountains, AZ

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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,524 feet
Elevation Gain 250 feet
Accumulated Gain 564 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.22
Interest Seasonal Creek
Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
3  2017-10-26 markthurman53
10  2017-10-26
Cherry Tank and Baby Jesus Loop
author avatar Guides 187
Routes 827
Photos 9,769
Trips 659 map ( 5,632 miles )
Age 69 Male Gender
Location Tucson, Arizona
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Mar, Nov, Feb, Jan
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:47am - 7:08pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2020 Bighorn Fire119.5k
🔥 2005 Cottonwood6.6 mi*
🔥 2003 Aspen Fire87.7 mi*
🔥 View (All) - over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles

I Dub Thee Baby Jesus Upper Trail
by markthurman53

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This is a trail on the western slopes of the Catalina Mountains below Samaniego Ridge. Most of these trails in this area are used as mountain bike trails but do see some hikers, especially as you get higher up on the slopes of Samaniego Ridge. There is a maze of trails in this area many of them are not official named routes. Signage in this area is nonexistent. This trail is entirely on National Forest but access is from State Trust land and a State Trust Land Permit may be required. I was informed by the locals that hiking in the area didn’t require a permit but parking on state Trust Land probably does. The rules for State Trust Land require that you get a permit if entering Trust Land. I went on line and got a year pass for $15.00 to be on the safe side. The Majority of the trails in this area are on National Forest but the Trail Heads are on Trust Land. Access to the Baby Jesus Upper Trail is from the Golder Ranch Road Trail Head via the Middle Gate Trail from its northern access point or from along the Baby Jesus Trail on its northern access point.

This was a trail I have seen on maps and is visible on Google earth but I could not find a name for it. It is a good trail and easy to follow, no route finding skills are required; in fact it is in better shape than lots of the other named trails in this area. It appears to be used by both hikers and bikers. This trail deserves a name so I am calling it the Baby Jesus Upper Trail because it is further up on Samaniego ridge than the Baby Jesus Trail. Other options were Baby Jesus East Fork or baby Jesus Cherry Tank Interconnect.

This trail starts along the Cherry Tank Trail 200 feet from the Middle Gate Trail. This trail is 2.4 miles with an elevation gain of about 300 feet from north to south. The trail heads east and climbs gradually about 100 feet before heading south and dropping back down 100 feet as it crosses a major creek that comes down off of Samaniego Ridge. Crossing this creek will take about 1 mile with an elevation gain on the other side of about 150 feet. At 1.3 miles the trail comes to a cement trough at a small nondescript stream at a place called Cement Dam Tank and Spring. There was water in this tank in October even though it had not rained in over two months. This appears to be a rather permanent spring. Large Oak trees provide a nice cool place to take a break. For the next mile the trail gradually climbs another 150 feet as it approaches Baby Jesus Ridge and the Baby Jesus Trail.

This is an easy trail to follow with great views to the east of Samaniego Ridge and Peak. This is the closest trail to the ridge of all the trails in this area, and offers the best views of Samaniego peak. There is a large cement tank just downstream of where the cement water trough is and might warrant some exploring. This trail crosses a creek that comes down off of Baby Jesus Ridge just prior to reaching the Baby Jesus Trail and looks like another good area to explore. Lots of large oak trees and seems a little too green for there not to be some source of water. This trail along with the Baby Jesus Trail makes for a good loop hike with an in and back side trip to the Sutherland Trail in Cargodera Canyon.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2017-10-27 markthurman53
    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 $$
    AZ State Recreational Land Permits
    For hiking, driving & sightseeing purposes, you seek the recreational permit.
    Under "Recreational Land Use" in the link above.
    2020 - $15.00 individual
    2020 - $20.00 family limited to two adults and children under the age of 18
    Plus $1 processing fee
    The permitting process quick, you will be emailed your permit instantly.

    Land Parcel Map

    Coronado Forest
    MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
    Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Tucson take Hwy 77 (Oracle Road) to the town of Catalina. At Golder Ranch Road turn right. Follow Golder Ranch Road until it turns to dirt, go through the cattle guard, take an immediate left on E. Equestrian Trail. follow the dirt road for 0.6 miles turn right at the corral. Follow the 4WD road 0.7 miles to trail head at corral and cattle guard.
    page created by markthurman53 on Oct 27 2017 12:06 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool

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