for free!

Baby Jesus Trail - Catalina Mountains, AZ

Guide 5 Triplogs  1 Topic
  2.5 of 5 
6 5 1
tap icons for details
Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 4.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,243 feet
Elevation Gain 650 feet
Accumulated Gain 964 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.31
 Interest Seasonal Creek
feature photo
Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
13  2017-12-21
50 Year - Baby Jesus Loop
6  2017-10-26 markthurman53
10  2017-10-26
Cherry Tank and Baby Jesus Loop
author avatar Guides 187
Routes 863
Photos 10,337
Trips 702 map ( 5,893 miles )
Age 70 Male Gender
Location Tucson, Arizona
Associated Areas
list map done
Tucson Region
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
Expand Map
Preferred Feb, Mar, Jan, Dec → Early
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:00am - 6:46pm
Official Route
2 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

Not sure how it got its name
by markthurman53

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 officially 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 online and got a year pass to be on the safe side. The Majority of the trails in this area are on National Forest but the trailheads are on Trust Land. Access to the Baby Jesus Trail is from the Golder Ranch Road Trailhead.

This trail starts on State Trust Land at the same location as the Middle Gate Trail and just like the Middle Gate, quickly enters National Forest after crossing Sutherland Wash. In the first two miles, the trail climbs 700 feet but the first half mile is a fairly gradual climb. Take time to check out the rather fine collection of saguaros along this section. While not the largest I have seen, it is impressive and probably has more large healthy saguaros than I have seen in one small area.

After the Saguaro display, the trail starts to climb and closer views to the south of Baby Jesus Ridge come into view. Samaniego Ridge and Peak are to the east. At 2.2 miles in is the junction with what I am calling the Baby Jesus Upper Trail, Could not find an official name for this trail so I named it. This trail heads back to the north staying above and east of the baby Jesus Trail and ending on the Cherry Tank Trail. The Baby Jesus crests out at 2.4 miles and for the next 1.6 makes only small elevation changes as it crosses streams that are coming down off of Samaniego Ridge. Views to the south are of Cargodera Canyon and the Sutherland Ridge. At 2.8 miles a cement trough at wooden trough spring (don’t ask) is alongside the trail. This was October and there was water in it. The trail continues down a ridge and crosses a major wash and then out of the wash to the Sutherland Trail (4WD Road).

This trail appears to be more popular with hikers than bikers, probably due to the steepness of the first half. This trail starts with views of Samaniego Peak and Baby Jesus Ridge and transitions to views of Cargodera Canyon and Sutherland Ridge. This trail is easy to follow with one exception just south of Wooden Trough Spring. Stay on the ridge heading south and don’t get suckered into following a trail that heads west down from the ridge. I had a GPS route and I made the mistake. Lesson learned, check the GPS more often.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2017-10-27 markthurman53

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    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 a recreational permit.
    Under "Recreational Land Use" in the link above.
    2022 - $15.00 individual
    2022 - $20.00 family limited to two adults and children under the age of 18
    Plus $1 processing fee
    The permitting process is 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)

    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 the trailhead at corral and cattle guard. If you have a high-clearance 2wd truck or 4WD, you can drive down this road 0.3 miles to the Sutherland Wash and park at the trailhead.
    page created by markthurman53 on Oct 27 2017 11:55 am

    end of page marker