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Cherry Tank Trail - Catalina Mountains, AZ

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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 4.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,512 feet
Elevation Gain 700 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,065 feet
Avg Time One Way 2
Kokopelli Seeds 8.05
Interest Seasonal Creek
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Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
8  2017-10-26 markthurman53
10  2017-10-26
Cherry Tank and Baby Jesus Loop
10  2017-10-24
Middle Gate and Cherry Tank 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, Feb, Nov, Jan
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:48am - 7:07pm
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

Prepare to be surprised
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 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 for $15.00 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. Accessing this trail is from the Golder Ranch Road Trail Head via the Middle Gate Trail or this trail can be accessed from the north end via the Charouleau Gap Road which is on National Forest land. The Charouleau gap road is a rough 4WD road and in places not sure I would call it a road even for high clearance 4WD.

This description is from the south end of the trail where it intersects the Middle gate Trail. Two trails come off the Middle Gate Trail for the Cherry Tank Trail, The one to the south is about midway on the Middle Gate trail, at its crest, and is the best route if coming in from the south. The route for this description is for the southernmost access point. If coming from the north on the Middle Gate Trail the other access point is 0.4 miles further north of the southern access trail along the Middle Gate. This access trail or spur trail connects up to the Cherry Tank Trail in 0.4 miles. The Cherry Tank Trail starts following a small tributary of Sutherland Wash and after 1.5 miles drops into the upper reaches of Sutherland Wash. Pusch Ridge to the south and Samaniego Peak to the East are the main views. The trail remains in or near Sutherland Wash and after 0.25 miles comes to the junction with the Cowboy Slickrock Trail. From here on the Cherry Tank Trail becomes very interesting. The Canyon becomes narrow and passes through one of the best riparian areas I have seen in this area. The hills on either side are made up of very large granite outcrops particularly to the east where they form domes much like in Yosemite (except smaller). I found myself continually gazing at them even though I was trying to watch the trail for snakes, which I saw two already. These rock domes will remain visible from the trail for the next mile or so. After an interesting 0.5 miles along the Sutherland Wash, the trail heads north out of the canyon and up to a ridge where it intersects the Cherry Tank Upper Trail. The trail continues east along a ridge that separates the Sutherland Wash Drainage system from the Dodge Tank Wash Drainage system. The vegetation slowly changes to a Grass Oak Tree environment. Massive rocks are now due south of the trail. The trail gradually heads south until it comes to Cherry tank (could be Dodge Tank, not named on map). This tank had a good amount of water in it and I was surprised because we hadn’t had any rain since mid-August and this was late October. From this tank, the trail follows the road north to the Charouleau Gap Road. This is the northern access point to this trail but the 4WD road is in rough condition and in places I wouldn’t consider it drivable. I park my Jeep down near Canada Del Oro and walk the two miles to this trailhead.

This trail is in good condition with minimal route finding skills required; just keep a watch out along the upper reaches of the trail as the grass tends to obscure the trail in places. For those interested in hiking this trail to the Charouleau Gap Road and not interested in seeing Cherry Tank and adding 1.4 miles to the trek, there is a shortcut route that bypasses the tank. At about 0.8 miles from the Charouleau Gap Road after climbing out of Dodge Tank Creek, the road comes to a crest, at this crest, there is a faint trail that heads to the southeast. The route follows down a small ridge and across a wash then up the other side to connect up with the Cherry Tank Trail near the intersection with the Cherry Tank Upper Trail. This is a 0.4 mile, hone your route finding skills trail. From the road, you can see your destination so there isn’t much chance of getting lost.

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.

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 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 11:44 am
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    prehydrate & stay hydrated

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