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Middle Gate Trail - Catalina Mountains, AZ

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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 2.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,244 feet
Elevation Gain 300 feet
Accumulated Gain 462 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.04
Interest Seasonal Creek
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
10  2017-10-24
Middle Gate and Cherry Tank Loop
2  2017-10-24 markthurman53
Author markthurman53
author avatar Guides 162
Routes 683
Photos 7,885
Trips 532 map ( 4,888 miles )
Age 67 Male Gender
Location Tucson, Arizona
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Jan, Dec
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:16am - 7:33pm
Official Route
1 Alternative

From South Gate to Middle Gate
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. The locals informed me 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. Access to the Middle gate Trail is from the Golder Ranch Road Trail Head.

This trail starts on State Trust Land along the 50 Year Trail, where the dirt road crosses a cattle guard. This is the same trailhead used for the Baby Jesus Trail. There are no trail signs here, so knowledge of where the trails start is essential. From the trailhead, do not take the 50 Year Trail. The 50 Year Trail heads off to the east or west but stays to the north of the cattle guard. Instead, head to the southeast crossing the cattle guard and follow the dirt road for about 300 feet and take the trail that heads off to the east from the road. The Middle Gate trail heads east and crosses an unnamed wash, and 100 yards after that, it crosses Sutherland Wash. Once across the wash, you enter National Forest land. This trail is 2.5 miles long and has an elevation gain of about 300 feet in the first 1.3 miles, and then the next 1.2 miles drops back down almost all of the 300 feet where it ends at the middle gate on the 50 Year Trail. This trail is heavily used by mountain bikers and is easy to follow. Middle Gate Trail follows along the lower hills and parallels Sutherland Wash, and its main attraction are the boulders that the trail winds through. The hike's last half is downhill and enters a wash and small canyon that will lead to the 50 Year Trail. From this trail, the Cherry Tank Trail can be accessed along with the 50 Year Upper Trail. Other than the boulders and a short stretch along the wash leading to the 50 Year trail, there is not much on this trail. Views other than Samaniego Peak and Ridge are minimal due to the lack of any elevation. This trail can be used as a connector trail to other trails.

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 the trailhead at corral and cattle guard
    page created by markthurman53 on Oct 27 2017 11:18 am
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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