Peak 5961 - Catalinas, AZ | HikeArizona
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  This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Preferred" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Peak 5961 - Catalinas, AZ

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 15.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,250 feet
Elevation Gain 2,721 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,418 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 8.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 32.59
 Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Seasonal Creek & Peak
 Backpack Possible - Not Popular
unreported if dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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44  2022-11-02 Mike_W
author avatar Guides 44
Routes 66
Photos 2,521
Trips 212 map ( 1,182 miles )
Age 51 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Mar, Nov, Apr, Oct → 9 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:51am - 6:21pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2020 Bighorn Fire119.5k
🔥 2003 Aspen Fire87.7 mi*
🔥 View (All) - over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles

cause it was there!
by Mike_W

  Likely In-Season!
Peak 5961 is about 3/4 of a mile north of the Charouleau gap which is a saddle on Samaniego ridge at about 5,080 feet. Even though the Charouleau gap road is an old 4x4 road, it is currently very washed out, very steep in some places, and would be impossible to drive without a very capable dune buggy or quad with the right kind of tires and an experienced driver.

There are many parts of this road I would not even attempt with my 4x4 high clearance Chevy truck. If you don't have the right kind of vehicle you'll probably need to walk the entire length of it.

Start off taking the Charouleau gap 4x4 road to the northeast. The road will wind a bit but in general, you will be heading to the east. In fact, you can see the gap from a distance at the staging area looking to the east. It's the low point on Samaniego ridge where it is easiest to cross through. In the first 2 miles of the road, you will cross 2 washes. These washes are sandy in the middle and quite rocky and the way down and up. After traveling for over 2 miles, I ran into a confusing area where the road seemed to disappear and it was all rock. Just keep going forward and you will see the road continue.

After 2 miles, there are a few splits and it doesn't matter which direction you take because they all seem to join back together. At 3.25 miles, you'll see a split. If you take the right split, the road appears to dead-end at a rocky wall. If you are walking, it's fairly easy to climb over and walk past that wall. If you are driving take the left route at 3.25 miles. Either way, the road is very steep here and I wouldn't attempt it even with my 4x4 high-clearance truck.

After roughly 6.5 miles total, you should have made it to the gap. There's a cattle guard here with a trail junction and a trail heading up Samaniego ridge to near the top of Mt Lemmon. Looking to the east you can see Oracle ridge. If you look to the north you will see the false summit of peak 5961. From this point, I hiked up the grassy slope. Eventually, I got to a barbed wire fence line which made sense to cross under to reach the high point easier. It got progressively steeper and rockier as I got closer to the top. I found it to be easier to stay to the left of the high point.

Once I got higher up, I was able to reach the high point on the top of the ridge. Once on the top of the ridge, it was relatively easy to walk north to the high point of Peak 5961 which was about 1/2 mile north of the false summit. There was some up and down on this ridge, but it was pleasant and much easier than the steep bushwhack.

At the high point (Peak 5961), I found a registry between a few large rocks. On the registry, I counted 11 names (among 6 parties) in almost an 11-year period from early 2012 to today, so that's roughly 1 visitor per year on average.

There were some nice views from up here but the "reward per mile" was on the low side since this was a very long hike. If you like remote peaks that almost nobody hikes to then this may be a peak for you.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

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2022-11-03 Mike_W
    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 $$

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

    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From the Tucson area, take Oracle road north toward Oro Valley. Turn right and head east on Golder Ranch Drive for 1.2 miles. Turn left and head north on Lago Del Oro Parkway and continue for 3.1 miles. Look for signs for the Charouleau Gap Staging area and turn right. You'll park somewhere in this area on the side of the road.
    page created by Mike_W on Nov 03 2022 5:11 pm

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