register help
This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Oracle Ridge: Upper TH to Dan Saddle, AZ

Guide 17 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
  3.2 of 5 
1 Active
64 17 0
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,787 feet
Elevation Gain -900 feet
Accumulated Gain 127 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.54
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
4  2019-06-29
Catalina Camp Trail
22  2018-06-09
Oracle Ridge to Catalina Camp
1  2018-06-03
Oracle Ridge - Red Ridge Loop
7  2018-03-21
Oracle Ridge - Red Ridge Loop
4  2018-03-10
Rice Peak
5  2017-08-06 fricknaley
3  2017-03-22 zephyr2u
5  2016-03-19
Oracle Ridge - AZT #12
Page 1,  2
Author fricknaley
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 387
Photos 3,974
Trips 3,106 map ( 20,172 miles )
Age 45 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Map - Rainbow Expeditions Santa Catalinas
Forest Restrictions / Closures Check Fire Restrictions / Closures
Forest Coronado
Preferred   Sep, Aug, May, Jun → 8 AM
Seasons   Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  5:16am - 7:33pm
Official Route
7 Alternative

Ridge with a view
by fricknaley

Likely In-Season!
This particular trail lies within a region that was heavily burned in the Aspen Fire. If this bothers you, as I know it does some, you may want to consider other options for now. I still found it to be quite worthwhile for other reasons I'll describe below.

Oracle Ridge is a long north running trail that basically descends all the way from Mt. Lemmon to the town of Oracle below (ends in state park). It was an old mining route. There are numerous saddles and campsites along the way, and I choose to hike out to Dan Saddle and back for a shorter trip. This trail is interesting because it is mostly exposed, but running along at 7000+ feet, the heat is not overbearing at all. Large views of the northern Catalinas can be seen at all times as well as to the west (including impressive views of the Reef of Rocks) and east.

The trail immediately takes around a ridge from the trailhead, through the only forested part of the hike. Again, burn is very evident here. Ground cover is abundant, and there was actually a large amount of wildflowers all around here. As you wind your way around the ridge and through the forest, it becomes evident that you are heading for the ridge and once you arive on it large expansive views open up all around and the route is mostly exposed from here on out.

Most of the way from here is a gradual descent, though it is occasionally steep. You crest or skirt a couple of minor peaks along the way down. Frequently to the east you see evidence of the old mining routes far below, as well as the jeep track that appears to ultimately make it's way down to Oracle far, far below.

At about 2 miles in or so, you intersect an old jeep track. Merge with this and keep following it down. Soon a signed side trail breaks off to your left. This trail weaves and switchbacks its way down and dumps you back on the jeep track again. This happens one more time as well. This time when you are dropped back on the jeep track, a couple more yards down the track places you at Dan Saddle. The trail continues on from here, and another route breaks off to the west (Catalina Camp) as a connector to the Red Ridge trail. I turned around here and made the climb back up. Nice views of the Reef of Rocks and Mount Lemmon lie ahead the whole way back.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2005-07-04 fricknaley
    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 $$
    Visit this link for full details.
    2021 - FAQ
    $8 per vehicle per day
    $10 per vehicle per week
    $40 per vehicle per year (valid for one year from date of purchase)

    There are four specific day use areas that require a Coronado Recreational Pass or a National Pass/America the Beautiful Pass.
    1) Sabino Canyon - located on the Santa Catalina Ranger District (520)749-8700
    2) Madera Canyon - located on the Nogales Ranger District (520)281-2296
    3) Cave Creek - located on the Douglas Ranger District (520)364-3468
    4) Mt. Lemmon at 11 day-use sites.

    2021 Catalina State Park
    Per vehicle (1-4 Adults): $7.00
    Individual/bicycle: $3.00

    2021 Sabino Canyon Tram is $12 extra. [ website ]

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

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Take the Catalina highway from Tucson up into the mountains. Just before Summerhaven, near the very top, is Oracle Control Road to your right. Turn here, there are signs for a small firestation as another marker. Drive past the firestation, and about 200 yards down a gravel road to the marked trailhead.
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    help comment issue

    end of page marker