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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

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Guide 16 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson N
3.5 of 5 by 6
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,880 feet
Elevation Gain -1,000 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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
17  2013-05-22
Oracle Ridge Canada Del Oro Mount Lemmon Loop
Page 1,  2
Author fricknaley
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 379
Photos 3,606
Trips 2,654 map ( 17,558 miles )
Age 43 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, Aug, May, Jun → 8 AM
Seasons   Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  5:20am - 7:20pm
7 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Ridge with a view
by fricknaley

Likely In-Season!
NOTE: 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.

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2005-07-04 fricknaley
  • sub-region related
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.

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.

Catalina State Park $6 per day. Sabino Canyon Tram is $10 extra.

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
stay out of the scorching sun
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