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Agua Caliente Saddle Dos Veces, AZ

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32 3 0
Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson S
Rated
4
4 of 5 by 2
 
2
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Difficulty 4.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,400 feet
Elevation Gain 1,815 feet
Accumulated Gain 4,075 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 28.38
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
19  2006-08-27 fricknaley
13  2006-05-28 fricknaley
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Preferred   May, Sep, Aug, Oct
Sun  6:49am - 5:26pm
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Water
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Jack Mountain Loop
Jack Mountain Loop
same trailhead
5.3 mi
2,110 ft
Kent Spring Trail #157
Kent Spring Trail #157
same trailhead
1.6 mi
1,436 ft
Madera Canyon - Nature Trail to Wrightson
Madera Canyon - Nature Trail to Wrightson
same trailhead
4.3 mi
1,000 ft
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop
same trailhead
12.8 mi
4,050 ft
Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson Summit
Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson Summit
same trailhead
10.4 mi
4,043 ft
Roger
Roger's Rock
same trailhead
3.9 mi
1,116 ft
Super Trail #134
same trailhead
8.1 mi
4,050 ft
Vault Mine - Josephine Saddle Loop
Vault Mine - Josephine Saddle Loop
same trailhead
8.0 mi
1,600 ft
Vault Mine Trail #77
Vault Mine Trail #77
same trailhead
1.8 mi
2,360 ft
Mount Hopkins Loop
Mount Hopkins Loop
0.0 mi away
7.4 mi
3,213 ft
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Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
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Brutal pleasure
by fricknaley

There are a bunch of Agua Caliente's in Southern Arizona...canyons, rivers, hills. Well here's another one - Agua Caliente Saddle - and it's one to remember. This saddle sits on the western edge of Maderna Canyon and looks east over the Canyon towards Wrightson and the Santa Rita ridgeline. It is a beautiful area, untouched by the Florida fire. Like many beautiful things though, it takes some real work to get there. I created a wonderfully painful route today incorporating Agua Caliente Saddle as the midpoint, with severe climbs on either side. Why? Because well all love to climb, I guess.


Hike: I started this trip from the common trailhead shared by Old Baldy and the Super Trail. The route of approach is the Vault Mine/Very Steep trail. I have described this route in a separate trip before, you can reference that if you please. Briefly, this first leg is a real tough, short climb. As you start on the Baldy trail, in roughly 0.25 miles you come to the signed breakoff for Old Baldy proper. Stay right (or straight) onto the Vault Mine/Very Steep trail. It continues climbing up the canyon. There are nice sycamores here and just an incredible assortment of birds cruising about (including my first ever Elegant Trogon sighting). In roughly another 0.25 miles you come to signed intersection for Vault Mine and Carrie Nation trail. Break off right here and let the fun begin. This trail now climbs wildly up the western flank of Madera Canyon gaining about 1300 feet in a little less than a mile. The views and fragrant pines are the inspiration because you gain increasingly more amazing views down Madera Canyon as you go.

When you reach the signed intersection for Agua Caliente Trail, you will want to head right. This sign is about 1.5 miles in or so. As you go right along the Agua Caliente trail towards the saddle the views off to the right are amazing. It is only about 0.33 miles to the saddle, which is signed. The trail signs say 0.8 miles, but it is definitely shorter. There are a couple of unmarked trails at the saddle, arrows point the way to Agua Caliente (it's basically down).

The upper reaches of the Agua Caliente trail are in a pristine pine forest, and they are STEEP. So much so that you will blaze down the trail very fast. The trail drops down into a canyon (Agua Caliente on some maps, Rattlesnake on others) and basically follows it down, down, down the southern slopes of the Santa Ritas. The views south are long. You will pass a couple of abandoned mines on your left (Treasure Vault Mines). Eventually you level out a little and descend into more high desert/low forest vegetation. This area of the Santa Ritas is very remote, isolated and quite rugged. Pretty cool. As youo wander along, there will probably be some trees and branches lying over the trail..I don't think too many folks come out this way. Nonetheless, the trail is never difficult to follow. Eventually you stumble upon a dirt forest road. This is where the Agua Caliente Trailhead is. You can start the hike here too, I have in the past. However, the road is pretty rocky and it takes a while to get there. Plus hiking through Madera Canyon is always awesome. It is about 2 miles or so from the Saddle to this trailhead.

Have a snack and power up. The climb back actually gains more elevation than the Vault Mine trail. You will climb about 2200 feet in roughly 2 miles. It is really tough, but the views coming back are nice. You will now notice the telescope perched atop the impossibly green and lush appearing Mt. Hopkins to your right. There are peaks everywhere. Near the top you can spy Pete Mountain to your left. The last couple of switchbacks are painful, and I think the last switchback is the steepest and longest one I have ever climbed. Finally back at the Saddle the views east towards the main ridgeline are just great. Head back the way you came to complete this roughly 8 mile, 4075 total elevation gain screamer. For the mileage I don't know if there is more elevation to be gained around here. This is a good training hike if you have a big climb coming up too.

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.

    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)


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Madera Canyon Trailhead
    From Tucson: I-19 south to exit 63 Continental. At the end of the exit take a left and follow brown signs to Madera Canyon. You'll be taking White House Canyon Road 13.2 miles to Madera Canyon.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 152 mi - about 2 hours 31 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 42.3 mi - about 55 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 295 mi - about 4 hours 37 mins
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