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Mount Miguel - Catalinas
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mini location map2022-11-04
26 by photographer avatarMike_W
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Mount Miguel - CatalinasTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking8.10 Miles 2,176 AEG
Hiking8.10 Miles   6 Hrs      1.35 mph
2,176 ft AEG
1st trip
Linked   none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
On a cool day with a high of 62, I started around Noon at the Sabino canyon overflow lot. I took the trail to the road, and then took the road a short distance to where the Esperero trail starts. From there it was a steady climb across several canyons and into Esperero canyon, or a small canyon branching out of Esperero canyon. This trail was very well maintained and busier than I expected for a Friday afternoon. I would guess I saw a total of 20 people hiking down as I was going up. I stayed on the Esperero trail until a hiked a total of 3.6 miles and at this point I reached a saddle which is called Cardiac Gap. From here, there seemed to be a trail heading Southwest but the trail didn't last very long. After 0.1 miles, the trail faded out and the bushwhack began. From this point, the summit is about 0.75 miles away. The bushwhack wasn't difficult but I needed to back track for a few minutes in at least 2 spots to avoid cliffs. You won't be able to simply stay on top and follow the ridgeline. The route I found stays East of the ridgeline for the first 0.4 miles or so, then crosses the ridgeline and then continues toward the peak. At the peak I found a registry with only 3 names in November 2013 and no other names since then. By the time I got my photos and started heading down it was already 4 pm. I thought there might be a shortcut down and I was right. Heading to the East from the peak, I found a relatively gentle chute that descended from 4,300 feet to 3,870 feet, reaching the Esperero trail. From here I had roughly 3 miles to go to get to the parking area. On the way down, I heard some noise on the trail below me. I looked up and saw a bighorn sheep a few hundred feet away from me. By the time I got my camera out, it disappeared. I continued down the trail to that point and looked in all directions for the sheep. I saw it again, very camouflaged on the West side of Esperero canyon about 2/3 of the way up to the high ridge. I took a video of the sheep climbing up. It would climb and then stop and look back at me. It continued to the ridge and disappeared. This was my first bighorn sighting ever in the Catalina mountains in 12 years of hiking. I knew they had to be out there SOMEWHERE! I made it back to my truck just before dark.

AEG = 2,176
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Michael Williams
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