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Oracle Ridge - Red Ridge Loop - 4 members in 9 triplogs have rated this an average 4 ( 1 to 5 best )
9 triplogs
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9 Triplogs
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Sep 17 2021
azdesertfather
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 Guides 12
 Routes 60
 Photos 1,221
 Triplogs 830

48 male
 Joined Apr 30 2008
 Tucson, AZ
Oracle Ridge - Red Ridge LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 17 2021
azdesertfather
Hiking8.62 Miles 2,592 AEG
Hiking8.62 Miles   5 Hrs   28 Mns   1.91 mph
2,592 ft AEG      57 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Hiked with a friend, doing this loop counterclockwise and starting from the Oracle Ridge TH. My plan was to start at Red Ridge TH, but when I arrived there was a "CLOSED" sign ](*,) even though I carefully checked the USFS Catalina District website and they showed that both Red Ridge & Oracle Ridge trails were OPEN. I drove back to Palisades to speak to someone in that office, and her response was "yeah, I show that trail as open as well, but the Forest Services does a TERRIBLE job of communicating." She called someone at the Forest Service she knew in Sabino Canyon, who had the same response, so she said it was my call but to not worry about it, if the USFS really wanted it closed they should communicate it to the rangers and on the website. She also said that she has heard of the public up there taking the closure signs and moving them around to other trailheads? When I asked why, she said "I guess people are just being mischievous." : app :

To avoid further confusion I decided to start at Oracle Ridge TH, but there is no real parking at Oracle Ridge TH currently, it's now all marked off as "no parking". I spoke to someone a guy at the fire station, who told me to park in the small dirt space across from the fire station however, in one of the "no parking" areas and that it was fine.

I must say, that the crazy amounts of monsoon rain, the ground instability caused by the fires and the apparent fact that no one has done anything to maintain these trails, has definitely made these trails more challenging. Experienced hikers can generally keep up with the trail and a GPS helps at times when it seems to disappear, but you're basically hiking a ridge each way with an abandoned road at the bottom to connect them. The wildflowers, buffelgrass and other plants and weeds were THICK, and usually waist high but at times head high. You really have to be careful in it with your footing, as you can't easily see what you're stepping on, and if there is a critter in the weeds or if the ground is deteriorated under the weeds and unstable. At one point I did almost walk on a black rattlesnake, thankfully he shook his rattle one quick time to cause me to freeze until I figured out it was a rattler and where exactly he was.

I was also surprised to see the mining or excavating, whatever that was they were doing on Marble Peak. That peak is pretty torn up now, they have cut switchback roads all the way up it and even turned part of the Arizona Trail/Oracle Ridge Trail into parts of their highway. Noises from the excavating rang through the canyon between us as we passed by and you could see the heavy machinery doing their think up there.

Catalina Camp Trail was also choked out with waist and head-high growth, and at one spot there has been a washout that makes it a little challenge though not impossible to pass. What an amazing spot the camp cabin is! I walked up and took a peek around, even inside the cabin, and was surprised to see that it looks like it is still being used by someone, there was even a sleeping bag on the bed and other supplies along the edges of the cabin as if it has been recently used. I post pictures here of it. The chandelier in there is just priceless! :app: The creek was flowing well at the junction of Catalina Camp and Red Ridge, a few gallons per minute still and no stagnation. It was a very nice break spot.

Of the three trails, actually Red Ridge is by far in the best shape, which made me scratch my head again why that sign was at the trailhead. There was a small tree down over this trail just above the creek (where you pick up Red Ridge to go back up), and of course the closer you got to the top, the amount of wildflowers choked out even this trail in spots, but for the most part it was actually pretty decent and much easier to follow.

I really hope the Forestry Service finds away to put more time and attention into the Catalina trails. The more time passes, the worst shape they are getting into. I would suspect the Oracle Ridge Trail would be managed by an AZT trail steward, and I'm not sure why that's not happening right now, but so many of the USFS managed trails in the Catalinas just are closed and unattended, and having no one routinely walking on them is making a bad problem worse. There, that's my :SB: !
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Extreme
Trails overgrown with wildflowers and weeds, many places waist high and in places even head high.
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"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau
1 archive
Jul 02 2021
Yoder
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 Guides 2
 Routes 34
 Photos 1,604
 Triplogs 133

56 male
 Joined Oct 07 2017
 Chandler, AZ
Oracle Ridge - Red Ridge LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 02 2021
Yoder
Hiking8.40 Miles 2,750 AEG
Hiking8.40 Miles   4 Hrs   34 Mns   2.14 mph
2,750 ft AEG      39 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Predicted cloudy day, so we thought we would give this hike a try. Started at about 6:15am and finished up at 10:50. Lots of burnt out sections, but still a nice hike. Ran across a Juvenile Arizona Black Rattlesnake.
Flora
Flora
Western Yarrow
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J. Yoder
May 30 2021
fricknaley
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 Guides 93
 Routes 388
 Photos 4,001
 Triplogs 3,183

46 male
 Joined Jun 20 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Oracle Ridge - Red Ridge LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 30 2021
fricknaley
Hiking8.50 Miles 2,552 AEG
Hiking8.50 Miles   3 Hrs   22 Mns   2.73 mph
2,552 ft AEG      15 Mns Break6 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
parked at red ridge TH and did the road segment down to oracle ridge first. oracle ridge is about as i remember it, everything mostly burned, but it has been that way for a long time. dusty and rocky. catalina camp trail is really getting overgrown. no real burn damage though. the camp is in good shape and the cabin perseveres. had a nice break there.

red ridge is a steep climb. it is mostly burned, especially the upper part. the trail itself is in good shape though.

although this hike is mostly (but not all) through burn, i still enjoyed it.
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hi
1 archive
Jun 29 2019
ShatteredArm
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 Guides 5
 Routes 132
 Photos 585
 Triplogs 150

38 male
 Joined Nov 30 2015
 Phoenix, AZ
Catalina Camp TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Run/Jog avatar Jun 29 2019
ShatteredArm
Run/Jog22.40 Miles 5,210 AEG
Run/Jog22.40 Miles   8 Hrs   31 Mns   2.63 mph
5,210 ft AEG
 
1st trip
I few months ago I came up with idea of doing a "circumnavigation of Mount Lemmon". I needed some miles, so decided to make an attempt on a late June weekend. Maybe it was a bit brash to try such a route during the summer months.

The goal was to start at Butterfly TH, go down to Crystal Springs trail, up the Oracle Control Road, down Oracle Ridge to Dan Saddle and then down to Catalina Camp, then down to CDO, up to Samaniego Ridge and then Lemmon Trail, then head down to WoR, back across Marshall Saddle, and connect with Sunset to finish the loop. A solid loop if I do say so myself, probably pretty close to a marathon with 6000+ feet of ascent.

The plan held up until Catalina Camp, where it started to get warm, and I really started to question whether I had it in me. This was the last bail-out point, and I took it. Luckily there was a trickle in the creek, so I was able to fill up before heading up Red Ridge (the first time I've had the, let's call it a privilege, of seeing this trail in the uphill direction). Surprisingly, I saw three other people on Catalina Camp and Red Ridge trails. Thought I was the only one stupid enough to be down there in late June.

When I got to Red Ridge, clouds had rolled in, and I was feeling much more alive. So I added a few miles back on by heading up the road to the ski resort, and heading down Aspen Draw (where it even sprinkled a little bit!), before taking a Mint Springs to Marshall Saddle detour.

Ended up a pretty good outing still, even if the whole circumnavigation has to wait until another (possibly cooler) day.
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Sep 06 2018
survivordude
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 Routes 61
 Photos 975
 Triplogs 208

40 male
 Joined Aug 19 2009
 The Basin
Oracle Ridge - Red Ridge LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 06 2018
survivordude
Hiking8.50 Miles 2,600 AEG
Hiking8.50 Miles   5 Hrs   30 Mns   1.55 mph
2,600 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Another research and elevation training trip in the Catalinas. Really liking this area and the drive down isnt even that bad, either. Wanting to explore some new areas, I brought Sanchez with me this time. Right when we parked the Jeep near the Red Ridge trailhead, we saw several deer so we knew it was going to be a great hike. We started down the Oracle Ridge trail where the views were great due to the high visibility of the day. I am always so surprised how lush the Catalinas can be. We started bear singing just in case. Sanchez had no interest in hitting the Pinal high point, though we were so close, so we just went down the hill at the saddle and to the old camp. Not sure how long ago there were operations here, but there was a lot of equipment down there. The cabin was in good shape and it had some cool features, like a sun deck, a BBQ grill, and even a squatter. The hike up Red Ridge was fairly smooth as it was a long hike back up to the top so the grade was easy going. Seems like there is a lot more to explore out here.. would like to do the whole front range soon.
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“There is nothing outside the thought of the immediate moment.”
Jun 03 2018
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,127
 Triplogs 867

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Oracle Ridge - Red Ridge LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 03 2018
friendofThundergod
Hiking7.35 Miles 2,684 AEG
Hiking7.35 Miles   3 Hrs   43 Mns   2.19 mph
2,684 ft AEG      22 Mns Break
 
We started at 6:30 thinking we would beat the heat, but it was already scorching on Oracle Ridge by seven. Luckily there was some intermittent spots of shade and some lightly flowing water at the creek crossing. However, overall the hike was much warmer than what we wanted for the pups. I guess you need to start at 4:30 in the morning to beat the heat on this one. Heat aside, we still enjoyed the hike and the dogs did fine, just a few extra breaks in the shade and a lot of water consumed. We didn’t feel like walking the dogs back on the paved road, so CJ put on her running shoes and got the car while I waited with the pack.

No rain or snow in the winter, locked out of the woods a week before Memorial Day and too hot to hike dogs at 8k, Arizona sure is a lovely state to live in lately. Thankful to be completing my annual summer exodus from here soon.
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1 archive
Mar 21 2018
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,127
 Triplogs 867

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Oracle Ridge - Red Ridge LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 21 2018
friendofThundergod
Hiking8.45 Miles 2,712 AEG
Hiking8.45 Miles   3 Hrs   37 Mns   2.54 mph
2,712 ft AEG      17 Mns Break
 
I found myself in Tucson to pick up a couple of dogs, so I figured why not hang out a day and hike Lemmon? After all, it is spring break.

I got this hike idea from @carriejane a couple weekends ago, when she pondered (after seeing a trail heading down from Oracle) if there was a way to loop Red Ridge Trail with Oracle Ridge during our hike to Rice Peak. When we got back we looked on HAZ and found a description for the exact loop she was thinking of, so I decided to try it out today.

Overall, I thought this was an excellent little loop. The cabin is a fun stop and the creek was flowing nicely. Red Ridge Trail is a stout little climb, but the trail offers some excellent views and the few remaining trees from the past forest fire add a little charm to some of the sections along the trail. I would not want to do the road walk on a busy weekend, but it was not too bad today. There were a lot of cows in the lower section of the loop.
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Oct 20 2017
rvcarter
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 Guides 36
 Routes 310
 Photos 2,235
 Triplogs 241

75 male
 Joined Mar 27 2008
 tucson, az
Oracle Ridge - Red Ridge LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 20 2017
rvcarter
Hiking8.27 Miles 2,506 AEG
Hiking8.27 Miles   4 Hrs   51 Mns   1.82 mph
2,506 ft AEG      19 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
fearnestiv
NIEL CHRISTENSEN
Frank B, Frank E, Niel, and I did the loop in fine weather. The loop is a great day hike, but seems harder since the uphill portion is on the last half of the hike and the Red Ridge is so steep. The connector trail (#401) down from Dan Saddle seems to have deteriorated quite a bit since our last time. The rocks are "rolly" and you have to watch every step to prevent turning an ankle. It reminded me of the lower part of the Sutherland Trail. I put most of the trip details in the description just posted.

Wear long pants; the thorny bushes (mostly Mexican buckthorne) are trying to reclaim their trail on the upper third of Red Ridge, and #401 has some cats claw.

All in all, fine day out with my hiking buds.
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Check out my Instagram posts at "cartershift", and videos on my Rumble channel "rvcarter".
Mar 18 2016
toddak
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 Guides 8
 Routes 7
 Photos 1,244
 Triplogs 474

56 male
 Joined Nov 15 2005
 Puhoynix, AZ
Oracle Ridge Trail #1Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 18 2016
toddak
Hiking28.00 Miles 5,500 AEG
Hiking28.00 Miles   12 Hrs   30 Mns   2.24 mph
5,500 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Sweet lollipop route: up OR#1 to Dan Saddle > west down CC#401 > up RR#2 > road walk east to upper trailhead and back down Oracle Ridge. Single track trail sections are in good condition, dirt road sections are decent. Plenty of clear, cold flow in East Fork creek at the CC#401 / RR#2 junction.
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average hiking speed 2.19 mph

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.

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