Consensus:    (details)
  4.6 from 9 votes
black  Difficult from 2 votes
Rank: #1 in the Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley area
#14 in AZ, #243 Overall
Views: 6,586. Last 30 days: 124
Condition Details | Update
Featured Ride in the area near Catalina,
“An amazing trail traversing from the top of Mt Lemmon to the bottom.”
Vernie Aikins on May 8, 2013
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21.133.9 milesKilometers 1,105’337 m Ascent 9,100’2,774 m High 7% Avg Grade (4°)
75% Singletrack -6,939’-2,115 m Descent 3,185’971 m Low 31% Max Grade (17°)
One of the best rides in Tucson. Starting at 9000 feet in the pines, running along flowing creeks, and ending all the way at the desert floor of a 50 year trail system.
Need To Know
This is a ride where you'll want to have a gps (use the MTB Project mobile app!) and the shuttle set-up can be difficult.
The ride starts at 9000ft on the top of Mt Lemmon and links numerous trails together all the way to the bottom.

You'll start on the Meadow trail, meandering along for a mile or so before you get to the Sutherland split. At the split, take a right. You'll be on the Sutherland trail for a very short distance before it becomes an old jeep road. You'll get to the end of the jeep road and there will be a Sutherland CDO junction. Go right here. (Do not go left down Sutherland, which would take you west as it leads you into the Wilderness Area.)

From there you'll start your descent. Spend a few miles with amazing views of northwest Tucson before you get to your second junction, which is signed. This is the first split with Samaniego Ridge. From there you'll take a right and have a fast fun descent for about a mile to a third intersection (also signed). This is your second chance to split off onto Samaniego Ridge. Take another right and this will drop you into the Canada del Oro drainage.

The Canada del Oro then spends many miles riding along the creek and crossing it. This trail is the true definition of backwoods. It's a seldom traveled trail that is lightly marked. There are a few techy spots mixed in here and there but overall it is a great flowing trail through the deep oaks of Mt Lemmon. The wash crossings are the trickiest spot and be mindful when crossing them to keep your eyes open for cairns marking the entrance and exits. There are many sections of this trail that will leave you smiling ear to ear as you swoop through the oak trees or open fields of wildflowers. Don't forget to take a minute once you get out of the deep trees to look back at the top of Mt. Lemmon and see how far you've already descended off the mountain.

After about mile 9, you'll get to the junction with Red Ridge trail (signed). Keep heading north from there along what will become a somewhat unrideable rock-filled wash until you come to the Gap Road around mile 10.

Now on the Gap road, the pain of the climb heading west will begin. It's a pretty strenuous climb and is roughly 3-4 miles long. It's a steep road filled with loose rocks and deep ruts. It's also very exposed with almost no shade, so plan according to the weather down here and not for the weather on top of the 9000ft mountain you start at. There's also no water after you start the Gap Road so be prepared for that as well. The water along Canada is filterable. From the top of the climb you'll continue west down the Gap Road. From the road there will be many options to take to get back to your cars. The preferred method is the one this ride follows.

At roughly mile 15.5, there will be a split off of the Gap Road on some cow trails to get you over to the 50 year trail system. You'll need a gps or the mobile app to find your way through here. Once into the 50 year trail system, pick your favorite route back to the 50 year parking lot.
View in 3D
4.6 (7)
A hard extension to the Honeybee Canyon Loop.
near Catalina, AZ
4.1 (19)
An easy ride for those that have some endurance.
near Oro Valley, AZ
3.9 (9)
This is a popular combination of trails departing from the Golder Ranch Trail...
near Catalina, AZ

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  4.0 from 2 votes
The trails at Golder Ranch are incredible, especially the Middlegate Tra... (Catalina, AZ)
  3.6 from 5 votes
Views are just to good. (Catalina, AZ)
  3.4 from 5 votes
One of the many creek crossings. (Catalina, AZ)
  3.5 from 2 votes
Three quarters of the way up the Gap road. Samaniego Ridge as a backdrop. (Catalina, AZ)
  3.3 from 3 votes
The cattle guard at the top of the "Gap". (Catalina, AZ)
  3.3 from 4 votes
Some of the great backwoods ST to be had. (Oracle, AZ)
  3.3 from 4 votes
Great Views from C.D.O. (Catalina, AZ)
  3.3 from 4 votes
Look way back at the top where the day started. (Oracle, AZ)
  3.0 from 5 votes
Great place to be during wildflower season. (Oracle, AZ)
  3.0 from 4 votes
Winding through the Boulders (Catalina, AZ)
  3.0 from 3 votes
A short walk from the Y before you start climbing, you can see an old bu... (Catalina, AZ)
  3.0 from 2 votes
The Gap in September (Catalina, AZ)
  3.0 from 1 vote
Mt. Lemmon Meadow (Catalina, AZ)
  2.5 from 2 votes
At the "Gap" (Catalina, AZ)