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black CDO

  3.5 ( 19 ) Favorite

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21.1 mile 33.9 kilometer point to point
75% Singletrack


Ascent: 1,105' 337 m
Descent: -6,939' -2,115 m
High: 9,100' 2,774 m
Low: 3,185' 971 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 31% (17°)


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Trail shared by Vernie Aikins

An amazing trail traversing from the top of Mt Lemmon to the bottom.

Vernie Aikins

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-


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.


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May 18, 2019
Alex Miller
Trail was mostly clear. Epic views and fun riding. 25mi — 3h 52m
Nov 22, 2018
Josh Borof
Dec 8, 2017
Nathan Beauchamp
24.8mi — 4h 39m
Nov 24, 2017
Lea Julson Gibbs
This is Tucson's "Whole Enchilada". Expert all-mountain ride.
Jan 19, 2016
Duane Brown

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 19 votes


in Mt. Lemmon


  3.5 from 19 votes
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Tbis Trail is an experience that everyone should try. Not for the faint at heart or dirt roadies who just want to pedal. It's an adventure full of technical descending and back country conditions. But this trail is as good as as many other well known destination trails like the Whole Enchilada. Thanks to TORCA for resurrecting this gem and the continued work on a truly epic trail. Nov 25, 2017
The CDO trail is more than a trail, it's an experience. This is a true, back-country trail that requires commitment to ride, but is so worth the time and effort to complete. If you're looking for a flowy alpine descent and want peak speed and minimal obstacles, look elsewhere. If you're adventurous and have a taste for the back-country, the CDO is among the best rides out there. The trail starts at the top of Mount Lemon at 9,000 or so feet and descends over chunky rock and natural stair steps down into an oak forest. You will encounter downed trees, make many creek crossings (dry in winter months, flowing in the spring) and have a great chance to see wildlife. I saw a bunch of whitetail and a family of coati on my ride. The downhill is intense and often technical. Expect some hike-a-bike at some creek crossings and over or around large boulders. At around 5,000 feet of elevation the the biom changes and so does the terrain. Lots of rocks and sun. It's a grind at points, and the 4x4 trail that leads over the ridge and to the "around the mountain" trail is steep and often technical. Back down the ridge, you'll encounter open desert with lots of scratchy stuff to claw at your legs and arms. It might be worth bringing shin and arm protectors to avoid looking like you lost a fight with Edward Scissor Hands. The desert section also has some confusing junctions and the trail is missing markers, so its not ideal to navigate on your own. I went with a local who knew the tails, and that was a VERY good idea. Check out Home Grown Mountain Bike Tours--they offer shuttles and guides as a reasonable price. This isn't a ride for the faint of heart, but for those that take on the challenge, the rewards are phenomenal. Stunning views, some ripping downhill, and technical that will push even a good rider--CDO has so much to offer. Dec 8, 2017
OMG this is definitely one of my favorite trails in AZ period. It's an all day epic (unless you're really pushing hard in which case you can wrap it up in about 4 hours) through all that AZ has to offer. It's basically The Whole Enchilada of AZ. It's definitely backcountry and remote. The top part is so fun with rocks and perfect dirt. The middle part of the trail gets steep and super fast with some creek crossings. The last part is hard to navigate and is typical Tucson desert riding. If you're not familiar with the trail use HomeGrown Mountain Bike Tours as a guide: Here's some footage of the trail to get a feel for what you're getting into… Feb 1, 2019

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