Northeast of Tucson in the Lemmon Mountains, the Canada Del Oro Trail (#4 / 4200 feet / 11.5 mi.) offers ridgetop vistas, sycamores and historic mining sites. It follows the drainage of the Cañada del Oro, or Canyon of Gold, down the north slopes of Mt. Lemmon toward the town of Oracle. Besides being the site of a legendary lost gold mine, this canyon seems a bit lost itself. Down the slopes of Mt. Lemmon it flows almost due north toward Oracle, but after the canyon breaks out onto the broad flat valley at the base, it turns south towards Tucson.
The usual way of accessing this trail is via a maintenance road along the underground powerline which supplies electricity to the ski resort and observatory at the top of Mt. Lemmon. The trail leaves the powerline right-of-way in the vicinity of Shovel Spring and drops into the West Fork of the Cañada del Oro. Once it reaches the broad canyon floor the trail follows the gentle gradient of the streambed in the shade of the stately old sycamores and cottonwoods. Samaniego Ridge to the west and the Reef of Rocks to the east form the rims of the canyon and frame the view of the canyons lower reaches and the Black Hills north of Oracle. Where the east fork of the canyon joins the west, the Red Ridge Trail #2 branches off toward an old outpost named Catalina Camp. The CDO Trail continues to FS736, which leads into Oracle.
To reach the mountain biking trailhead from Tucson, follow the Catalina Highway to the top. Just before the road comes to the Steward Observatory, it passes a parking lot on the left. Park here and continue down the Mt. Lemmon Trail #5 and the Sutherland Trail #6 to the Cañada del Oro Trail junction.
Overall, Canada Del Oro Trail is the 62nd most popular mountain bike trail of all 103 mountain biking rides in Arizona.