Hiking The Oracle Ridge
The 30th most popular hiking trail in Arizona.
Saturday 25 June 2016 03:38 GMT
Located northeast of Tucson, the 11.5 mile Oracle Ridge Trail #1 is a rugged hiking route running from Summerhaven at the Mt. Lemmon summit north down to the town of Oracle. This is an amazingly scenic, but difficult route following ridgelines with awesome vistas. A section of the Arizona Trail follows a majority of the Oracle Ridge Trail. Keep an eye out for black bear and javelinas
In spite of the fact that the Oracle Ridge Trail has been traveled for so long a time, it is quite hard to follow in a number of places, perhaps because it passes through a center of mining and prospecting activity. As a result, old mining roads and bulldozer paths have obscured the trail in several places. If you are a history buff, youll appreciate the old and not-so-old mines you encounter along this route. If your interests tend toward more natural sights, you ll probably spend more time taking in the views which stretch to the north, east and west. The Oracle Ridge Trail passes very near the summit of Rice Peak and relatively near the summit of Apache Peak. These two peaks offer good views of Mt. Lemmon and the Santa Catalinas, as well as of the historic mining district around the town of Oracle and the basin and range landscape beyond.
The northern trailhead is in the town of Oracle (4,500) off Cody Loop Road. The southern trailhead is in Summerhaven, just east of the Mount Lemmon summit (9,100)
Since Mount Lemmon Road (FS38) roughly parallels the route to the east, various old jeep trails connecting between the Oracle Ridge trail and FS38 can be used to create loops of all sizes.
The popular loops begin from the Arizona Trail parking on FS38 south of Oracle. To reach this trailhead from Phoenix, head east on US60 to Florence Junction and then south on SR79. At Oracle Junction, follow SR77 east into Oracle. From town, follow FS38 (Mt. Lemmon Highway) for about 7 miles to a fork -- stay south heading towards the YMCA camp. Look for the AT trailhead about a mile ahead.
From the parking area, head south on FS38 and then cut over to climb Oracle Ridge via either FS639 (7.6 mile loop), FS4429 at NFS Peppersauce CG (14.6 mile loop), or FS4472 (22 mile loop). Once on the Oracle Ridge Trail, follow it down to the north watching for the Arizona Trail signs back to the parking area.
Overall, Oracle Ridge is the 30th most popular hiking trail of all 49 hikes in Arizona. Several of the better hiking trails are nearby Oracle Ridge including Starr Pass Trail, Catalina State Park, Hugh Norris Trail and Samaniego Ridge Trail.