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Name: FR4432 (Cherry Spring) Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: (based on one user rating)
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (Moderate 4WD trail)
Time: 1 - 2 hours Region: SE Arizona
Length: 4.25 miles (out and back) Elevation gain/loss/change: +730 / -730 ft / +0 ft (roundtrip)
Type: Out and back Avg Elevation: 4200 ft
Best time to go: fall, spring, winter, summer Fees: NA
Fitness rating: Low Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Low Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: August, 2012
Offroad Passport Forum Discussion: Click here to go to the forum discussion on this trail
Short Description: A short 4WD trail off the Charouleau Gap road that leads to a beautiful desert pond
Geocaches: Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's one. Charouleau Gap Redux
References / Contact Information: Charouleau Gap Trail; Youtube
Points of interest: Charouleau Gap trail, beautiful mountain pond, Kiss Rock, fun trail
Special Considerations: The above rating is for this trail alone, not the Charouleau Gap trail required to get there, which may be more difficult
How to get there: This trail is a spur trail off the Charouleau Gap trail. To get to the Charouleau Gap trail head, drive north on Oracle Rd (highway 77) until you reach Golder Ranch Rd, take a right, then a left on Lago Del Oro Pkwy (after 1.2 miles). Drive for 3.1 miles and you’ll come to the trail head on the right. There are forest service trail signs as you get close. Click here for directions. Sign in at the information box and head up the trail. Travel approximately 4 miles up the trail until you reach Waypoint 001 (FR4432) on the right.

Trail Description

FR4432 is a short spur trail off the Charouleau Gap trail that leads to a beautiful desert pond in the shadows of the Catalina Mountains. During our trip in August 2012, the desert was green and lush. There were tons of yellow, orange, blue and purple flowers. Spectacular!

The trail leads off the Gap road and is fairly easy, winding its way along boulders, rocks and sandy washes. There are a few nice camping spots with awesome views of Catalina and the valley below near the end of the trail.

General Information and History

I have been running Charouleau Gap for over twenty years and have never been on this trail before. Usually, I am so tired from the long trip through the Gap (or in a hurry to get there), that this trail is passed by.

I have named this trail Cherry Spring only because I wanted something more than a forest road name (FR4432) for the name of the trail. On the topo map, Cherry Spring was the closest feature I could find near the trail, so that's what I picked.

The pond is NOT at Cherry Spring. To tell you the truth, I didn't even see Cherry Spring (but I wasn't looking for it either).

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The Trail

From Waypoint 001, head south on FR4432 (a right turn if coming from Catalina along the Charouleau Gap road). The trail winds its way along the boulders and rocks of the mountains in a gradual climb toward the pond.

At Waypoint 002, you will have a choice of ways you can climb the hill. The right side is much easier, the left is easy at the bottom, but at the top has some significant washouts (which can't be seen from the bottom of the hill). We took the right side.

At Waypoint 003, the trail forks. The right trail leads to the pond, the left fork doesn't go to any place too interesting and dead ends at Waypoint 006.

The right fork goes to a beautiful pond (at least it was when we went) at Waypoint 004. The trail circles the pond and also continues a short way beyond the pond at a small turn around at Waypoint 005. There's some extremely nice rocks to view the valley below in this area.

There's also a hidden treat near the pond. Just across the road from the pond's outlet are a few rock pools. Very nice. While we were here (in August), there were thousands of tadpoles in the pond and the small pools. There were also a few hundred tiny frogs hopping around. At first, I thought I was seeing bugs on the sand until a friend pointed out they were frogs.

When Cat-Dog noticed them, she put her nose down to sniff one and it jumped. She did too. Straight up in the air, just like a cat. When she determined they were not going to bite her, she thought it may be fun to try and catch one with her paws. They're fast little buggers and quite energetic (jumping much farther than their size would suggest). It was very funny to see her trying to do this ... and mostly failing. She got bored in about 10 seconds, then trotted off to sniff like a dog. Click here to see the video of her trying to catch the frogs.

When you're done, head back the way you came, with the option of taking the left fork out to Waypoint 006.

Be safe and have fun!

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