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Name: 50-year Trail Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: Not rated yet
Type: Bike Difficulty: (Challenging)
Time: 1 - 2 hours Region: SE Arizona
Length: 5.0 miles (one-way) Elevation gain/loss/change: +140 / -611 ft / +471 ft (one-way, north to south)
Type: Out and back Avg Elevation: 3000 ft
Best time to go: fall, spring, winter Fees: Possible Catalina State Park Fees (see description)
Fitness rating: Medium Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Low Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: January, 2012
Short Description: This is a great, but rocky, trail from Catalina State Park to The Chutes
Geocaches:Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's just a few. Golder Map. Cottonwoods Sentinels.
References / Contact Information: Tucson Bike Trails; Mountain Bike Bill; Mountain Bike Az; Catalina State Park
Points of interest: Catalina State Park, nice saguaro forest
Special Considerations: May require a State Trust Land permit (see update on permit page).And possibly fee at Catalina State Park. Watch out for hikers and equestrians. Popular trail
How to get there: Take Oracle Rd. north out of Tucson until you reach Golder Ranch Rd. (just before you get into Catalina). Take a right on Golder. Keep driving on Golder for about 2 miles (through a four way stop sign, the bridge and up the hill) until the road turns to dirt. Directly on your right is a large dirt parking area. Park here (waypoint 001). Click here for map.

Trail Description

This is fun, but rocky trail that links Catalina State Park and the popular Chutes Trail. The north end of the trail is fast, smooth and fun. The lower portion of the trail is rocky, but not too technical, and fun to ride down (from north to south). Riding up this can be challenging.

General Information and History

This is a popular trail for bikers, hikers and equestrians. Many people start from Catalina State Park, while I did this ride from the parking area for The Chutes.

If you start at Catalina State Park, you will have to pay a fee to get into the park. Now, I'm not against paying fees, but I'm cheap by nature and if you don't have to pay for a fee, why do it. Starting at The Chutes trailhead, you can ride down the park and back up and not pay the fee.

The ride up from Catalina State Park is challenging, lots of uphill and rocks. Coming down is a blast. Either way, you will also have to have a State Land Trust permit when you leave the Catalina State Park boundary.

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The Trail

I started this trail from the parking area for The Chutes. From the parking area, head cross the cattle guard. Immediately after the cattle guard, take a right on the singletrack (Waypoint 001).

You can also access this trail from the Chutes by crossing the dirt road a little farther down where the Chutes trail intersects the road (Waypoint 002).

This is a super-fun part of the trail: fast, smooth and slightly downhill. Enjoy. This portion of the trail skirts the edges of a few homes. Keep riding until you reach Waypoint 003. A left here brings you back to the dirt road and lower access. Keep going straight.

Enjoy the rolling small hills and smooth trail. Wonderful riding. At Waypoint 004, you will cross a dirt road. Keep going straight. At Waypoint 005, you will intersect the Sutherland Access trail. Keep straight on the 50-year trail. The trail becomes rocky from here on out.

Keep going along until you cross another dirt, rocky road at Waypoint 006. There are a few other trails leading off in either direction around here. Stay on the main trail. There's good signage on this trail. Between Waypoint 006 and 007 will be the only decent climb (going this direction) of the trail.

At Waypoint 008, you'll come to the Catalina State Park boundary. Go through the gate. You will have several small, rocky hills to climb, but they aren't too bad.

Once you get on the ridge, the trail opens up a bit more. The scenery both toward Catalina State Park and town is nice. Going through the saguaros is just beautiful. As you head down into Catalina State Park itself, the trail is rocky, but fun in this direction. It can be challenging coming up.

Around Waypoint 009, the trail widens and becomes a little bit sandy. Not sandy enough to be difficult, though. You will see the equestrian center down the hill and know you are almost done. Follow this wide trail until you reach the equestrian center. Now, retrace your way back to the starting point (enjoy those hills :-) or ride out Catalina State Park.

Have fun and be safe!

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