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Name: Oracle Ridge Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: Not rated yet
Type: Bike Difficulty: (medium)
Time: 1 - 2 hours Region: SE Arizona
Length: 4 miles (one-way) Elevation gain/loss/change: +1035 / -220 ft / +815 ft (one way)
Type: Out and back Avg Elevation: 4700 ft
Best time to go: fall, spring, winter Fees: NA
Fitness rating: High Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Low Scenic Beauty: Medium
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: October, 2011
Short Description: A non-technical, but strenuous ride along a fairly smooth 4WD trail along Oracle Ridge
Geocaches:Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's just a few. Lady Bug Peak; Cinn#1; Arizona Trail - Beat Feet; Cody's Cache;
References / Contact Information: Campo Bonito;
Points of interest: Campo Bonito; Oracle Ridge; Arizona Trail; lots of places to explore
Special Considerations: With the large number of roads in the area, this can be a confusing trail, although it would be hard to get seriously lost. Lots of old mines in this area, stay away from open mine shafts and be careful of mine tailings.
How to get there: Take Oracle Road north out of Tucson. Oracle Road turns into State Highway 77. Follow Highway 77 past Oracle Junction to the town of Oracle. Turn right on American Avenue (just past mile marker 100) and follow it through the town of Oracle for 2.4 miles until reaching Mt Lemmon Road. Mt Lemmon Road becomes a dirt road after a few miles. Bear left at a major junction shortly after the road becomes dirt. You are now on the Mount Lemmon Control Road. Continue until you see Campo Bonito Road and the sign for the Triangle Y YMCA Camp. Click here for directions.

Trail Description

Note: This trail was originally done as a 4WD adventure, but could be done as a mountain bike ride also. Many of the pictures and video are from my original 4WD trip.

This is a technically easy (if you don't count the steep hills) trail along a fairly smooth 4WD trail. There's no big obstacles or rocks, only a bunch of ups and downs, some of which are steep. Portions of this trail can be done by beginners learning to ride. This is also a neat place to explore. There are tons of other trails in the area and you can visit the Campo Bonito mess hall.

General Information and History

A little history on Campo Bonito from the About Arizona section:

Campo Bonito (or sometimes called Camp Bonito or Camp Bonita) near Oracle, Arizona is directly tied to one of the Wild West's biggest icons: William "Buffalo Bill" Cody.

Cody came to Arizona in the early 1900s as the gold and mining rush in Arizona was in full swing. He found what he was looking for near the town of Oracle (a small mining town a few miles north of Tucson). He partnered with Colonel Daniel Burns Dyer and created the Cody-Dyer Arizona Mining and Milling Company (he also had a few other partnerships) and invested in Campo Bonito, one of the largest mining groups in the area. They were hoping to find gold, silver and tungsten.

At one point, Cody had over 100 claims, 45 mines and 2 mills in the Oracle area. He visited Tucson and stayed in Oracle many times over the years and the area is rich with Buffalo Bill history. A few streets in Oracle are named after him. He played Santa Claus in 1911 for 200 children of the miners in the area. He also owned the Mt. View Hotel in Oracle.

The Campo Bonito group turned out gold, silver, quartz and tungsten. Tungsten was used to build Thomas Edison's light bulbs and was in high demand in the early 1910s. This rare mineral was also mined in Colorado, but Buffalo Bill was dealing directly with Edison for his light bulbs.

The remains of the old Campo Bonito mess hall (the picture with the fireplace) are located at coordinates N 32 33.767 W 110 44.306. Another slab and a cattle tank are also nearby. The mines in which Cody invested are strewn over the Campo Bonito area.

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The Trail

From the "back way" up Mt. Lemmon, turn west onto Campo Bonito Rd (Waypoint 001) at the Triangle Y YMCA Camp sign. You can start riding from here if you want, but you may want to continue on this road until you pass the graded portion. This is a well-graded dirt road. Soon, you'll pass the entrance to the Triangle Y Camp on left and the keep going straight past Waypoint 002 (Wildcat Trail).

Keep on the main road as it winds its way through some small hills. Keep on the main road past Waypoint 003. At Waypoint 005, the trail on the right heads up to the Highjinks Mine which is private property. Keep going straight. Just before you reach Waypoint 005, there will be a trail off to the left. This leads to Campo Bonito (Waypoint 005).

Here you will find the foundation and chimney remains of the old Campo Bonito mess hall and another building. There is also a water tank here. This very short spur trail ends just after the camp. Go back to the main trail.

Keep heading west along this trail. Keep on the main road past the trail on the left at Waypoint 006. Keep going on the main trail at Waypoint 007 and the trail on the right. I believe this trail intersects with the Oracle Ridge Trail at Waypoint 009, but I have not been on it yet.

At Waypoint 008, head right up the hill. The trail that continues straight, ends shortly at a fence line. This portion of the trail is the most fun. It takes you along Oracle Ridge, with lots of little ups and downs. The road is fairly smooth, but can be steep in places.

Continue straight at Waypoint 009. The trail intersects the Arizona Trail at Waypoint 010 (you can head down this trail on your bike if you want to do a loop) and the road continues along the ridge until you reach Waypoint 010. This is where the trail ends and you need to turn around. There is a gate here. I believe you can walk (or bike) along this trail back to Oracle, but I don't know for sure. There is no large space to turn around, more than a few trucks may have issues.

Now you can go back the way you came in, or try some of the different spur trails. There's tons of them out here to go explore.

Whatever you do, have fun and be safe.

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