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Matt Marine

Matt Marine is an Arizona resident who loves exploring Arizona's wonderful outdoor adventures. To find out more about Matt, click the link below.

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Cat-Dog is my faithful trail companion. Her real name is Cammie. Why do I call her Cat-Dog?

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Sara Harelson

I’m Sara! I’m 21, a senior in college, and a journalism major.  I love to read, write, travel, and listen to music.  I’m always on to my next adventure.


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Name: 50-year Trail Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: Not rated yet
Type: Hike Difficulty: - (Learner to Challenging depending on length)
Time: 1 - 6 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 can be a nice trail that leads 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: Hike Arizona; Sirena's Wanderings;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 bikers 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 nice trail that links Catalina State Park and the popular Chutes biking trail. The north end of the trail is through some rolling foothills near Catalina, while the southern end of the trail is more rocky and steeper. Althought this was done north to south, most hikers prefer the south to north direction of travel.

Note: This trail was originally done as a mountain bike ride but is a great hiking trail. Many of the pictures and video are from my original ride.

General Information and History

This is a popular trail for bikers, hikers and equestrians. 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 hike down the park and back up and not pay the fee. But 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 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. 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.

Around Waypoint 009, the trail widens and becomes a little bit sandy. 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 :-).

Have fun and be safe!

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