50 Year Trail

Oro Valley, Arizona

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3 Reviews
4 out of 5
The northern foothills of the Santa Catalinas are a birdwatching paradise. Any given morning will bring roadrunners, quail, red tailed hawks, gray cardinals, red cardinals, woodpeckers, Harris hawks…more than 100 species of birds are abundant in the area. Besides birds, the 50 Year Trail area is also home to javelina, coyote, gila monsters, bobcats, deer, mountain lions, and the ubiquitous cattle that graze the state lands. This trail presents an incredibly lush version of the Arizona Uplands of the Sonoran Desert, a transitional zone just a few hundred feet below the tree line. The 50 Year Trail area is an extensive network of horse trails, old ranch roads, and game trails that have evolved into singletrack. There’s no specific route to be followed here, but there are three noteworthy areas to explore. Trail Surface: Mixed singletrack, doubletrack, and a few dirt roads. There’s some sand, some sharp rocks, and lots of opportunities to roll over fallen cacti. Bring sealed or thorn-resistant tires.

50 Year Trail Professional Review and Guide

"The northern foothills of the Santa Catalinas are a birdwatching paradise. Any given morning will bring roadrunners, quail, red tailed hawks, gray cardinals, red cardinals, woodpeckers, Harris hawks…more than 100 species of birds are abundant in the area.

Besides birds, the 50 Year Trail area is also home to javelina, coyote, gila monsters, bobcats, deer, mountain lions, and the ubiquitous cattle that graze the state lands. This trail presents an incredibly lush version of the Arizona Uplands of the Sonoran Desert, a transitional zone just a few hundred feet below the tree line. The 50 Year Trail area is an extensive network of horse trails, old ranch roads, and game trails that have evolved into singletrack. There’s no specific route to be followed here, but there are three noteworthy areas to explore. Trail Surface: Mixed singletrack, doubletrack, and a few dirt roads. There’s some sand, some sharp rocks, and lots of opportunities to roll over fallen cacti. Bring sealed or thorn-resistant tires."

Activity Type: Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Oro Valley
Trail Type: Several options
Technical Difficulty: Easy to Difficult
Duration: 2 hours
Season: Year-round; low desert gets dangerously hot in summer
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Arizona State Land Department
Local Maps: USGS Oro Valley, Oracle Junction, Oracle
Driving Directions: Directions to 50 Year Trail

Recent Trail Reviews

12/24/2008
1

I had a chance to ride with CJ,the proprietor of Way Out West Bed and Breakfast, who lead me on a great tour of the 50 Year Trail and Deer Camp Loop. The weather was perfect and the trail had just been dampened by some light precipitation the day before. What a great experience! CJ is not only a great rider who knows the trails like the back of his hand, but he is also very knowledgeable about the flora, fauna and the prehistory of the Hohokam people who lived in the area. These trails are great for winter riding because they drain so quickly and if one is not in prime riding condition, the trails provide an equal balance of super fun technical sections with short climbs and great downhills. You will get a workout and have a very enjoyable ride. I found myself whooping aloud section after section and wishing I could spend several more days there not only exploring other trails, but repeating the trails I rode that day. There are many sections that are deserving of repeats because they are challenging in a variety of ways. Steep rock faces, narrow trails through the rocks and plenty of ups were just a few of the memorable portions of this trail system. It was great to escape the cold of the northern climes and find yourself riding short sleeved in the desert for a two to three hour ride. Trail finding might have been more challenging for me so I was glad to have CJ as a guide, but if feeling adventuresome, just go explore these great trail north of Tucson.


12/30/2007
0

Hiked this trail from end of Golder Ranch Road, through Catalina State park to my home on the south side of the park. It took about 3 1/2 hours with a 20 minute stop for lunch and quite a few photos. Probably about 5 miles. We had to share the trail with lots of mountain bikes and cows! Great scenery, easy hike. Beginning of actual trail is quite a ways past the cattle guard. There is an equestrian trail right past the cattle guard near the parking area that gets you to the trail a bit faster. Watch out for dead cows!


3/2/2004
0

As a Tucsonan I have ridden this trail many times. It is the best intermediate trail in the Tucson area. The 50 year Trail is marked and combined with the "Chutes" takes 1 1/2-2 hours. Many trails exist in this area so loops can be ridden. A nice 4x4 camping area exists east of the trail. The trail curves, swoops, climbs and falls thru hundreds of obstacles such as yuccas, cactus and boulders. It was partly re-routed in the fall of 2002 and is more fun than ever. Climbs are short until you leave the trail and head east where several trail climb into the Santa Catalina mountains. If you wish this trail can be extended dozens of miles from Catalina State Park to the town of Oracle and the Arizona Trail and beyond to the Galiuro Mountains.



Trail Photos

Activity Feed

May 2018