One of the most scenic and remote areas in the Catalinas but not for the faint of heart.
The trail starts out going down Oracle Ridge, then drops into the Canada del Oro, passing through an old mining area. You then hike up the Canada del Oro to its headwaters, and then up and over Mt. Lemmon to return to your starting point.The biggest trees in the Catalinas are found along this hike. At the start there are some huge alligator junipers on Oracle Ridge (5-6 feet in diameter at the base), and in the upper reaches of Canada del Oro there are some of the biggest firs and ponderosas in the Catalinas (4 to 6 feet in diameter).
You probably won't see any people for most of this ride. The Canada del Oro valley is seldom traveled, and when you are back there you feel like you are miles from the nearest civilization, which you are.
How to get there:
It takes a good hour and the last 200 yards is on a dirt road. From the intersection of Tanque Verde and Kolb/Grant, head east on Tanque Verde until you reach the Catalina Highway (5-6 miles). Catalina Highway comes after the light for Bear Canyon Road. Take a left on Catalina Highway and drive towards the mountains. After a few miles the road begins to climb into the Catalinas. Stay on the main Catalina Highway for most of its length. About thirty miles from Tanque Verde, turn right on Control Road. It is the last right before Ski Run Rd. If you get to Summerhaven you have gone too far; turn around and go back less than a mile to Control Road. Mt. Lemmon Fire Department on your right just after turning right on Control Road. Just after the fire department the road turns into a dirt road. 200 yards down the dirt road you will see a large gravel parking lot on the left. Park here. The trailhead is on the right hand edge of the parking lot and is marked by a sign.
Not super technical but long, extreme climbs and remote. Bring extra water. No facilities.