Samaniego Ridge - TRAIL

Samaniego Ridge - Trail, Tucson, Arizona

I am posting this more as a warning, than as a great ride. Having done Red Ridge, Samaniego looked from its elevation profile to be an even better ride. Not so! I would imagine at one time this trail would have been fun, but the fire and the lack of trail work has turned it into more of a route than a trail. I can see it being fun as a bush wack hike, but leave the bike at home. It starts off fairly well with great views and knarly rocky switch backs. The person who put up cairns for the first part of this ride went above and beyond. The IMBA map claims only 500 ft of elevation gain, but you will do more than that in the first few miles. It has steep downs with steep ups. All is well until you get to a CLIFF! The trail goes around it to the west and back up, but it is a rediculous route, very steep and hard to find. A rope and rapelling gear would have been faster. From here on out the trail disapears often, the cairns get smaller and then disapear too. We finaly after 5 hrs decided to simply make a beeline for Charouleau Gap. However bushwacking with 35lb bikes is nearly impossible and we ended up cliffed out numerous times. By the time we got down from Charouleau Gap it had been 8 hrs. We do epic type, route finding rides all the time and this is the hardest worst one I have had the displeasure to do. Had we simply been able to actually ride our bikes it would have been worth it, but this was not.

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