Charleau Gap - Trail, Tucson, Arizona

Charleau Gap - Trail, Tucson, Arizona

DESCRIPTION

A very rough 4WD road that climbs about 1500 vertical feet to "the Gap", a pass in San Maniego Ridge in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The road is marginally maintainned by a local 4WD enthusiast group, but it gets incredibly rutted, rocky, and loose in spots. The climb up to the Gap is tough, but the downhill is the reward. Coming down can be harrowing due to the loose rutted spots and some rock drops. Generally an out-and-back ride, it also serves as the finish for the Red Ridge/Canyon del Oro Trail from the top of Mount Lemmon. From the kiosk, follow the main dirt road. It has some ups and downs at first, until a major sandy wash crossing. Then it's pretty much up and up.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 15  
[Nov 14, 2006]
lflenard
Weekend Warrior

I did this trail for the first time today (11/14/2006) Its a really nice climb and its all ride able so long as you have it in you. The first half is fairly easy but the second half seemed tougher. I think the better shape you’re in...The more enjoyable it will be.

If you hit it during the week your less likely to run into the 4X4 dudes. From counting the beer cans and bottles along the way, I'd have to assume they are pretty buzzed by the time they get to the top.

Customer Service

to the top and back down

Similar Products Used:

50 year-Sutherland Trail

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 09, 2006]
wurensh
Cross Country Rider

Won't belabour the details - up-up-up... the fun is the way down.

Customer Service

While doing an out-and-back is fun, the experience factor is significantly multiplied by returning via Cherry Tank (about 2/3 of the way up, a FR crosses the Charouleau Gap road - a turn to the South will hook up to Cherry Tank). Don't explore this alone on your first couple of trips... The Cherry Tank return is 100% singletrack and will spit you out towards the Golder Ranch parking area, so a shuttle is nice (but can be done w/o if you've got the juevos or time) - ofr, simply do Cherry Tank as an out-n-back.

ALSO: Signigficant fun-factor is doing a 50-50... climb in the late afternoon to watch the sunset/moonrise from the Gap (having hot chocolate is a must... yes, I carry a stove when I do it). WOO HOO!

Similar Products Used:

Golder Ranch system (far too many specific routes to name), Bobby, 24HOP...

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 27, 2005]
mkoepsel@comcast.net
Cross Country Rider

This is a great trail, but it is not for the faint of heart or the out of shape.

Customer Service

Straight up the road, continue down to the CDO wash, turn around.

Similar Products Used:

50 yr., Chiva Falls, Pepper Sauce Loop

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Aug 08, 2004]
kylebakin
Cross Country Rider

I guess August was not the best time to try this trail for the first time. I took a full camelbak..not enough. Yes, the first 6 miles has some great climbs, but some are just too loose and steep to do in the saddle (much respect for those who can). Up and over the top and it's a nice downhill to the running Canada Del Oro creek. Pinch flat alley if you're not careful. Ran across some 4x4'rs who said the trail was 16 miles pavement to pavement, so we thought "what the heck" let's go for it. Hindsight being 20-20, should have packed twice as much water as we did. With the several 'shade breaks' that we took, and a very conservative pace (read, no water) it took us about 9 hours to make it to the town of Oracle. In a nutshell: It's beautiful, it's brutal. Take more water than you think you'll need (or avoid it during the summer), be ready for some steep climbs and decents. I'm happy to be alive today.

Customer Service

Golder Rd to Del Oro. North to Jeep road trailhead (well marked). Up Up Up and over to town of Oracle or Out and Back. For experienced riders only.

Similar Products Used:

50 Year trail, Upper dear camp loop. chutes

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 19, 2004]
Giles
Cross Country Rider

Oracle to 50 Year parking lot via water tank single track: ~22 miles ~4.5 hours First half is punishing and beautiful.

Customer Service

Oracle to Catalina

Similar Products Used:

Oracle Ridge

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 05, 2004]
ballstothewall
Weekend Warrior

I have done this ride fairly often and the downhill on this is some of the best downhill if speed is what you want. The only place I have been able to go faster is sunrise park (sweet). The climb is tough but fun and makes the downhill that much better. It is most likely best to keep an eye open for jeeps and turns. One time I was riding this trail lost control around a corner and ran into the middle of an ocatillo (fun stuff). I also recomend trying this trail at night that is when I enjoy it the most.

Customer Service

up and back down

Similar Products Used:

any try them all Keep on biking.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jul 23, 2000]
Phil

I don't do this as an out and back, but use it as an exit for some of the other singletracks coming off Mt. Lemmon. San Maniego drops in right at the Gap. Point left and go. No pedaling required. Don't let the speed get the better of you because the nasty bits do come out of no where and the occasional 4X4 will appear out of no where too. Haven't tried as an out/back, but suggest some strong lungs and legs and more food and water than you think.

Customer Service

Directions posted are fine.

Similar Products Used:

Canada del Oro, San Maniego, 50 Year

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
[Sep 01, 2000]
Richard Grand

This was an unbelievable ride. It's correct: Up and up. Are endorphins legal? Cuz we have more than our share. It is Climb City, Baby. Quite a few 4x4s, but you pass them like they're sitting still. There are also some motorcycles. You're not passing them. The climb seems like it goes on and on. Take loads of water and food. THE RETURN IS LIKE RIDING YOUR MOST FAVORITE ROLLER COASTER!!! This ride is a lot of work, but you'll never forget it. It's a freaking kick in the pants and so much fun. Screw National in Phoenix, this is the place to be.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[Apr 06, 2001]
BM

I must say, I was surprised to see this trail(dirt road) listed here-Not much of a trail. did this trail 4 wheeling once. It was kinda dull-no challange. There is one waterfall at the end that is kinda fun. On a bike it might be cool as a downhill exit off Mt. Lemon. As an out and back, why??? This is Arizona for God sake! There are WAY better trails in the area to waste time riding here, unless you don't like singletrack...

Customer Service

None

Similar Products Used:

Butterfly, Milagrosa, Green Mtn.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
[Apr 14, 2001]
Dave Burnham

Charoleau Gap climbs from 2900 to 5300 feet in 6.9 sickening miles. Most of the elevation gain is in the last two miles of switchbacks. I thought it would be a short, overly easy, over-too-quick cruise, but near the top, I felt as though there was a crab on my chest. Good views of Oracle and the Biosphere from up top.

The way back down has fifty different ways to spill, including wallows, dropoffs and wicked rain ruts. It's a good place to test your nerve, your tires and your downhilling skills. Go as fast as you like, but don't ride too far over your abilities or you may have to hitch a ride out with a broken bike or worse. Watch out for motorcycles and offroad vehicles coming up the road.

A well marked side trail about two thirds of the way up to the Gap is worth taking. It goes South to some beautiful creek areas with plenty of trees and all kinds of wild beasties to look at. Many four wheelers can be seen testing their trucks in this area. Don't be surprised to find a jeep lying on it's side- we did. There's minimal elevation change on the side trail. We hung around a while to watch the monster truck smash up derby before finishing the descent.

Customer Service

Find the trail head off of Lago Del Oro Parkway and give thanks for the four wheelers that worked so hard to keep access to the 'Gap. Go eastwards and upwards from there. Treat it as an out and back. Come back in a year after you've forgotten how much you suffered.

Similar Products Used:

Fifty Year Trail, The Windmill Trail (aka Briarpatch), Red Ridge, Crystal Springs... pretty much all of them.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 15  

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