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Charleau Gap

Average Rating:    (4 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 15

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.
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Latitude
32.35328292697968
Longitude
-110.97461700439453
Trail Directions
Drive North from Tucson on Oracle Road, through Oro Valley, to Golder Ranch Road. Turn right, drive down a big hill and turn left just before the bridge, on Lago del Oro Road. Follow Lago del Oro a couple miles, and look for the trailhead sign-in kiosk off the road on the right. If you get to the new homes of the retirement community, you missed it. Your destination is the Gap, the deep rounded saddle in the ridge.
Trail Length
6 miles one way
Trail Level
Advanced
Trail Type
Fire Roads
City/County
Tucson
   


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Reviews 1 - 5 (15 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5

Review Date
November 14, 2006

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 5 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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5.00 of 5, 1.00 votes

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Reviewed by: lflenard ,  Weekend Warrior

Summary:
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.

Recommended Route:
to the top and back down

Other recommended trails in the same area:
50 year-Sutherland Trail



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Review Date
April 9, 2006

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 5 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Every few months

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Reviewed by: wurensh ,  Cross Country Rider

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

Recommended Route:
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!

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Golder Ranch system (far too many specific routes to name), Bobby, 24HOP...



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Review Date
August 27, 2005

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a month

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Reviewed by: mkoepsel@comcast.net ,  Cross Country Rider

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

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

Other recommended trails in the same area:
50 yr., Chiva Falls, Pepper Sauce Loop



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Review Date
August 8, 2004

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 5 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: kylebakin ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
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.

Recommended Route:
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.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
50 Year trail, Upper dear camp loop. chutes



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Review Date
April 19, 2004

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 5 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 5 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a year

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Reviewed by: Giles ,  Cross Country Rider

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

Recommended Route:
Oracle to Catalina

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Oracle Ridge



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Reviews 1 - 5 (15 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5