50-Year and Golder Ranch Loop
This is two different trail segments that put as one “ride”. The 50-Year segment can be done as a straight out-and-back but you can connect it to the Golder ranch system for a “Lollipop Loop”.
The 50-Year Trail Segment:
You can start at the Chase Bank on Oracle across the street from Catalina State Park, or drive in to the Park and park at the equestrian area. There is a fee to get in to the park. The trail climbs from the equestrian area to the gate at the park boundary. The trail is not very technical, but it is rocky.
Once at the gate, the trail climbs just a bit more and then smoothly descends on singletrack to the road below the Golder Ranch parking lot. You can either take the road up to the parking lot to meet your buddies, or take the singletrack straight up to the Chutes.
Golder Ranch Trail System:
Start out on the Arizona 50 Year Trail heading Northeast from the Parking lot. Stay right and you'll come to a trail marker with "The Chutes" on it. Continue right and you'll arrive at the top of a white sandy hill. This is the beginning of The Chutes, a fun flowy mostly downhill section of trails. Beginners can ride the Chutes as long as caution is exercised as there are a few spots that are quite steep and have sharp turns. There are a few different routes through the Chutes. Stay straight until you reach the 50 year trail you came in on and take a left. This will bring you back to the top of the hill.
The next section is Upper 50 to the Jem Trail. This is intermediate to advanced depending on which sections you decide to hike-a-bike. Head down but stay to the right. There will be a fork that will take you through Upper 50. The first section of this trail is quite technical and most riders will be hiking up several sections. Once you get to the top stay left to take the Jem trail down which is a semi-technical descent with some fun terrain features that can be taken if desired. Jem will drop you out about halfway through the Chutes. Follow the trail back up to the top of the hill yet again.
The final section is Middlegate Trail. Head east from the top of the hill and you'll come to a barbed wire gate. Open it and proceed through making sure to close it once you are through. The ascent up to Middlegate is has some technical sections but is mostly just climbing. Once you reach the top prepare for a fun and fairly technical descent down to the 50 Year Trail Segment. Stay left and you'll end up back at the parking lot.