50-Year, Golder Ranch, the Chutes, Upper 50, Middlegate
Level: Beginner to Advanced, depending on the trail (1A through 3C)
Special Note: Multi-Use Trail… STOP and yield to Equestrians, and be polite to all trail users.
The 50-Year Trail is located north of Tucson in Oro Valley, Arizona at the end of Golder Ranch Road. This is certainly one of the nicest areas to ride, and the location of our ever-popular Bike and Brats yearly party! Plenty of single track, some technical areas along with a whole bunch of beginner to intermediate rides. This area has something for everyone. You can arrange your ride to be virtually any distance or time you would like. A 2-mile, introductory fun ride, up to 30-miles of killer climbs and technical challenges. All of this and it is BEAUTIFUL. If you park at the main trailhead, you will need a State Land Permit. Also be aware that there has been occasional vehicle break-ins, so don’t leave any valuables visible in your car. This trailhead is the best location for beginners. Be aware that this area IS multi-use and gets a lot of equestrian traffic. Be conscious of your riding and yield… STOP and let the equestrian riders go by. They’re all nice folks and we’re all out to enjoy these fantastic trails together.
50-Year Trail: To start the popular loop, find the singletrack that starts just to the left, past the cattleguard. It is mostly flat, fast, and curvy. Eventually, you will come to a wide open area near another cattleguard. Stay straight to start the intermediate level riding, or take the Jeep road to the left to take the easy route to The Chutes.
Catalina State Park: For a bigger challenge, park at the Chase Bank at Oro Valley Marketplace directly across from Catalina State Park and ride your bike in. Once in the park, follow the sign to the Stables on your left, and the trail starts just to the right of the stables. It will give you an immediate workout with a long, challenging climb. It is almost impossible to get lost, just follow the singletrack and signage, and always close the gates behind you. It is almost all single track, mostly intermediate riding, about 20 miles counting the pavement into the Park with a 1,600 ft. change in elevation, and should be 2-3 hours of riding. You can get water at the Equestrian Center but nowhere else. If you park in Catalina State Park, be prepared to pay a $5/vehicle fee, and you may even need to pay while riding your bike in.
Middlegate: Middlegate trail breaks off toward the Catalina Mountains just after the 50-Year trail meets another old, flat Jeep road. Look for it off to your right, and don’t forget to close the gate behind you. It will curve back south and meet up with the 50-Year trail again. It is Intermediate level riding with some really fun rock features to play on.
Deer Camp: Deer Camp Trail is an old equestrian trail that breaks off from Middlegate and takes a fall line route up to Deer Camp, where a picnic table and spring beds are at about midway up Samaniego Ridge. Most locals ride the “Deer Camp Loop” consisting of Middlegate from the gate south to where it joins up with 50-Year trail again.
The Chutes: Think “roller coaster for bikes.” An old motorcycle playground dating back to the ’60s & ’70s, the Chutes is a rocking, rolling, fast and incredibly fun end to the 50-Year trail. Beginners can ride it as long as they take it easy. The trail will end in a wash, and then you need to head back left (South) to join back up with the 50-Year toward the trailhead.
Upper-50 Trail: The Upper-50 Trail starts from the Northeast corner of the top of The Chutes. You’ll need to drop in to the first “whoopeee!” of The Chutes, but instead of going left to follow The Chutes, take a right and follow the fence. You’ll begin to do some intense, lung-busting climbing. This trail is fairly technical with intense climbs and some rocky portions. It will drop you back down onto Middlegate trail.
Slickrock Lollipop: Another more technical, fun and incredible trail that branches from Middlegate/Deer Camp.