AZ Trail - American Flag Ranch is a 6.3 mile out and back trail located near Oracle, AZ and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and mountain biking and is accessible from September until May. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
San Pedro River valley views, Galiuro mountain views For the most part the trail continually gains elevation until you reach the junction with the Oracle Ridge Trail. This is a great trail that passes through high desert grassland with great views of the Galiuro Mountains, San Manuel, and the burns areas from the Bullock and Aspen fires of 2002 and 2003. As the trail ascends you will notice a cluster of buildings (some of them stone) which is the Hijinks Mine. There are 2 sections of the trail to keep an eye out for. First of all, you'll cross a jeep road (roughly around 20-25 minutes into the hike) where the trail will pick up again across the jeep road about 10 yards to your right. Second, when you are below the Hijinks Mine there is a fork in the trail. Make sure and take the right fork.
Update on Getting There: The county has paved the road most of the way now and diverted around the dirt road that went to the trail. From the Mount Lemmon Highway, watch for American Flag Ranch Road turn onto it. In a few hundred feet you'll see the trail sign as described.
This section of the Arizona Trail starts at around 4,000 feet in elevation, making it a good hike for late summer when it is really hot and humid at lower elevations. That is also a great time to see wildflowers because this area gets some good rains. There were even 'shrooms this time.
I'm not sure where 7.4 miles would take you on the trail. You could take it all the way to Mount Lemmon if you have the stamina and supplies. Expansive views of the San Pedro River valley to the east and the rolling foothills of the Catalinas to the west. You'll encounter a few steep sections after the first hour and a half and it climbs steadily from there on. After all, it has to reach 9,000 feet eventually.