Oracle State Park is a 4,000 acre wildlife refuge in the northern foothills of the Catalina Mountains. Once part of the Kannally family cattle ranch, the unique Mediterranean style ranch house in the park is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Ranging from 3,700 to 4,600 feet in elevation, the surrounding landscape transitions from oak woodland to desert grassland, with sweeping views of the Catalinas and granite boulder outcrops to the south; and San Pedro River Valley and Galiuro Mountains to the north-east. The diverse vegetation, slope and elevation within the park provide habitat for a variety of animals. Oracle State Park offers day-use picnic sites and over 15 miles of trail for use by hikers, bicyclists and equestrians. A four mile section of the Arizona Trail passes through the park, connecting Mexico to Utah.

3 months ago

This is a scenic and somewhat challenging hike. The Phoneline trail is not at all clearly marked once you get to the first wash. Make sure you have your app open or have a map. There was quite good cell coverage for about 75% of the hike (I use Sprint). When you are in the canyons and washes, cell service was sketchy as expected. The Phoneline trail is just a road built back in the day to install and service the power lines and poles. The road is pretty easy to follow, but really overgrown with tall grasses and thorny Palo Verde bushes. I wore shorts for this hike, YOU SHOULD NOT - big mistake on my part.

After the Phoneline Trail ended, I caught the Arizona Trail to the Windmill Trail. These trails were extremely easy to follow and clearly traveled frequently. The Windmill was very cool and iconic! I did a little research and the windmill was likely installed in or around the 1930's. It still turns (creaks a little) and moves with the wind. There were two picnic tables and a nice bench there. It was a good place for photos and a snack.

From the windmill on was quite a challenge. You hike IN THE WASH for at least a mile. Probably not a route you would want to take (or could take) during monsoon season. The regular trail resumes, but almost missed it because the homemade sign (laminated paper) was badly faded. From this point on and for all but the last 2 miles, the trail is in extremely poor condition. The trail is overgrown with grasses, Prickly Pear cactus, and Palo Verde bushes. The trail is extremely hard to follow and I made several missteps. You must look very carefully for the rock piles periodically which people were nice enough to stack so people like me did not end up bushwhacking through the high desert.

The last part of the hike was following the Arizona Trail and part of the Phoneline trail just like I had done on the way out. This would be a MUCH better hike if the trails were clearly marked and rehabbed a bit. There is stunning scenery, deer, javelina, coyotes and probably a lot more out there. It is a VERY worthwhile hike if some time would be spent trail marking. I assume the overgrowth on some of the trail is due to lack of use. Fix the signage and the traffic will follow.

10 months ago

We really enjoyed this hike and the terrain is so different than in Tucson. We're not very experienced hikers but I'd say this falls into the "easy" category. Overall very much enjoyed Oracle State Park.

We were amazed at how spectacular this trail is. The views are amazing and the scenery is so different from everything else in the Tucson area. There are flowers and beautiful yuccas. There's a bit of scrambling up or down involved, depending on at what end you start. Great hike!!

11 months ago

It was a nice walk. It was our second trail in Oracle SP and the first one we did (Granite Overlook Loop Trail) was spectacular. This one is easy and we liked it!

Great trail. Well maintained beautiful scenery.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

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.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

I'm afraid you can't get in now. The Oracle State Park has been closed as a State-wide money-saving ploy. However, you can take the same trail through the Oracle State Park using the Arizona Trail from American Flag to Tiger Road. I rated it from other people's descriptions.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Sunday, November 02, 2014