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Forums › Reviews › Arizona Trail Reviews › Oracle Control Road (Oracle/Tucson) - 2.0
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Oracle Control Road (Oracle/Tucson) - 2.0
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tibaal89
Trail to Destruction
Trail to Destruction


Joined: Nov 29, 2007
Posts: 5589
Location: Tucson, AZ

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 1:46 pm    Post subject: Oracle Control Road (Oracle/Tucson) - 2.0 Reply with quote

Synopsis
Oracle Control Road is also popularly known as the "backside" up Mt. Lemmon. The drive is ridiculously scenic, starting around 4500ft and climbing to over 8000ft. Along the way, the environment changes dramatically and temperatures can be 10's of degrees cooler at the top - so much so that there is in fact a ski resort a ways up the mountain.

Take a look at the aerial - scenery abounds on this trail!! Shocked

For you Phoenix folk - combine Willow Springs Road, Oracle Control Road, and Mount Lemmon highway for the ultimate trip to Tucson! That combination will take you from Florence to the NE corner of Tucson.

Difficulty
The trail is pretty well maintained but sees alot of severe weather. I've seen it range from bumpy and slow to baja-speeds worthy. In either case, it is absolutely no problem for any FJ and there is zero risk of pinstriping.

Length
From the main road in Oracle to the fire station on the mountain (where you hit pavement again) is about 30 miles. At a reasonable pace it should take 2 or 3 hours. I did this once when the trail was in exceptionally good condition in about an hour drifting around corners and generally being a fool, but that is not recommended. Laughing

Location
The town of Oracle is on AZ77 north of Tucson. Get off AZ77 at American Ave, heading towards the mountains.

Google Maps - AZ77 and American Ave

After some pavement through town, there will be a sign on the right that says something like "Yo! Mount Lemmon, BYAH!!" - take that right turn. Follow Pavement for a little and it will turn to dirt.

The only decision to be made on the trail is at the Peppersauce Campground (very clearly marked by signs). There is a "T" intersection - when going up the mountain, turn left. The other way leads to Rice Peak and other really scary stuff. Laughing

The trail ends at the Mount Lemmon fire station and dumps you onto Mount Lemon Highway, a spectacular road.

Google Maps - Oracle Control Road and Mount Lemmon Highway

Aerial of the trail (note this is looking South):


Pictures
Right before a big storm moved in...




Scenery too great to capture with one pic...


Once I did this, and there were a ton of animals on the trail. Horses, and LOTS of cows...






Previous AZFJ Runs to this Trail
12/9/07 - Oracle Control Road / Mount Lemmon Highway

GPS Track
Attached below is a Google Earth .kml file of the trail.

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Something there is that doesn't love a wall, that wants it down...


Last edited by tibaal89 on Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:51 pm; edited 2 times in total
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fredwood
AZ Pinstriped
AZ Pinstriped


Joined: Nov 30, 2007
Posts: 115
Location: Queen Creek

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Oracle Control Road (Oracle/Tucson) - 2.0 Reply with quote

"Peppersauce Campground (very clearly marked by signs)."

If I remember correctly there is a cave there. When I was a boy scout we went in the cave on a couple different trips. It goes way back in the mountain.
Just a possible added bonus to the run.
Correct me if Im wrong Mike.
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tibaal89
Trail to Destruction
Trail to Destruction


Joined: Nov 29, 2007
Posts: 5589
Location: Tucson, AZ

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Oracle Control Road (Oracle/Tucson) - 2.0 Reply with quote

I've never heard of that, but that sounds really cool. I'm going to have to head back there and check it out. Thanks!

Here's a cool writeup and some pics on the cave:

Peppersauce Cave - HikeArizona.com

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fredwood
AZ Pinstriped
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Joined: Nov 30, 2007
Posts: 115
Location: Queen Creek

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Oracle Control Road (Oracle/Tucson) - 2.0 Reply with quote

Well don't go solo and bring extra flashlights.
I remember getting realy realy dirty crawling aroung in there. I think we even brought extra close for the ride home. It was a blast, but I was like 14 or 15 at the time.
I think it would be a real fun trip especially with an overnight camp out at the camp ground.
I think both times I went they were day trips.
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tibaal89
Trail to Destruction
Trail to Destruction


Joined: Nov 29, 2007
Posts: 5589
Location: Tucson, AZ

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Oracle Control Road (Oracle/Tucson) - 2.0 Reply with quote

Believe me, I will not be going in there alone. Laughing In fact I will probably wet myself several times if I ever do go in there... Embarassed

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Itanius
AZ Pinstriped
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Joined: Nov 30, 2007
Posts: 301
Location: Surprise!

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 5:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Oracle Control Road (Oracle/Tucson) - 2.0 Reply with quote

This one looks fun, including the spelunking side trip! Very Happy

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deaz
Expeditioneer
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Joined: Dec 19, 2008
Posts: 1001
Location: Tucson

PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Oracle Control Road (Oracle/Tucson) - 2.0 Reply with quote

Ran this today, didn't want to do any work and didn't want to spend the money sitting and watching a spring training baseball game.

Wanted something easy since it was just me and no copilot. Started at the top and drove down, playing with the new GPS along the way. I took an easy pace, that clear the mind, I don't care about the rest of the world right now sort of drive.

Very easy, a couple downed trees that were not 100% cleared, and a few rough patches due to runoff were the only "major" obstacles. This would be a fun drive right after a rain storm, potential for lots of mud is high. There are a couple trails that shoot off the main road that I want to go back and explore probably better if had another vehicle with, perhaps someone would like to do an easy trip one day.
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jillbobill
Mall Queen
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Joined: Aug 10, 2009
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Oracle Control Road (Oracle/Tucson) - 2.0 Reply with quote

Hey, guys!

I have a Honda Accord (that I hate). Do you think I could drive it up Oracle Control? I don't care if it gets dirty or chipped - only that it doesn't explode and doesn't get stuck somewhere I can't get it out.

(I know, I know, I want a 4x4!)
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SpeshulEd
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Joined: Jan 14, 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Oracle Control Road (Oracle/Tucson) - 2.0 Reply with quote

awesome!
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tibaal89
Trail to Destruction
Trail to Destruction


Joined: Nov 29, 2007
Posts: 5589
Location: Tucson, AZ

PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Oracle Control Road (Oracle/Tucson) - 2.0 Reply with quote

jillbobill wrote:
Hey, guys!

I have a Honda Accord (that I hate). Do you think I could drive it up Oracle Control? I don't care if it gets dirty or chipped - only that it doesn't explode and doesn't get stuck somewhere I can't get it out.

(I know, I know, I want a 4x4!)

Wow, interesting! That's a really good question... my first thought is that it's a bad idea, particularly if you're planning to do it alone - then it's a tremendously bad idea.

It's really hard to guess what the clearance and angles on an Accord are... there are curb-height rocky bits along the way and a few steep switchback turns.

One thing is for sure - it would take you a REALLY LONG TIME even if it could be done. I don't expect it would be very enjoyable due to at least that... I've been in a Civic on dirt, it's not pretty.

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Homedad
Master Wheeler
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Joined: Nov 29, 2007
Posts: 9263

PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Oracle Control Road (Oracle/Tucson) - 2.0 Reply with quote

Don't go alone....

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Last edited by Homedad on Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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jillbobill
Mall Queen
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Joined: Aug 10, 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Oracle Control Road (Oracle/Tucson) - 2.0 Reply with quote

Thanks, Tibaal!

I did some googling and I'm kind of getting mixed reviews on the topic, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. The clearance on the Accord is about that of a regular parking-stop. In fact, I often grind the guard on those stupid things, so it's probably even less.

I think, also, it might depend where one starts at (top of the mountain, or bottom). Maybe we'll have a drive up there and look before we commit.

Thanks again!
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jschwab1
AZ Pinstriped
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Joined: Jun 19, 2009
Posts: 221

PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Oracle Control Road (Oracle/Tucson) - 2.0 Reply with quote

Thanks, Tibaal

I will have to do this run next time I'm in Tucson.

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microbe
Obstacle Crusher
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Joined: Jan 16, 2008
Posts: 1646
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 8:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Oracle Control Road (Oracle/Tucson) - 2.0 Reply with quote

It would be a very long trip up the hill. Going up the front side and stopping at the pullouts would be more fun.
Based on when I ran it last... you could probably make it with some very careful driving and a bit of pushing when you get a front wheel in a hole. I haven't run it since they opened it this year so I have no idea what the winter did to the trail.
With monsoons. A trail that is easy one day could be a pain in the ass the next.
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Angry_Tim
Master Wheeler
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Joined: Mar 28, 2008
Posts: 5407
Location: Marana,az

PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Oracle Control Road (Oracle/Tucson) - 2.0 Reply with quote

I was up there about a month ago and up to Peppersauce the Honda would be ok. I can't say what it's like much further after that. I did drive up a few miles further and other then some fist sized rocks it wasn't bad.
Just pretend it's a rally car and go for it. J/K Laughing

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glideraz wrote:
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