Main Golder Ranch Parking Area. July 2016.
- 40 Minutes from Speedway and Campbell
- 21.3 miles from Speedway and Campbell
- Vehicle Access: Passenger Car/Paved Roads/Short Section of Passenger Car Friendly Dirt Road - take care pulling into the parking area, the entrance to the parking area is sometimes in rough condition.
- Fee: No (There is no fee required at the parking area but the surrounding land is State Trust Land where a permit is required.)
- Restrooms: No
- Water: No
The directions/mileage given here are for the largest/most popular/easiest to reach Golder Ranch area parking - there are other parking areas along the dirt roads in the area, some of which require high-clearance/4wd vehicles to reach.
Driving Directions from the Speedway and Campbell intersection in Tucson - Golder Ranch Parking Area:
- North on Campbell (3.5 miles)
- Left on River Road (2.2 miles)
- Right on Oracle/AZ-77 (13.7 miles)
- Right on East Golder Ranch Road (1.9 miles)
- Just before the parking area the pavement ends and the road bends to the right, the unsigned parking area is a large dirt area on the right (the parking area is before the cattle guard).
In addition to the main/first parking area there are two notable parking areas – one to the north, one to the south – that are best accessed with a high clearance vehicle – road conditions vary quite a bit and could be quite a bit rougher than you would expect so close to homes and major roads, take care! (And be careful if ‘exploring’ in this area, the land ownership in the area is a mix of private, state and federal land.)
- North: Instead of pulling into the main parking area turn left to take E Equestrain Trail northeast to a junction with FR642 (Baby Jesus Ridge Road) at a corral. At the junction take a right – the corral area is well used and you may have to look carefully to find where FR642 leaves the corral area – from here proceed as far as you feel comfortable – there is a good access point near the forest border. There is a good chance that your parking area will be on Arizona State Trust Land which requires a permit.
The corral at the junction of FR642 and Equestrain Trail road (FR462 leaves to the left) - there is additional parking along FR462 although a high clearance vehicle is required (potentially 4wd depending on conditions/distance). July 2016.
- South: Instead of pulling into the main parking area stay right, across a cattle guard, to continue south on Golder Ranch Road. At a Y junction turn right onto FR 643 (‘Cargodera Canyon Road’) and take that to the a large sandy parking area at the Forest Boundary – this is also the boundary of Santa Catalina State Park (Fee Area). It is legal to drive past this parking area and continue on FR 643 – however 643 deteriorates quickly and becomes so rocky that you might find that it is faster and more pleasant to hike the road vs. driving the road unless you are on an ATV (and eventually you will reach some true 4WD rock crawling obstacles). The main large sandy parking area is Arizona State Trust Land which requires a permit.
Left: The Golder Ranch South parking area is 'unofficial' does not have any parking signs but is a large, obvious, sandy area with plenty of room. August 2017.
Right: Two gates leaving the Golder Ranch Trailhead - the gate to the left leads into Catalina State Park (a fee area) and to the left the Trail Link trail follows FR643 towards the Sutherland Trail. August 2017.
A beautiful view of Pusch Ridge from the Golder Ranch South parking area. August 2017.