A few weeks ago Lance and I went down the Canada del Oro (often called the ‘CDO’) and had plenty of time to gaze at a location that neither of us had ever visited – Samaniego Ridge – it was too much to resist… Our hike down the CDO was amazing – but definitely hot, so rather than do the entire Samaniego Ridge Trail we decided on an out-and-back hike to Samaniego Peak from the top of the mountain.
Mount Lemmon Trail – Sutherland Trail – Samaniego Ridge Trail – CDO Shortcut Trail – Samaniego Ridge Trail – The first part of our trip was familiar from our trip down the CDO and from the Shovel Springs Loop (Traci on this loop in May). From there the Samaniego Ridge Trail was easy to follow – winding in and out of older trees and areas where the Aspen Fire burned a decade ago – with just a little bit of wandering to locate Walnut Spring.
Walnut Spring was an unexpected treat – green grass growing around a small but flowing drainage – trees shaded the area and it was impossible to resist taking a break.
From Walnut Spring Lance and I began to work our way towards the peak – as we went the foliage became more dense – and sharper – and we eventually abandoned elegance and hopefulness for (literally) crawling under and thru some of the thicker sections.
Occasionally it appeared that the boulders might offer a clear path to the top – but for the most part the effort of clambering on top of them only offered a great view of the increasingly daunting bushwhack! Eventually the peak…
Samaniego Peak is a joy – great views – and today a swarm of Ladybugs! The hike to the peak took us longer than expected so we did not linger too long before bushwhacking down and heading (uphill!!!) back to the trailhead.
Trail Descriptions we used:
- Dave Baker’s post on Samaniego Peak on the Summit Hut Trail Talk Blog
- Samaniego Peak on HikeArizona.com