A trail northeast of Tucson offers a miraculous experience.
OK, technically that’s because the name of the trail is Milagrosa, which is Spanish for miraculous.
But many hikers and mountain bikers find that the 4.5-mile route — known on maps as La Milagrosa Ridge Trail — lives up to its name.
BIRD’S EYE VIEWS
The hike begins not far from houses on the edge of Metro Tucson and follows a residential road for about half a mile before reaching wild terrain.
Climbing — sometimes gradually and sometimes steeply — the trail ascends a broad divide between La Milagrosa and Agua Caliente canyons, revealing ever-more-dramatic views into the gorges.
Desert vegetation along the way is miraculous in its own right, with a diverse mix of cacti lining the route and wildflowers showing color in March and April.
Day hikers often trek for two or more miles up the trail — sometimes stopping at a scenic stream crossing for a lunch break — before returning to the trailhead.
Those who plan to follow the route for 4.5 miles to a junction with the Bellota Trail and then return the way they came should be fit, get an early start and carry plenty of water and sun protection. Some sources put the travel distance at 5 miles rather than 4.5 miles.
Mountain bikers often start at the Bellota trailhead near the Molino Basin Campground along the Catalina Highway, proceed to the Milagrosa Trail, and follow it to the bottom.