Babad Do’ag Trail

by Dave Baker Wednesday, March 30th 2011

Located a few miles up the Mount Lemmon Highway, the Babad Do’ag Trail follows an old bulldozer track up MacDougal Ridge on the southern flanks of the Santa Catalina Mountains. This old route had been nearly forgotten until the trail was rebuilt and renamed during the 17 year Mt Lemmon Highway road improvement project which began in 1988.

Babad Doag Trail

The old bulldozer track is evident on lower stretches of the trail

As part of the improvement project, Babad Do’ag Vista was also built, now the first major pullout on the drive up the Mt Lemmon Highway. An interpretive display at the vista explains that “Babad Do’ag” is the Tohono O’odham name for the Catalina Mountains, meaning “Frog Mountain”. Babad Do’ag Vista provides plenty of trailhead parking for the hike.

Babad Doag Trail

Oak chaparral and desert grassland near trail’s end

This is an enjoyable and moderate outing. The trail first climbs through stands of Saguaro cactus and other Sonoran vegetation and ends in eye-pleasing oak chaparral and grassland. Hikers are also treated to an array of great views along the entire route. Take care: summer heat can be intense on this hike, since it faces south and is low elevation

About 2.6 miles up the ridge, a metal sign marks trail’s end, though an obvious “social trail" continues past the sign. This marks the beginning of a cross country route that eventually joins the Soldier Trail a little over a mile to the northwest.

Babad Doag Trail

Agua Caliente Hill, Mica Mountain, and Rincon Peak are distant high points

Find trailhead parking at Babad Do’ag Vista near milepost 2.6 on the Mt Lemmon Highway. The trail begins a few hundred feet up the highway beyond the vista, on the north side of the road.

Season: Fall, winter and spring -- south facing and low elevation, so summer temperatures can be quite hot.

Water: None: bring plenty of your own.

Note:. This is a Forest Service fee area.

Difficulty: Moderate. About 2.5 miles one-way to trail’s end, with 950 ft elevation gain.

Maps: Green Trails Santa Catalina Mountains



Click map for larger image


Comments (1) -

4/1/2011 10:53:11 AM #

This post has motivated me to go try this trail out for my morning run tomorrow.  Great pictures and excellent information.  Thank you!


The Authors

Dave BakerDave Baker

I'm Dave Baker, founder of Summit Hut, an independent outdoor retailer based in Tucson, Arizona since 1969. As an experienced and passionate hiker, climber and backpacker, my blog is intended to be an informative and interesting look into the outdoors and the outdoor industry.

Dana Davis

Dana Davis

I’m Dana Davis, co-owner of the Summit Hut. I mostly enjoy hiking and road biking though I often do other things to keep it interesting (mountaineering, motorcycling, backpacking, climbing, you name it!) My biggest challenge is sometimes finding the balance between career, family, and fun but it’s working out so far!

Dan Davis

Dan Davis

I'm Dan Davis, after retiring from the National Park Service as a Ranger and manager, I worked for the Summit Hut until 2009, then retired for good (maybe). I'm now spending my time traveling around the southwest writing and working on my nature and fine art photography business.

Emily Gindlesparger

Emily Gindlesparger

I’m Emily Gindlesparger, a member of the Summit Hut floor staff. Since moving here from the Midwest, I’ve been taking advantage of all possible adventures in Arizona: rock climbing, mountain biking, backpacking, whitewater kayaking, caving and trail running; I’m always excited to see what’s next!