Hiking Project Logo

A gentle trail for the first 2.5 miles, but a rough long hike if you continue. Great trail for wildflowers in the spring.

Your Rating: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key





Point to Point

8,504' 2,592 m


2,723' 830 m


5,868' 1,788 m


87' 26 m



Avg Grade (7°)


Max Grade (27°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Leashed dogs are allowed within the Catalina State Park boundary. However, the Sutherland Trail starts in Catalina State Park. After a mile, the trail enters the Coronado National Forest, which restricts dogs due to protection of desert bighorn sheep, only to meander out of the Coronado National Forest Boundary and back into Catalina State Park and then once again out of Catalina State Park and back into the Coronado National Forest.


Starting at Catalina State Park, look for signage for the Sutherland Trail and Canyon Loop Trail. The two trails overlap each other as you begin your hike. Shortly after leaving the parking area, and depending on the season, the trail will either cross several intermittent streams or several dry washes.

After about an eighth of a mile, the Sutherland Trail breaks off and heads N/NE and the Canyon Loop Trail continues east. As you continue on the Sutherland Trail, you'll leave Catalina State Park and enter the Coronado National Forest. At this point, dogs are prohibited within the Coronado National Forest due to the protection of desert bighorn sheep.

The trail gently climbs and offers sweeping views of the Sonoran Desert to the west and south. To the east are views of the rugged western flank of the Catalina Mountains. Just before the Sutherland Trail comes to a junction with a link trail, the trail crosses the Cargodera drainage, which might have seasonal running water and a pool.

At approximately, 2.6 miles, the Sutherland Trail intersects with a link trail. The link trail takes you NW to the 50-Year Trail. The Sutherland Trail continues east and overlaps with Forest Service Road 643 (FR 643). FR 643 is an old power line road with lots of loose rocks. Even though the Sutherland Trail continues along an old road, the "road" is hardly used by mountain bikers or vehicles due to numerous amounts of large loose rocks.

After traveling for a couple miles along the Sutherland Trail/FR 643, any visible signs of a road disappear as the Sutherland Trail climbs steeply into the higher elevations of the Catalina Mountains. The trail is not well used in this area so portions of the trail might be overgrown and hard to identify. Keep your eyes out for rock cairns. The trail continues climbing through pine trees, tops out on a ridge, first intersects with the Samaniego Ridge Trail at approximately 8,000 feet, and then continues a little further east and connects with Mount Lemmon Trail #5.

Flora & Fauna

Depending on how far and high you hike on the trail, you could encounter saguaro cacti, ocotillo, desert grass land, agave, alligator juniper, manzanita, and pine trees. The lower section of the Sutherland Trail will have plenty of wildflowers in the spring.


Shared By:

Chris McD

Trail Ratings

  3.4 from 5 votes


  3.4 from 5 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in Arizona


31 Views Last Month
3,685 Since Jul 30, 2017



Ocotillos blooming along the Sutherland Trail.
Jul 30, 2017 near Catalina, AZ
Saguaro cacti, sycamore trees, and variety of other vegetation near a water source. The Sutherland Trail heads up the steep ridge in the distance.
Aug 7, 2017 near Catalina, AZ
Wildflowers blooming in February.
Nov 29, 2020 near Catalina, AZ
The pools are worth the hike there. Looking west with Oro Valley and the Tortolita mountains in the far distance
Nov 29, 2020 near Catalina, AZ
Start of trail.
Jul 5, 2019 near Oro Valley, AZ
The views are stunning
Mar 22, 2019 near Catalina, AZ



Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Jun 17, 2023
DD Demers
Just Mt Lemmon to CDO 0.7mi
Jun 10, 2023
Chad Munich
Water available in Santiago Creek to 5.5 miles. Catalina SP to 5.5 miles clear. Mile 6-8.1 unknown. 8.1 to 10 clear, follow cairns where available. 8mi
May 13, 2023
Chad M.
To 2.89 miles: Nice! H2O. To 3.47 miles: Okay. H2O. To 5.04 miles: Nice! H2O. To 6 miles: Passable. H2O. 6-8.4 miles: Trail dissipates. 8.4-9.4: ? 12mi
Oct 29, 2022
Chad Munich
Trail is visible and passable to FR643, which is also clear. Cargodera Creek was running. 3.7mi — 16h 24m
May 8, 2022
DD Demers
Mar 8, 2019
Laura Goedhart
Stoped to take a lot of photos. Lots of rocky terrain. Didn't reach the mountain switchbacks. Second half was a little boring. 11mi — 6h 44m
Feb 26, 2019
Craig Smith
Mar 26, 2018
Tom Adams
sutherland loop trail (sutherland-link-50 year trails) 9.9mi