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La Milagrosa Canyon

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Beach, The 
Down Under, The 
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Water World 

La Milagrosa Canyon  

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 2,500'
Location: 32.29998, -110.70997 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 135,172
Administrators: Greg Opland, James DeRoussel, JJ Schlick, Hendrixson, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: James DeRoussel on Mar 10, 2003
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La Milagrosa Canyon at Sundown. flickr.com/thedan...


Milagrosa Canyon, located at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains is fast becoming a popular winter sport climbing crag among locals. When it's cold up on Mt Lemmon, this place offers hard pulling in comfy temps. Climbs on both sides of the canyon might also offer a choice of sun or shade.

Occasionally referred to as "5.11 Heaven", Milagrosa is characterized by steep, hard sport routes is a nice desert canyon setting. A lack of easy routes means this place will quickly bore some beginner's, but for the moderate to hard leader, it's a goldmine.

Rock quality in this canyon is highly varied. Where it is good, it is very good. And where it is bad, don't even bother. Most routes are equipped with two bolt anchors and chains at top. As always, inspect these anchors before trusting your life to them.

Route development here is ongoing, though the most comprehensive guide is probably the recently published Tucson Select Sport Climbing guide.

Getting There 

From town, head north on the Catalina Highway as if going up Mt Lemmon. Before the base of the mountain, turn right (east) onto Snyder Road. Follow Snyder east to Suzenu Rd. and turn left. Drive to the end of Suzenu, and park off the road near the large gate.

From the gate, hike east down a long, straight dirt road. After about ten minutes of hiking, pass through a chained gate and cross the bed of Molino Creek. Follow the road up a hill until you can see Agua Caliente Creek to the south.

To access Sunnyside, Main Wall, and Saguaro Corners, take the trail that heads down into the creek bed. After crossing Agua Caliente Creek you will hit a trail heading east up Agua Caliente Canyon. Don't follow it too far! If you do, you will be heading up the wrong canyon. After about 100 yards, the trail splits. Take the left fork back to the creek bed and into Milagrosa Canyon.

To access the Oasis, instead of heading down into Agua Caliente Creek, continue on the road which will take you past the turn off for the upper trail (now marked with a Pima County Parks and Rec sign). This upper trail follows the rim of Milagrosa Canyon and finally enters the canyon further upstream.

Climbing Season

Weather station 5.7 miles from here

71 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',18],['2 Stars',35],['1 Star',18],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for La Milagrosa Canyon:
Valentine Arete   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport   Main Wall
Community Service   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   Main Wall
Welcome to Milagrosa   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Main Wall
Unnamed Mixed Route   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Main Wall
Javalina   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Sahuaro Corners
Sahuaro   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Sahuaro Corners
Where the Buffalo Roam   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Main Wall
Cholla   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   Sahuaro Corners
Four Play   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch   Main Wall
Stealin   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport   Main Wall
Hydroponics   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Water World
Chunky Monkey   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 2 pitches, 100'   Sunnyside
I Been Robbed   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch   Main Wall
The Wizard   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   Main Wall
Solar Power   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 40'   The Beach
Ecstatic Electricity   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Main Wall
Milanoma   5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 35'   The Beach
Blood Meridian   5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b     Sport, 40'   The Beach
Eclipse   5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   The Beach
Holeo An' Glassy Ass   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 40'   The Beach
Browse More Classics in La Milagrosa Canyon

Featured Route For La Milagrosa Canyon
Luis sending "The Wizard"

The Wizard 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a  AZ : Mount Lemmon (Santa Catalin... : ... : Main Wall
An outstanding route located in the round, amphitheater portion of The Main Wall. Thin ledges down low lead to a shallow dihedral and a large flake located below the anchors. Precise footwork on meager footholds will help alleviate some of the pump at several clip stances. The rock in this area tends to hold chalk even after a rain, so don't be surprised if you feel like the holds have already been "ticked". ...[more]   Browse More Classics in AZ

Photos of La Milagrosa Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
Rivers in Tucson!
Rivers in Tucson!
always a bummer to have to go home
always a bummer to have to go home
Alex Kirkpatrick demolishing the crux of No War (5...
Alex Kirkpatrick demolishing the crux of No War (5...
Agua Caliente
BETA PHOTO: Agua Caliente
clara at milagrosa.
clara at milagrosa.
view towards tucson
view towards tucson
on the road back to the car
on the road back to the car
BETA PHOTO: Introduction
The good times are just about over for this dude. ...
The good times are just about over for this dude. ...
view up canyon from the main wall
view up canyon from the main wall
nice light in the evening here
nice light in the evening here
Names are in the comments or at climbaz.com/climbs...
BETA PHOTO: Names are in the comments or at climbaz.com/climbs...
TR'ing one last lap
TR'ing one last lap
This scene is fairly common when leaving Milagrosa
This scene is fairly common when leaving Milagrosa
Since people have a tough time getting back there,...
Since people have a tough time getting back there,...
Waterfall - the pool is deep if your inclined to d...
Waterfall - the pool is deep if your inclined to d...
Lovely deproach
Lovely deproach
More waterfalls
More waterfalls
BETA PHOTO: Directions
Cholla along the trail, don't let your dogs eat th...
Cholla along the trail, don't let your dogs eat th...
BETA PHOTO: Acknowledgements

Comments on La Milagrosa Canyon Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 17, 2013
By Anonymous Coward
Mar 31, 2004
after a log day of climbing, there is also cliff diving into cool snow runoff
By Anonymous Coward
Nov 14, 2005
Some of the ratings in here are getting a little sandbagged as the holds get polished, the opening moves on the usual 5.8+ warm-up (valentine's something) are starting to feel more like solid 10a..watch out for loose rock even on some of the established routes..
By jbak
Nov 19, 2007
To characterize Milagrosa as "steep and hard" is misleading. I would say "vertical and fingery". Most of it anyway.
By lamina
Dec 7, 2007
Is Chunky Monkey = #33 "Unnamed 5.11" on the topo?
By jbak
Dec 8, 2007
chunky monkey is #32...5.11 with 5.10 approach pitch.

That topo is missing quite a few routes...2 at the oasis alone.
No Beach...No Oasis part II...none of the up-canyon routes.
By metrozen
Mar 8, 2008
I'll back up that one, jbak. Could definitely use a better topo. If you're into that sort of thing. If you can stomach the fun, just climb at Milagrosa and ask questions later.
By joshf
From: missoula, mt
Apr 21, 2008
Jbak, do you think you could post the rest of the routes in the comments for the topo pic? I personally don't know them all but i don't want people to miss out if there is something stellar not noted.
By jbak
Apr 24, 2008
Oh, I could try I guess. Most of the stuff not on the topo is just one-star stuff (except for the Beach and Hydroponics).
By DDriscoll
From: Tucson, Arizona
Apr 27, 2008
tucson select sport climbing guide here for miligrosa...
By Jon Ruland
From: Tucson, AZ
Jan 23, 2009
what type of rock is this? it seems like some kind of sandstone??
By Braxtron
From: ...
Feb 10, 2009
GPS coordinates for parking lot: 32.298214, -110.730766
for Main Wall: 32.299766, -110.710216
By 1Eric Rhicard
Apr 16, 2009
This area has a lot of routes with sections that allow you to step a little one way or the other and change the grade a little. You will know it when you do it as it will generally cause you to ask yourself or your partner if you are on the route. No big deal climb have fun it's a great area.
By Hendrixson
From: Tucson, AZ
Dec 11, 2009
Below is a link to the guide I've developed. Comments and suggestions are welcome. Hope you enjoy it.

Milagrosa Guide 1.11 Jan 21, 2010 (1.87MB)
By Joe Kreidel
From: Tucson, AZ
Dec 11, 2009
Wow, looks great! Thanks for putting in the time to put that together.
By eMurdock
From: Tucson, Arizona
Dec 12, 2009
Very nice topo! Here are some additions that might be helpful.
I thought Route 7 was rated about 10d by the FA.
Route 15 is better if you don't traverse left all the way to wide crack, but instead climb the thin finger crack on the right to the anchors on 14 (~10b).
I think Route 4 is harder than 5.6 but it might be the 5.9 corner further right.
Route 22 is 5.9 gear.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Dec 12, 2009
Nice job on those topos!!!
By Christian
From: Casa do Cacete
Dec 14, 2009
Nice work John!
By jbak
Dec 14, 2009
John, Blood Meridian was never called "Speak to Stone". Nice topos, looks like Vince's guide to The Dry.

Regarding "No War", where does the name "New Octobers" come from ? Scully ? Not Nate I'm sure. I'd be slow to upgrade it to 13d without
strong evidence from someone that climbs that grade often.
By Hendrixson
From: Tucson, AZ
Dec 23, 2009
Thanks for all the above input.

John, the names "New Octobers" and "Speak To Stone" come from Tyler McMillen's guide. Since you know the Beach as well as anyone I will remove the alternative names. I also downgraded "No War" to 13b/c.
By jbak
Dec 23, 2009
A (very) small bit of Beach history...Tyler bolted "No War" about the time of GWB's invasion of Iraq. The name was meant as a protest. Since I am a bit of a contrarian and a big fan of Cormac McCarthy, I thought I would slip a bit of the judge's campfire discussion into the name of the route next door:

The good book says that he that lives by the sword shall perish by the sword, said the black.

The judge smiled, his face shining with grease. What right man would have it any other way? he said.

The good book does indeed count war an evil, said Irving. Yet there's many a bloody tale of war inside it.

It makes no difference what men think of war, said the judge. War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting the ultimate practitioner. That is the way it was and will be. That way and not some other way.

But "Think of Stone" was a bit too vague, so I settled on the name of the book..."Blood Meridian" (2nd best book I've ever read I think).

Tyler was unable to red-point "No War" so he made it an open project and of course Nate stepped up and did it. So he re-named it "Just Cause" since, at the time, he supported the invasion. I couldn't believe he supported the war and his new name wrecked the effect (such as it was) of my name, so I talked him out of it. Since Nate doesn't really care much about route names (witness "Loose Stools" and "Nad Sacul" at the Dry !) he gave in. Eventually he reconsidered his support of the war too.

"New Octobers" may have something to do with a variation or a hold breaking or something. I don't know, so I was curious. I'm pretty darn sure it didn't come from Nate.
By Luke Bertelsen
Jan 1, 2010
Agreed on Blood Meridian. This is my all time favorite novel. Hard to really put into words. I must read it again soon. McCarthy is amazing.
By Hendrixson
From: Tucson, AZ
Jan 11, 2010
The guide has been updated to reflect information graciously volunteered by Mike Argueso.
By jbak
Jan 11, 2010
John, I hate to nitpick your guide but there are some errors that should probably be corrected so no one's feelings are hurt and so that climbing fun can be maximized.

It is customary for the first name in the FA list of single-pitch routes to be the guy that did the first flash or red-point. So Todd McG should be listed first on Eclipse, Pipeline, Milanoma and Holeo, not me. Oddly, Todd asked me not to use his full name online. He was worried about identity theft or something. It doesn't make sense, but I acceded to his wish. And... some secondary FA names got left off that really shouldn't be. If you care, you can check the details on MP or on my website. (On the MP Milanoma description, "T1" = "Todd McG"...back then we had two Todds, McG and Gangelhoff, and it was easier to refer to one of them as "T1" and the other as "T2".)

The other "error" is the description of the Beach as having "all-day sun". If that were true, then it would almost always be too hot to climb there. And it is true in Nov, Dec and Jan. But owing to the overhanging nature of the cliff and the fact that it faces SSE instead of south, it actually gets shade starting about 2pm in mid-Feb and earlier in Mar, Apr and May. That may sound trivial, but it really expands the climbable hours just by knowing when to go. March and April afternoons are primo. The Dry is similar, later in winter and spring it's warmer, but there's more shade so it's better. It faces SSE also.
By Luis Cisneros
From: Tucson
Jan 14, 2010
Great work John!!! and thanks man!
By Hendrixson
From: Tucson, AZ
Jan 21, 2010
The guide has been updated to reflect John's suggestions. For some reason I always thought FAs were listed alphabetically. I also starred a few of the classics.
By jbak
Jan 22, 2010
John, I got a chuckle out of your "Thanks" section where you said you owed a great debt to Tyler...He lifted his Milagrosa descriptions basically word for word from my old (and now removed) web pages. I don't care, and am not looking for "credit". It was just funny how he did that without even asking me. That's life in the little inbred world of Tucson climbing.

John Baker
By Alexanderswiderski
From: Portland
Jun 18, 2011
Is Milagrosa open this summer in loud of all the fire danger closures? Any information would be appreciated. Thanks
By steve richert
From: San Diego, CA
Jan 29, 2012
Hi everyone- I am going to be in the area around mid Feb as part of a project I am doing to raise awareness for type1 diabetes by climbing every day for 365 days and I would like a little beta on the area if someone would be able to drop me an email steve@livingvertical.org I would REALLY appreciate it!

It would just be my wife and I, nothing major or obtrusive--we just are looking for places to climb that will have favorable weather at this time of year and we are going to be in the area hosting an event at a gym in Flagstaff so it makes sense logistically for us.


Steve Richert
By Hendrixson
From: Tucson, AZ
Feb 27, 2012
The guide I put together is now available on boulderingtucson.com. Here is the link:

By Christian
From: Casa do Cacete
Feb 17, 2013
The rock is pretty soft there and a couple of years ago my climber pulled off a huge block on "Send It" that came out from behind a hold that had been pulled on for a decade. Watch your climber so you have time to react if something like that does happen.
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