Hiking Frog Mountain (Babad Do'ag)
Catalina Mountains Travel Blog› entry 5 of 21 › view all entries
Babad Do'ag is a Tohono O'ohdam word meaning 'Frog Mountain', Babad Do'ag was the traditional name the Tohono Indians gave the Catalina Mountains. It is located along the most scenic and only paved road leading up to the top of Mount Lemmon. The trek up to Babad Do'ag vista is a challenging one especially through the boulder filled wash basin below the vista that Steve chose as our beginning point. To get to the starting point of the hike, we took Tanque Verde Road east to the Catalina Highway and followed the highway to the base of the Catalina Mountains, where the road starts to climb. Instead of taking all 8 cars, we decided to car-pool in two cars and park the rest at Le Buzz. From there, it was 2.6 miles to the Babad Do'ag overlook point, where we parked the two cars we had car-pooled in.
Babad Do'ag is rated a B2 hike, this is an intermediate hike. Its about a 4 mile hike and took about 4 hours to hike through huge boulders. Babad Do'ag head trail is about 2.6 miles up the Catalina Highway: we scrambled up the boulder filled canyon and took a rest at the waterfall. We then had a pleasant ramble up the ridge takes you to a knoll at 4,700 feet. This high point is 1,150 vertical feet above the 3,550-foot trail head. As with the last 4 night hikes I have been on, my friend Joe has faithfully been the designated driver to Sabino Canyon and tonight to the Catalinas where the hike began.
Instead of beginning the hike ordinarily by piddling along the highway for a while and then to the canyon side, Steve (Mr.X) decided he had a surprise in store for us: we began the hike from the Canyon basin below the trail. The basin is filled with large boulders and steep climbs created by the movement of water through the basin during the monsoon months.
At the base of the waterfall we found resting and stopped for a while to replenish lost water and snack in preparation for an almost 65 degree climb to the trail head where a post marking the end of the trail is displayed. In the night, everything is a little bit more difficult (especially in the desert where the plants can be more dangerous than the animals). A few of the hikers got prickly stuff on their clothes while I got my knee bruised after slipping and hitting my knee on a sharp stone the last quarter mile to the trail head. I do not know if hiking Blacketts made a difference in my stamina levels, but I seemed to be more confident hiking Babad Do'ag and less exhausted at the end of the 4 and a half hour hike.