Pontatoc Ridge rising above the the east side of Pontatoc Canyon. November 2012.
Close to Tucson the Pontatoc Ridge Trail #411 climbs quickly/aggressively up Pontatoc Ridge with great views of Tucson, the dramatic cliffs and formations that make up Finger Rock and Prominent Point and the Pontatoc Cliffs!
Bighorn Sheep Restrictions: January 1 to April 30: Travel more than 400′ off of designated Forest Service Trails is prohibited. All year: Dogs are prohibited (except for seeing-eye dogs and handi-dogs), the maximum day use group size is 15 and the maximum overnight group size is 6.
Pusch Ridge Wilderness: Motorized and mechanized vehicles and equipment, including mountain bikes, are not permitted in Wilderness.
Cross the road and walk north, several signs mark the beginning of the trail just after the entrance to a gated community.
The trail climbs a short hill to a signed junction [Waypoint pc-fr] – take a right (left for the Finger Rock Trail) – the trail wanders thru the desert towards Pontatoc Ridge crossing several washes.
0.7 miles, 3250′: Cross Pontatoc Canyon [Waypoint PT01] (there are a number of wash crossing before crossing Pontatoc Canyon) – the trail begins to climb steeply.
0.8 miles, 3450′: Signed junction [Waypoint pr-pc] – take a right (left for the Pontatoc Canyon Trail) – in a few more minutes there is a nice rocky area just off the trail is a good spot for a break with nice views over Tucson [Waypoint PR02].
The trail continues to climb – at 1.4 miles, 3550′ [Waypoint PR03] walk up a section of rocky slab – there are often several cairns to help you find the trail.
1.9 miles, 4100′: Saddle – great views! [Waypoint PR04]
2.0 miles, 4200′: A few minutes after the saddle stay to the left as a very well-worn route splits off to the right – the route to the right is an unofficial route up to the top of the ridge. [Waypoint pr-pd]
A sign marks the end of the official trail [Waypoint prend] – there is an obvious unofficial trail beyond the sign that will take you towards an old mining area (use caution/good judgment traveling off trail and around old mine works).
At the sign marking the end of the official trail. January 2014.
Portions of the trails in the Pontatoc and Finger Rock Canyons may be part of the network of trails built by Francis Knagge and his family to give their cattle access to more land for grazing – one of their camps was near the end of North Alvernon Way.
Snow and Frost on the Prickly Pears on a cold winter day. February 2013.