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Pontatoc Ridge Trail

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Views of Tucson and Finger Rock, lots of switchbacks
Near:Tucson, AZ
Distance:4 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:1000 ft
Hike Time:2.5 hours
Trail Condition:OK, but a few difficult spots
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: The trail begins at the same trailhead as Finger Rock Canyon Trail. Shortly (within 50 yards) you'll come to a junction and you'll take the right trail up to Pontotac. At one time the Pontatoc Ridge Trail was called the Old Spanish Mine Trail. There are some old abandoned mines at the end of the trail. Be careful around these dangerous old mines if you happen to travel up to them. The Pontatoc Ridge Trail branches off the Pontatoc Trail about 0.8 miles from the trailhead. You'll climb out of the canyon and head up to the ridge top and to follow it north to Pontatoc Saddle. At the saddle you have great views of Tucson and the Santa Rita and Tucson Mountains. You'll also get a closer look at the Pontatoc Cliffs and the abandoned mine shafts.
Trailhead: Drive north from Tucson to Oracle Road (US 89) to Ina Road. Turn right (east) on Ina and drive about a mile to Skyline Road which branches off to the south (right). Follow Skyline (have to make a left to stay on Skyline) to Alvernon Way and turn left (north) to the trailhead and parking lot at the end of the pavement. (Lat:32.33705 Lon:-110.91053)
Trail Guides for Pontatoc Ridge Trail:
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Santa Catalina Ranger District - (520) 749-8700 -
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Sean Benesh, who has posted  21 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews  Page 1 of 3   Submit your own review
Reviewed by Diana on 10/9/2014
This hike is a great way to spend less than 3 hours. It has the rustic beauty and panoramic views of the city. In addition, I've seen gila monsters twice and then there's all the beautiful blooms when all is in bloom. It can get a little confusing at the upper 1/3 of the trail about where it leads. Follow the ducks and you'll find it.

Reviewed by JAR on 8/4/2013
fun hike. rocky, per usual haha. I took the ridge trail, and then took the unofficial trail over a couple ridge hills. got up to 5300 ft about. there wasn't really a trail for the very last part, and lot of shindaggers. saw 2 thin, fast snakes

Reviewed by AZDean on 6/13/2013
I was surprised at how beautiful this trail is, especially if you go all the way to the top of the ridge (which makes this a six mile hike and an elevation gain 2070 feet). The trail up the ridge is unofficial and not as clear as the regular part of the trail, but still quite doable. I've posted a Google Earth video and panoramic photos of the hike at:

Reviewed by DJM on 11/2/2012
I left the trailhead at 8:30 AM in mild conditions with jeans, gloves and 5 water bottles. It took 2 hours to get to the saddle overlooking Swan Road, stopping often. Temps got into the 80s by 10 AM. The Ponatoc-Finger Rock Trail and Ponatoc Ridge-Canyon Trail forks are well-marked. From the fork, the Ridge trail is flat to the nose of the ridge and then the trail goes uphill to the saddle. Saw a roadrunner on the flat part. I hiked 10 minutes past the saddle but turned back where an orange scarf was tied and didn't go to the end-of-trail sign. Returned to trailhead at 12:15 PM. It was vigorous exercise for someone my age (58).

Reviewed by Victoria on 12/3/2011
Cool city views, not as challenging as I thought it would be. The mines at the end are pretty neat!

Reviewed by S&T on 3/27/2011
Whew! Just returned from hiking this trail, and not even all the way. I have asthma and that first .8 mile was rough for me. It's beautiful back in there though and I'd do it again. Once you get to the Ridge trail, it's pretty easy. The parking lot says "Finger Rock trail", and the Ridge Trail isn't shown on the sign when you first take off, but it's off the main Pontatoc Trail. We saw lots of birds, and the ocotillo are just starting to bud. I'd advise taking a hiking stick. Great views of Finger Rock!

Reviewed by RCE on 10/28/2010
pontatoc ridge trail hiked 10/22/2010, this is an excellent hike, very nice views and never too steep, great for out of town guests, several different stopping points along the way with really nice views both down valley and across to finger rock canyon, we thought the little notch/pass at approx 4200' was an ideal stopping point with new views east toward ventana, beyond that the trail was not too exciting (unless you want to poke around the mines), cheers...

Reviewed by RCE on 10/28/2010
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Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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