This trail offers great views and plenty of evidence of mining activity left over from the days when the Santa Catalinas were the focus of extensive mineral exploration. At one time the Pontatoc Ridge Trail was even called the Old Spanish Mine Trail, but don't look for lost mines here. The reason these mines were abandoned is because they didn't pan out. Use caution around these dangerous old digs which can present a number of hazards for unsuspecting travelers or those too willing to take a risk.
The Pontatoc Ridge Trail branches south off the canyon trail about 0.8 mile from the trailhead. It then climbs to the ridge top and changes direction to follow the ridge north to Pontatoc Saddle. At the saddle you'll be rewarded with excellent views of Tucson lying at the foot of the Catalinas and stretching toward other mountain ranges across the basin. You'll also get a closer look at the Pontatoc Cliffs and see a trail that leads to the base of those cliffs. Take care if you follow this trail; or better yet, don't follow it at all. It takes a steep and rocky course above a precipitous cliff. Better to enjoy the views from the more solid footing of the saddle.
The Pontatoc Ridge Trail lies within the Pusch Ridge Wilderness. Motorized and mechanized vehicles and equipment, including mountain bikes, are not permitted in Wilderness.
Water can be found in some of the drainages along the trail during the wettest months of the year only. Purification of water is recommended prior to use.
Directions: From Tucson, Drive north on 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.
The Pontatoc Ridge Trail branches south off the canyon trail about 0.8 mile from the trailhead and climbs to the ridge top and then north to Pontatoc Saddle.
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