Pusch Ridge towers over Tucson and the surrounding desert as one of the most prominent features of the Santa Catalina Mountains. With its lower slopes dotted with cactus and its upper reaches dark with pines, this unmistakable landmark makes the point in no uncertain terms that this is a land of extremes–in biodiversity as well as topography. Within the 56,933-acre Wilderness, elevations range from 2,800 to 8,800 feet. Deep canyons separated by razorback ridges crease the slopes; rocky bluffs and pinnacles define the horizon. From the floor of Sabino Canyon to the upper slopes of Mt. Lemmon, life zones vary from Sonoran desert to subalpine forest. The wildlife community that inhabits such a varied setting is diverse as well. Black bears and coatimundis, Stellers jays and cactus wrens, saguaro cactus and Douglas-fir can all be found here as components of a natural diversity that has few rivals. An extensive trail network offers opportunities for day and extended trips into this fascinating area. While its convenient location makes Pusch Ridge Wilderness easily accessible to a growing number of nature lovers, it also means the solitude and primitive surroundings many come to experience are becoming more difficult to find. When you visit this natural wonder, come ready to experience all of its contrasts, even this latter one. Come prepared to take special care of this irreplaceable resource. You’ll be glad you did.
At a Glance
Motorized and mechanized vehicles and equipment, including mountain bikes, are not permitted in Wilderness. Dogs are prohibited, except seeing-eye dogs or handi-dogs in the Bighorn Sheep Management Area portion of the Pusch Ridge Wilderness.
Pusch Ridge Wilderness is immediately north of Tucson.
Water is scarce here, but some high country streams flow year round. Purification of water is recomm
Santa Catalina Ranger Districts
Santa Catalina Ranger District 520-749-8700
Directions: Several trailheads are accessed from the north end of Tucson. The east side of Pusch Ridge Wilderness is accessible from trailheads along Catalina Highway. The west side of the Wilderness can be entered through Catalina State Park.
Soaring ridges, deep canyons. Sonoran desert to Canadian Zone diversity. Magnificent views, picturesque rock formations. Many trails, convenient access. Maps: Coronado National Forest Recreation Map (Safford and Santa Catalina Ranger Districts). USGS Quads: Mt. Lemmon, Oro Valley, Tucson North, Sabino Canyon. Trails in Wilderness: Marshall Gulch #3, Mount Lemmon #5, Romero #8, Lemmon Rock Lookout #12, Box Camp #22, Box Spring #22A, Sabino Canyon #23, West Fork #24, East Fork #24A, Esperero #25, Cathedral Rock #26, Bear Canyon #29, Sycamore Reservoir #39, Finger Rock #42, Wilderness of Rock #44, Soldier #53, Pima Canyon #62, Aspen #93, Ventana #98, Palisade #99, Pontatoc #410 \& Pontatoc Ridge #411. Please abide by Wilderness rules and observe NO TRACE! ethics.