I’ve previously hiked the Pontatoc Ridge trail, so this time I thought I try out the regular Pontatoc trail that continues up the Pontatoc canyon. The canyon is one of the more beautiful of the Catalina mountains in part because the Pontatoc ridge is so amazing. It’s also amazing how once you leave Tucson and climb higher into the mountains the more it seems you’ve entered another world altogether.
The only issue with this trail is that it comes to an end a bit too short. It ends at the confluence of two washes and since you are inside the canyon, the view is a bit limited. I chose to continue on up the left wash and then East up to the ridge that lies between the two washes. This gave a nice view but there was no trail that I could see. However, on looking at Google Earth more closely, it looks like there is a faint trail that starts on the wash to the right and goes more directly up the ridge. Also note that the map posted at the trail head (shown below) shows the trail going farther, so maybe I just missed the trail. Does anyone know more about this?
The hike was a 6 mile round trip and I climbed up 1760 feet above the parking lot. Here is the Google Earth video of my hike (full GPX file available here):
And here is the Google Earth profile of the hike:
This is the map posted at the trail head:
And here is the iPhone video I took:
And these are the photos I took (starting with a panoramic view of Pontatoc ridge itself):
Next is a pile of rocks I came across near the top of my hike on the ridge. Clearly, other people had been here before:
And this is the panoramic view from the ridge:
This is as I came back down, after the sun had climbed higher in the sky: