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Alamo Springs to Ridge Crest Peak, AZ

no permit
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Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson NW
3.3 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,680 feet
Elevation Gain 1,558 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,754 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 14.27
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
6  2015-10-27 The_Dude
3  2014-05-09 azdesertfather
16  2008-03-08 fricknaley
Author fricknaley
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 383
Photos 3,724
Trips 2,743 map ( 18,146 miles )
Age 43 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Nov, Jan
Seasons   Late Autumn
Sun  6:09am - 6:28pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
superior display of saguaros
by fricknaley

2013 Route Modification Access is now from the Ritz.

Ridge Crest Peak is the distinctive pyramid-shaped peak in the Tortolita Mountains, the high point of the south wall of Wild Burro Canyon. You can see it from all over Tucson, and I have been staring at it for years wondering if, when and how I'd get up there.

Take off from the common Wild Burro Trailhead and go through the hikers gate. Drop down into the wash. This is Wild Burro wash. There is a signed, maintained trail or you can just take the wash. It doesn't matter, your objective is the interior of the Tortolitas via Wild Burro Canyon. The wash passes through a yet uncompleted golf resort. Nothing special with this part of the hike...just make hay to the canyon. There is some nice desert vegetation along the way.

At 1.3 miles you enter the canyon and come to signed intersections for multiple trails into the Tortolitas. For this hike hang a right onto the Alamo Springs trail. This beauty climbs rather briskly up the south wall of Wild Burro Canyon. At 1.5 miles the Lower Javelina trail breaks off to the left. Keep on the Alamo Springs trail and keep climbing. This trail will ultimately drop you off on the south ridge of the canyon and now you just cruise along this excellent trail as it winds along the ridge with periodic ups and downs. There are nice rock formations all along the way, and at the right time of year there are tons of flowers. As you go, you can see the Ridge Crest Peak looming before you. You're getting closer and closer. The saguaro display is superior. You're looking for a take off point from the trail to bushwhack to the top of Ridge Crest Peak. There is no correct way, but looking at a topo you can see where to go. At 3.5 miles from the trailhead, the trail breaks away left to a small saddle then drops down the other side towards the Alamo Springs. Just before this saddle is an ideal point to go for it.

Head towards the nearby gully and cross over it. Then head due south straight up the ridge. This is a somewhat brutally steep climb. The footing is pretty good though. Avoid the shindaggers and cholla. From the takeoff it's only about 1/4 mile to the summit. If you can hit the west slope that rides up east to the summit you are homefree. Scramble as necessary, you can generally see where to go. When you hit the ridge, you may pick up a trail that apparently comes up from the other side up the ridge (from Canyon Pass). If so, take it up 5 minutes to the summit, otherwise keep on grinding. The views from the top are sweet. The Catalinas are laid out like never before, a who's who of Pusch Ridge. The Tortolita interior is everywhere. Great looks at Picacho, Santa Ritas and the Tucson mountains abound. Baboquivari is in the background too. Be careful on the way down and just angle back towards the Alamo Springs trail...please study a topo map and consider a GPS for this desert peak. It's worth it.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2008-03-08 fricknaley
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Alamo Springs to Ridge Crest Peak
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I have been aiming for this one for about a month now, but autumn storms and some family plans have kept getting in the way. Not today! I got to the trailhead about 3:15 to start my hiking day. Nice weather conditions, but a bit toasty to start my hike. I did the Alamo Springs spur loop in CCW direction with the off-trail scramble out to Ridge Crest Peak. I saw a desert tortoise about a half mile up the Alamo Springs trail, always a good sighting! I took a little different track up to the peak, I was just using the standard path of least resistance. There were a few spicy moments, but for the most part this was a reasonable scramble. The worst part was trying to avoid the sharp ends of the Yuccas/ Cholla/ Prickly Pear/ Catclaw, there were a few points where I had to circle quite a bit to keep myself in one piece. i did manage to have one good Prickly Pear hit on my arm, spines and glochids that I spent some time removing, and then again when I got home...Views are great from the top, I could see as far north as the Superstition Ridgeline, of course the Catalinas were up front and center. After a short break up top exploring around, I started down teh south side of the peak and was surprise to see some trail! There is even a sign up there, apparently there is a loop from the east side that I did not know about. I followed this trail down a bit, and then cut back over to Alamo. I headed north again, and then made my way back by the Alamo Spur and Wild Burro trails. There was some nice golden color out here thanks to the Turpentine (Ericameria laricifolia), Dogweed (Thymophylla pentachaeta, gotta love that.), and Senecio. There was just a few wisps of clouds out on the western horizon, made for a fantastic sunset out in the desert. Made it back to the van only having seen one other person all hike, and that was about 5 minutes from the start. Another great day in the Tortolitas. I beat last year's mileage total with this hike, and I still have two months left in the year...woo hoo!
    Alamo Springs to Ridge Crest Peak
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Finally got this one in. Nice, warm day...lots of gnats out there! But great views. Dig the Alamo Springs loop while I was out there.

    Nice surprise to discover that this peak is part of the Canyon View Trail 2.5 mile loop, that comes off of Canyon Mountain Drive. I posted pictures of the sign at the top.
    Alamo Springs to Ridge Crest Peak
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I've been eyeing this peak for years, so I'm happy I finally found a way up it. This is a great, steep bushwhack.

    Today was overcast and perfect for peakbagging. There are tons of lupines, chicory and fiddlenecks. Brittlebush are just starting. There are scattered poppies as well. The Tortolitas are very nice once you get in there.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Wild Burro (Ritz) Trailhead
    From I-10 in north Tucson take Tangerine Road exit (#240) and head east. In about 5 miles the 1st stoplight you come to is Dove Mountain Blvd. Take left here and follow the road roughly 4 miles around the west end of the Tortolitas. Just past The Gallery is a small well-signed trailhead for Wild Burro Trail. This is on your right.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 104 mi, 1 hour 37 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 20.6 mi, 27 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 248 mi, 3 hours 43 mins
    3 pack - loud whistle
    safety first
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