superior display of saguaros
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.
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.
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.