Pusch Peak practice
For those of you who have done Pusch Peak, you know that it is an awesome hike, topping out at 5,361 feet with great views of the Catalinas and beyond. But what if you don't have time to pusch it to the peak? Or what if the trek to the top of Pusch is a bit much for you to take on due to the steep elevation gains? Then Pusch's Flatiron is for you.
I call this trip Pusch's Flatiron because the peak that you top out on below Pusch Peak is shaped on its north side in a way that looks amazingly like the Flatiron in the Superstitions (though a bit easier to get to!).
Although this peak (like Pusch Peak) can be reached by parking at the Calle Concordia trailhead or the Linda Vista trailhead, I will give directions from Linda Vista. Just keep in mind that the trail from Calle Concordia ends up merging with the one from Linda Vista about 0.75 mi into the trail from Linda Vista (at 32.37549, -110.95177) and just over halfway to the top of Pusch's Flatiron.
At the Linda Vista trailhead the trail splits. Take the trail to the left and you will begin to start a slow, gradual ascent toward Pusch Ridge. As you get farther, you will start following a drainage that will be on your left. Just 100 ft beyond the junction of the trails from Linda Vista and Calle Concordia, there is a rusted metal sign that marks a trail to the right that is a little more faint and starts heading up -- this is the trail up to Pusch Peak and to Pusch's Flatiron. This is also where the real climbing on the way up to Pusch Peak begins.
Although the trail isn't maintained, it is pretty easy to follow. There are a few little side trails along the way up, try to stay on the one that looks more well used. Oftentimes the other ones connect back into the main trail up to the peak, but there are a few that just go out a ways and just stop.
At just under 0.4 mile from the turnoff at the metal sign, you will see an intersection (32.37155, -110.94836). The trail to the left will continue heading southeast, a steep climb toward the top of Pusch Peak. The trail to the right you will see as you visually follow it will head off toward Pusch's Flatiron.
Once you turn right, you will actually descend a little bit. It will soon flatten out though and continue heading you toward the end of the flatiron. You will notice on the map that you actually start going west a bit, then start heading back toward the north as you approach the flatiron -- basically making a U-shape. Just before reaching the end of the flatiron you reach a flat area with a fire ring, apparently an unofficial camping area. The highest part of this flatiron is 4,000 feet.
From the flatiron you won't have the spectacular views to the east of the Catalinas, but you will have some pretty decent views of the ranges to the north, west and south, including the Tortolitas, Picacho Peak, the Tucson Mountains and beyond to the Santa Ritas.
Pusch's Flatiron only shaves only 1.2 miles off the round trip in comparison to the trip up to the top of Pusch Peak, but it gives you less than half of the elevation, at a total of about 1,275 feet AEG as opposed to 2,700 feet AEG you get going all the way to Pusch Peak.
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.