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Bighorn Mountain - NW Approach - Pusch Ridge
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mini location map2015-11-13
17 by photographer avatarrvcarter
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Bighorn Mountain - NW Approach - Pusch RidgeTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hike & Climb avatar Nov 13 2015
Hike & Climb8.90 Miles 3,350 AEG
Hike & Climb8.90 Miles
3,350 ft AEG
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This hike/climb begins at Rams Field Pass, a subdivision in Oro Valley just off Oracle Road south of Catalina State Park. Turn east into the subdivision and take the left onto E. Broken Rock Drive and go about 1100 feet to just past the dyke (nearly to the circular turnaround). It is ok to park along the road. Head south along the east side of the dyke and follow the obvious trail southeast into and through the unnamed, winding canyon. Avoid the temptation to turn onto any of the other trails that frequent the area. Continue past the Cottonwood Tank (a little over a mile into the hike, at 12S 506953, 3584450) to a semi-waterfall/pour-off fed by a seepy spring that is the source of water for the tank. The trail from the tank to the waterfall follows along a 2 inch pipe that appears to no longer be in use. The waterfall (about 1.75 miles from the TH, at 12S 507216, 3583666) is the terminus for most people hiking in this canyon.
We climbed out of the wash southwest toward a ramp with several trees and bushes that appeared to offer an opening to the top. After some scouting and cliffing-out, we found a way around the cliff and after a sharp left turn (nearly south), headed more or less toward the top, picking a route between boulders, trees and cliffs. Although the going was steep and tough, it was never more than a high class 3 scramble. Finally at the ridge, we discovered we were only a couple hundred feet northeast of Bighorn and moved there for lunch.
Since we had left a vehicle at the Pima Canyon TH at the end of E. Mcgee Road, we continued out that way. Our plan was to find the steep gash off Pima Canyon Trail above the second dam and go down that. Most people going to Table Mountain go up and down that way, and it’s the shortest way back to Pima Canyon Trail. Unfortunately, we dropped down from Bighorn too soon and missed the top of the gash by over ¼ mile (and several hundred feet of elevation), so we decided to go southeast down the ridge along a route Frank and I had taken on a previous trip up to Table. Beware that the whole south side of Pusch Ridge is awash in shin daggers. Wear your gaiters (or chaps, if you have them).
Note that no dogs are allowed yearround and there are restrictions on most of this hike from January 1 to April 30 each year because of the Bighorn Sheep Restoration Project.
Check out my Instagram posts at "cartershift", and my Youtubes at my channel "roy v carter".
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