You can’t miss Pusch Peak, which dominates the skyline above Oro Valley at the western end of the Santa Catalina Mountains, just north of Tucson. Pusch Peak, Bighorn Mountain, and Table Mountain form the Pusch Ridge, which in turn is part of the magnificently wild and rugged Pusch Ridge Wilderness.
All of these Pusch-es are namesakes of George Pusch, a German immigrant who showed up in Arizona in 1874, at 27 years of age and proceeded to establish the historic Steam Pump Ranch along the banks of the Canada del Oro beneath the north side of Pusch Peak.
Pusch Peak from the Linda Vista Trail
The best word to describe the hike to the top of Pusch Peak is “steep”. The route first follows the gentle Linda Vista Trail for a little over a half mile through a beautiful Sonora Desert bio-community, but then strikes up a hiker’s route towards the summit, which is relentlessly steep and very economic in its use of switchbacks.
This is a hike for those in good physical condition and you’ll have to work hard to get to the top, but it’s very nice up there. Not surprisingly, the views are great; my favorite is the view east along Pusch Ridge towards Table Mountain, Mount Kimball and the top of Mt. Lemmon.
Summit view: Pusch Ridge, Mt. Kimball and Mt Lemmon
Find the trailhead a few hundred yards east of Oracle Road on Linda Vista Blvd (3.1 miles north of Ina Road). The Linda Vista Trail consists of a network of loop trails. From the trailhead strike out southeast on the central, main trail segment for 0.57 miles where it connects with the outer loop trail. At the intersection turn left (east), and walk a short distance to a rusted, illegible metal sign which marks the intersection with a hiker’s route that climbs to the summit of Pusch Peak. Turn right (south) at the sign, onto the hiker’s route. The route is well beat in and continuously steep. The summit is reached about a mile and half past the metal sign.
Season: Fall, winter and spring. Summer heat on this hike can be dangerous.
Water: None. Bring plenty of your own
Difficulty: Difficult, a little over 4 miles round trip, with 2,700 feet of elevation gain. On the two mile segment from the trail head to the summit, the majority of this elevation gain occurs in the final 1.5 miles – steep hiking!
Note: Dogs are not permitted in this area.
Maps: Green Trails Santa Catalina Mountains; or National Geographic Arizona digital map software.
Click Map for larger image