Anchoring the far western extreme of the San Catalina Mountains is Pusch Peak. This peak sits up behind the city of Tucson, on the north end of town, rising above the Oro Valley as a distinctive pyramid from the south. The peak is a stunning high point of the magnificent, rocky Pusch Ridge. Views from the top of Pusch Peak include nearby Bighorn Mountain and Table Mountain, as well as more distant Mount Kimball and Mount Lemmon. Additionally, the visitor can take in views of the Tucson metropolitan area. Baboquivari pokes onto the far western horizon while from some parts of the mountain, the broken volcanic summit of Picacho Peak can be seen to the northwest. To the south rise the Santa Ritas, easily recognized by the pointed bulk of Mount Wrightson and neighboring Mount Hopkins.
That this mountain is so accessible, so close to town, yet provides such a healthy dose of wild country is simply amazing. Right here in the northern edge of Tucson, the Pusch Range Wilderness harbors a herd of Bighorn Sheep. More amazing yet is that a well-worn, if steep, social trail ascends the peak from the northwest, making this rugged little mountain surprisingly accessible. All the chaos of the city melts away as you ascend the canyon to the slopes of Pusch Peak. The wide-open, rocky summit provides the perfect place to lounge around, enjoying the desert views.
Arizona Rank: 2715th highest peak
Prominence: 861 feet
USGS Quad: Tucson North
Planning Map: Green Trails No 28865 Santa Catalina
Rank & Prominence Information: Lists of John
Pusch Peak sits in Pima County, Arizona, in the northern suburbs of Tucson. It is an incredibly accessible peak, sitting only about 3 miles as the crow flies from the intersection of AZ Hwy 77 and Ina Road. The nearest interstate is I-10. This peak can be reached by passenger car on paved roads.
There is plenty of red tape in this part of the Coronado National Forest. Pusch Peak sits within the 57,00 acre Pusch Ridge Wilderness, and all standard wilderness rules apply (no motorized use, maximum group sizes, overnight permits required and such).
To protect Bighorn Sheep, dogs are never permitted and the special Bighorn Sheep Management Area, which includes Pusch Peak and this area is subject to seasonal closures to human access for lambing season.
Camping & Lodging
| Front-country National Forest type camping does not exist in this suburban setting immediately surrounding Pusch Peak. |
The Peppersauce Campground sits about six miles southeast of the town of Oracle on the north slopes of Mount Lemmon, or 40 miles out of Tucson.
The Santa Catalina Ranger District operates several campgrounds along the Santa Catalina Highway to Mount Lemmon. These are (in distance up the highway from the valley):
• Molino Campground
• General Hitchcock Campground
• Rose Canyon Lake
Backcountry camping is available by permit only and limited to parties of 6 overnight.
The proximity of Pusch Peak to the Tucson Metro area means lodging options are virtually unlimited. Visit the Trip Advisor site covering Tucson, AZ, for more information about area accommodations.
Weather & Seasons
|*Though the higher reaches of the Santa Catalinas see the winter mountain conditions one would expect for the season there is a small ski resort on Mount Lemmon!), the relatively low elevation of Pusch Peak means a visit to this mountain (especially the lower reaches) would be most comfortable in the fall, winter or spring.
*Summer temperatures in this part of Arizona desert can be worse than uncomfortable; they can be downright dangerous!
*According to the United States National Weather Service, the record high temperature for Tucson, Arizona, set on 26th June 1990, was 117 degrees Farenheit / 47 degrees Celsius.