Hike up Pontatoc canyon to the meadow - part 4
Pontatoc Canyon trail doesn't look like much from Tucson, but that's a false impression. It's a trail that starts at the Finger Rock trailhead, and instead of going straight up the mountain, you take a right for a ways, and then slant over to the northeast.
You will continue for a little distance, and you'll come to a sign where you'll have to make up your mind if you wish to hike up the ridge or up the canyon. Both of these choices are good choices, but in this case, I chose the canyon.
The trail starts at about 3,000 feet, and the trail ends before you get to the ridge up a couple thousand feet or so past the end of the trail. Nothing saying you can't just continue on up to the Finger rock upper trail, or go over to Ventana on the ridge.
This is my first attempt, in late January, and having started in the late morning, I was able to get about 2,500 feet up the canyon and about 2.75 miles one way, but there was still more canyon to go yet, so I'll probably come back another time when I can start eariler in the day.
That having been said, it was a nice hike, and lasted about 6 hours, which is respectable, and enough to get a little exercise anyway. On the previous year, I had hiked up the ridge trail, and it was a good hike.
When I turned around to go back about an hour before sunset, I was in a grassy meadow that was doing a nice job of hiding the actual trail. The trail appeared to meander over towards the base of the ridge to the right further up the canyon, and I believe that is where the "end of trail" sign resides.
There was a small stream flowing in the canyon and it made for several small waterfalls and pools along the way, but I suspect this canyon drys out pretty early in the spring.
There are lots of pretty panoramas most everywhere you look.
I think that some folks continue hiking on up to the ridge, and I think that would be a good hike also, and maybe a good backpack.
This hike is about 5.5 miles round trip, and it's all mostly uphill except at a short section, and it's about 2,400 feet up from the trailhead, where we turned around, but higher at the end of the canyon, but not much higher.
It's a nice hike, but it's a typical Santa Catalina trail level of ruggedness, so it takes a bit of work to get the trail hiked. Well worth the effort.
The day I did the hike, it was a nice day for a hike. Just a little cool, cloudy, and in the 60's. Very pleasant.
I took a sandwitch with my and ate it sitting on a rock up where I turned around.
It was not an especially difficult trail. The condition of the trail was actually pretty good overall, but in the meadow near the top, the weeds obfiscate the trail in many places. But there are orange ribbons in some places to help find the trail.
The hike is about a full day hike if you have lunch, and take pictures and look around.
The view to the south and east should be savored up at the summit.
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Last Update: April 14, 2017
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