Pusch Ridge Wilderness Bypass

Sign along trail Location:  Gordon Hirabayashi Trailhead to Oracle Ridge Trailhead

Length:  21.6 miles

Southern Trailhead:  Gordon Hirabayashi Trailhead
- GPS Coordinates:  32.33581° N, 110.71972° W
- Access: Follow Tanque Verde Road east from Tucson and turn left (north) on the Catalina Highway. Drive about 9 miles and pass Molino Basin Campground. Continue 1.7 miles beyond the campground and take the left (west) turn to Gordon Hirabayashi Campground. Drive 0.3 miles to a parking area. Follow a trail out of the south end of the parking lot for 40 yards to reach a T intersection with the AZT.

Northern Trailhead:  Oracle Ridge Trailhead
- GPS Coordinates:  32.45134° N, 110.75501° W
- Access: From Tucson, head north on Catalina Highway high into the Santa Catalina Mountains toward the town of Summerhaven. After passing Loma Linda Picnic Area and just before the road to Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley, turn northeast (right) on FR 38 (Mt. Lemmon Control Road). Pass the Fire Station on the east (right) side of the road and follow the dirt road a short distance downhill. Look for the trailhead for Oracle Ridge on the west (left) side of the road where there is space for a few passenger vehicles.

Trail Route Description:  The Pusch Ridge Wilderness Bypass is an alternate route for trail users to avoid the wilderness area. The ATA strongly recommends this route for equestrians so they can avoid the difficult northern section of passage 11 (Santa Catalina Mountains). This bypass is better than passage 11 for equestrians but is still a very dificult route.
From the Gordon Hirabayashi Trailhead the route goes across the Catalina Highway and then follows the Bug Springs Trail. Then it goes on the Green Mountain Trail to the Incinerator Ridge Trail, and then on the Butterfly Trail. It joins the Crystal Spring Trail which ends on the Control Road. This road takes you to the Oracle Ridge Trailhead and the end of the bypass.

Difficulty:  Moderate to Difficult

Season(s):  All year. Snow can be present at higher elevations after winter storms and lower elevations can be quite warm in summer (current weather forecast)

Water:  Water may be found at Novio Spring, Crystal Spring, and Green Spring.


  • All water along this passage should be purified prior to use.


  • USGS Topographic Maps: Agua Caliente Hill, Sabino Canyon and Mount Lemmon.
  • Coronado National Forest map.
  • BLM Information Center maps.

For more information, contact:

Current Trail Information:

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