The Mountains of Arizona

Ringtail Ridge

Partway up Ringtail Ridge, a look at Golden Gate Mountain. The little lump of hills to the left is Peak 3084

Summit rock, Ringtail Ridge

The ridge of Ringtail Ridge, looking at Golden Gate and Bren Mountains. The Yetman Trail comes through the pass between them

A zoom image looking south at Cat Mountain, Little Cat Mountain and Bobcat Ridge. The Santa Rita Mountains rise in back

Descending now, the brushy middle section between the desert flats and the ridge itself

Ringtail Ridge highpoint is the pointy peak to the right on the high skyline

Now ascending Peak 3084, a rare saguaro-solar eclipse

From the top of Peak 3084, the line of peaks I have climbed: Ringtail Ridge, Bobcat Ridge, Little Cat Mountain and Cat Mountain

North view, Wasson Peak

Looking west. Baboquivari is the pointed peak in the distance. The hump peak in the middle is Coyote Mountain

Peak 3084 from where I parked

All images

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Tucson Mountains Redux

Ringtail Ridge • Peak 3084

This was the second time in a week I was back in the area. Last weekend, I hiked Little Cat Mountain and Bobcat Ridge. This got me motivated to study a couple more peaks in the immediate area, Ringtail Ridge, which lies north of Bobcat Ridge, and Peak 3084, a small peak lying on the flats west of the main clump of peaks. I intended to hike both Ringtail Ridge and Peak 3084 on the same day, but various timing delays put me back about an hour, so I saved Peak 3084 for a couple days later.

Ringtail Ridge
• Tucson Mountains
• Tucson Mountains Park
• Pima County

Date: November 4, 2022 • Elevation: 3,520 feet • Prominence: 340 feet • Distance: 4.6 miles • Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes • Gain: 1,170 feet (gross) • Conditions: Sunny, clear and slightly cool


I was on the road before dawn, and two hours later, in Tucson as the sun was rising. It was a chilly morning, temperatures in the low 40s, the first actually cold day in the desert since March probably. Yesterday had been breezy and slightly stormy throughout much of the state. In Phoenix, it was just cloudy and cool with some sprinkles, nothing to get excited about. But today, there were no clouds and no wind, the storm simply gone forever.

I exited Interstate-10 onto Starr Pass Road and followed it west. The road curved a little more than expected and I realized I was on the wrong road. I followed the road to its end at a big Marriott hotel. It wasn't all a loss. I studied the area as there are a couple trailheads here, something to do for a future hike. I backtracked and got myself onto Anklam Road, which then merges with Gates Pass Road. I was on the wrong "Pass" road.

The road crests a saddle then drops steeply to the backside of Tucson. This is now the domain of the Tucson Mountains Park, and a little to the north, Saguaro National Park. Cresting the pass then descending down the other side is always exciting. The road is narrow with no guardrails. At the base of the decline, I eased into the small parking lot for the Yetman Trail, arriving here about 7:30 a.m., still in the shade and temperatures still in the 40s. I was the only one here.

I got suited up, the pack packed, locked the car and started walking. The Yetman Trail gains toward a pass between Golden Gate Mountain to the west and Bren Mountain to the east. Once at the pass, the trail continues southeasterly, losing about 310 feet. At about 1.2 miles from the trailhad, the trail meets another trail going due east (on an old property line). Then, not 50 feet later, another trail veers northeast. Up ahead was the pass connecting Bren Mountain to the left, and Ringtail Ridge to the right.

I followed this trail northeast, then east, then a little southeast, droppinggently about 40 feet to where it connected with another trail heading northeast toward the pass. These trails are not named nor maintained. They appear to be old vehicle tracks in some spots. Although not ostensibly part of the Tucson Mountains trail system, these trails see enough hikers to keep the tread beaten and the way clear. I never got off route, and one or two trail junctions were a little scant. I built one small cairn at one for when I egressed.

Now hiking northeast toward the pass, the trail finally starts to steepen. Up ahead is a jumble of rocks, small cliffs and gobs of saguaro cactus and heavy brush. The trail was sloppy in spots, but never difficult to follow. Soon, I was on the saddle between Bren and Ringtail. I had covered a little under 2 miles in about an hour so far.

A much scanter trail breaks from here, aiming east up Ringtail Ridge. This trail was sometimes easy to follow, and other times, hard to discern. There were plenty of small cairns that helped. A couple times I had to guess, but always got back on route within a minute. Up here, getting lost would be difficult as there isn't much room to move laterally.

The uphill grade here was gentle, almost flat. The trail hugged the north side of the ridge, then angled up to the ridge itself, occasionally passing through easy rock bands. I was at the summit after about twenty minutes from the saddle below. There is a cairn and a large strong box holding a register. I signed in, the first in a few weeks. Names went back decades. I guesstimate that this peak sees a visitor every two or three weeks when the heat is not an issue. Comments in the book suggested that this peak is also known as the Second Ridge, relative to another ridge to the north coming off Bren Mountain.

I spent about ten minutes up here. It was calm and pleasant, sunny and no breeze. It had warmed now, into the low 60s. The sun was still a little low in the southeast sky making photos that way difficult to come by. I checked out the top, a couple saguaro very nearly on the highest point. A rocky platform about thirty feet east of the summit cairn might be the highest point. Visiting both takes just moments.

I hiked down the same route. Once back onto the flats and to the Yetman Trail, I started to see other hikers, an older couple (i.e. about my age) and a couple ladies. That was it. Being a friday, traffic on these trails would be lower than on a weekend, which was partly my reason to be here today. I was back to my car a tad before 10 a.m.. I exited onto Gates Pass Road to its intersection with Kinney Road near the Old Tucson Studios. Peak 3084 rose up ahead. But I was on a timeline and needed to get moving, so I skipped Peak 3084 and would return a few days later...

Peak 3084

Date: November 8, 2022 • Elevation: 3,084 feet • Prominence: 404 feet • Distance: 2 miles • Time: 70 minutes • Gain: 432 feet • Conditions: Sunny, pleasant


Heading back toward Phoenix, I was on the road early, by way of Tombstone and Benson, then westbound on Interstate-10. I timed my entry into Tucson at the heart of morning rush hour. The highway east of Tucson is just two lanes in both directions so it clogs up fast, today was no different. We poked along at 10 miles per hour, and sometimes, at 0 miles per hour. This was getting aggravating.

Rather than stew in traffic, I bailed off the interstate at Ajo Highway, and followed that westbound until the main snarl of the city was behind me. A few miles later I was at Kinney Road. I turned onto it, passing a few subdivisions, until I entered the Tucson Mountains Park. Peak 3084 rises to the west of Kinney Road, a lone outlier hill. The big wall of peaks — Golden Gate, Ringtail, Bobcat, Little Cat & Cat — rose opposite of Kinney Road. Poor Peak 3084 is like the kid not invited to the party. Ironically, it has higher prominence that Little Cat Mountain and Ringtail Ridge. But, it's often who you know.

There are pullouts along Kinney Road that make the hike very short, less than a mile round trip. But I did not want to be on Kinney Road itself. So I drove to Hal Gras Road, which branches off Kinney to the west, and north of the peak. There are camping spots along the road, but today, it was just me, and some shooters way off to the west somewhere. This put me a little under a mile north of the summit, but I did not mind the extra distance. I had a better view of the ridges from here anyway.

I started walking at 7:45 a.m., the day lovely, blue skies and cool, in the mid 60s for now. I entered into the brush and cactus, weaving as necessary, but often able to keep a bearing most of the time. Within minutes I came upon a maintained trail with tire prints on it. These hills and surrounding flats are popular with the mountain bikers. I followed the trail east to gain a low saddle southeast of Hill 2764.

From here, it was all off-trail trekking to the highpoiont, but the slopes lay back nicely. Brush was lighter, and there was never an obstacle to stop me or slow me down. It was just a matter of time, and soon, I was on top Peak 3084, a half-hour hike by my reckoning. The extra weaving probably pushed my one-way distance to a mile.

The views up here were very good, no clouds to haze things out. I took some images, but the sun was still high to the southeast so images from that direction were impossible. I did not find a register or cairn at the top. Nor did I linger. I just started back down, following the same route, except that I found an old track lower on the flats that I followed out, placing me about a hundred feet east of my car. By now, there were more cars parked and a few casual hikers out and about.

I needed to get moving, but along the way I took a look at Gates Pass Mountain, a rocky hill at Gates Pass itself. This was entirely spontaneous, no real plan. It looked short and fast. However, I kept running up dead ends, there being a trail every ten feet, and the ones I was on abutting rocks. I decided to bail, this hill being of no interest anyway.

It was now a matter of getting back to Tempe. The drive was fine. Every ten or twenty miles, traffic would pinch because of an "overside load" truck transporting something (it was wrapped in tarps). The object took up two whole lanes. We would be forced into the far left lane, which meant we had to slow as we all merged. Invariably, someone seemed too hesitant to actually pass the truck so they'd drive in formation slightly behind the truck, keeping us all held back. Other vehicles would get on the straggler's rear and compel the nervous nellie to get a move-on. There were a half-dozen such trucks on the way, all carrying the same big thing. I have no idea what it was.

(c) 2022 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience. .