Pucker Ridge

Total Miles


1,379.72 ft


3.5 Hours

Technical Rating



Best Time

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Trail Overview

Pucker Ridge starts at 2,400' elevation and climbs ridgelines up to 4,600' elevation. It then drops back down another bunch of ridgelines to the beginning. There are some very unique attractions and great scenery along the way, including a Stone Corral, Indian Cave, Old Jail, and Mini Grand Canyon. It is a solid 4 rating and will offer challenges to novice drivers. The trail begins on US 60 near Boyce Thompson Arboretum, west of Superior, and is inside the Montana Mountain loop. The Mini Grand Canyon (right) is a slot canyon eroded through breccia. Breccia (BRET-cha) is a detrital sedimentary rock composed mostly of large, angular clasts. Breccia forms as streams transport grains, or clasts, only a short distance before depositing them within a stream channel or valley. Because of this short distance of transportation, the clasts have experienced relatively few collisions, and so still possess their original sharp edges and corners produced when they weathered from rocks in their source area. Breccia can also form from landslide masses that became fragmented as they moved downslope. Once such a mass stabilizes and solidifies, it can form a breccia containing huge, boulder-sized fragments. The matrix holding it together is fine sand or silt, cemented by secondary silica or calcite. This trail is easy enough to run in either direction, but we like to start with the walking attractions to get them out of the way early in the day while we are fresh. A counterclockwise loop. The stone corral must have taken quite a while to build, and there is a wing on it at least as big. The rocks stayed upright for many years as the concrete on top is new. The spur to this is on the left about a half mile before you turn off the Montana Mountain Loop. Old Jail? A friend showed me a 1994 photo of this structure showing bars in the windows. He had been told this was a jail, used as an overnight stop when transporting prisoners to the Territorial Prison in Yuma. This "cave" was described to me as possible Indian ruins. I doubt that is correct, but it is still very interesting. Contains a very small fireplace and chimney. After the Old Jail you will come to the Mini Grand Canyon. Be sure to start at the bottom end and walk up through it. Very unique for this area.A short distance after the Mini Grand Canyon you have a chance to hike to the Bat Cave. This will probably take an hour and involve a small bit of rock scrambling. Drive to the end of the road "Ridgeline Bat Cave" (included in the Minor Trails file) then hike down the small wash to a big wash. Hike down the big wash until you see the cave. Be aware that bat guano may contain spores of histoplasmosis, an infectious disease caught by inhaling the spores of the histoplasmosis capsulation fungus. Look that up if you are concerned. Now it is time to head for higher ground. The first significant climb is the namesake, Pucker Ridge. This will probably cause novice drivers to pucker a bit. Next, you will travel along ridgelines and climb toward a lunch spot at the high point of 4,600'.If you are feeling brave after lunch you can continue past the lunch spot and drop down a very steep hill called Disappearing Trail. Take a look to be sure you can make it back up before you start down. There is no other way out. What goes up must come down, so head home by dropping down the western leg and returning to where you started.

Photos of Pucker Ridge

Pucker Ridge
Pucker Ridge
Pucker Ridge


Challenging obstacles for novice drivers with rock ledges and off camber

Technical Rating


Status Reports

Christopher Griffin
Mar 25, 2023

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