But not on the rock faces and cables, I was super careful up there. Picacho feels tall, yet the top of the Catalinas, Mount Lemmon, towers another 7,000 vertical feet above Picacho’s 3,000 foot crest. Enjoy the 360-views of the Sonoran Desert and take your photos. Local hiking expert, “Hiking Bob” Falcone has been a Colorado Springs resident for 27 years. If you weren’t using the cables’ assistance previously, then I would absolutely use them now. I was no worse for the wear, but somehow I also bent a car-key in my pocket in the process. I believe you can achieve anything when you have faith and resilience. Contemplating the harsh Sonoran Desert from atop Picacho, one cannot help but look to the Catalinas and dream of its crown of cool pine forests. There are five hiking trails at Picacho Peak State Park: Hunter Trail: Although this hike is under two miles, don't be deceived by the distance. It’s short but very steep 1.5 miles to the summit, and then back the way you came up. January 9, 2016. I thought it was easier to cross using the rock for holds. All Right Reserved. Before venturing out on a hike, stay safe with my suggestions for safe hiking:  Simple and Safe Hiking Practices for Every Hiker. For starters, generously hydrate yourself the day before and the morning of. The trailhead is on the north side of Barret Loop within the park. Barr Trail is the main route to hike Pikes Peak and the only trail that will take you to the summit. To the left, out of frame, is a noticeable drop off. Picacho Peak State Park is a state park surrounding Picacho Peak in Picacho, Arizona.The park is located between Casa Grande and Tucson near Interstate 10 in Pinal County.Its centerpiece spire is visible from downtown Tucson, a distance of 45 miles (72 km). As I climbed, I knew this standard trail would give way to a network of steep rocky inclines with the aid of cables. Trailheads fill with cars as hikers take to the network of trails in search of colorful wildflowers and endless vistas. I enjoyed the vista for a moment or two, and then pushed onward. King Canyon Trail. My photographs do no justice to the beauty I saw with my own eyes. How Long Does It Take to Climb Picacho Peak? I ventured up this steep, rugged path on a pre-dawn on a late March morning. From the top it looks like a boring trail. If you have severe knee pain or don’t have strong stability in your ankles, then this may be your turning point. A few factors determine the amount of time it will take to hike Hunter Trail. My younger siblings took the approach of sitting at the top and working their way down. There was one other car in the parking lot, but I saw no one on my ascent. The Arizona Trail (AZT) is a rugged, challenging 800+ mile thru-hike that stretches from the border of Mexico to the border of Utah, and is riddled with challenges such as extreme heat, freezing temperatures, snow, blowing sand, lack of water, consistent elevation change, and many stinging and poisonous critters. The descent is a different type of slippery, rocky slope than what’s experienced in the beginning. As you get closer to the saddle, you will start to notice a few steel cables along the trail, but you don’t necessarily need them. What sets this hike apart from most trails in Arizona is the system of cables, handrails, and bridges in some sections of the hike. At this same spot is where you can see the descent on the backside of the base. As I continued the hike, I came across cables that were simply guardrails on section of trail where it was absolutely unnecessary. I’ve done this hike where the duration spanned from 2.5 – 5 hours. Hours: Park is open 5AM – 10PM daily. Be sure to grasp the cables and take your time so that you don’t slip. Winter is NOT the time to climb Pikes Peak, but don’t take our word for it. If you need to take a break, there’s plenty of space to step to the side for water. We decided to hike to the top of beautiful views. Descending the east slopes, the sun was starting to warm the rock and the air into 70 degree weather, which made the ascending hikers look hot and sweaty. If this is your first time venturing out to Picacho Peak State Park (or hiking in Arizona), I made a list of some things that you should know. Pay attention to your footing since the ground is quite uneven. Picacho Peak, halfway between Tucson and Phoenix, is one of the best short hikes in the state of Arizona, and with the weather still cool and wildflowers in bloom, now is the time to get out there. Sunset in the “saguaro forest” at Picacho Peak State Park. I had a great time hiking Picacho Peak, but that extra walk in the desert sun, well, I think I would’ve preferred to do without that. Nobody was on the trail when we started or finished so we didn’t have to worry about the masks. I ventured up this steep, rugged path on a pre-dawn on a late March morning. Created By Lucid Themes. The trailhead for the Hunter Hiking Trail to Picacho Peak is located approximately 1.5 miles further into the park, at the top of the Barrett Loop (see downloadable trail map). You’ll pass through an open gate and approach the visitors center. While I prefer to start my hikes at the start of sunrise, I understand not everyone is an early bird. We enjoyed the hike and the flowers. All roads within the park are paved. I soon discovered the infamous cable network of Picacho. We went early at Picacho Peak State Park. Desert valleys stretch for miles in all directions, interrupted in the distance by the long ridges of neighboring mountains. The state park opens at 5:00am and the trails open at sunrise. Much of this hike involves climbing and holding onto rocks or cables. Fees: $7 per vehicle fee (1-4 adults). Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The key wouldn’t start the car, so I had to walk four extra miles round trip to our campsite and retrieve the extra set from my wife. From Phoenix, get on the I-10 heading East. Perhaps the most popular trail at Picacho Peak, the Hunter Trail gives the shortest route to the top. “How silly!” I thought. I met a nice couple from south Phoenix and exchanged suggestions for good hikes back in the city. I prefer to climb down the same way that I climb up, through rock climbing. Some park an RV in its campground and enjoy the views of jagged ridgelines and saguaro cactus. Be prepared with two litres of … I can't remember how long it took us but I think the hike finished at a little over an hour. Sunset Vista Trail: 6.2 miles round trip (3.1 each way) Hunter Trail: 2.0 miles one way (4.0 round trip) Calloway Trail: 0.7 miles one way (1.4 round trip) On the descent, back down the maze of rock and cables, I encountered other hikers, and much more frequently as I moved. Continue to follow the signs and painted rocks, and you will eventually reach the saddle! … Sticking up out of this flat desert are majestic rock monolith… Sonoran Desert National Monument It’s not too tough, offers great 360 views from Cuyamaca Rancho State Park to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and has a … You will climb a little over 1,100' in elevation on the 2.5 mile hike to Picacho Peak. The hiking took us 4 hours. Since we arrived before the visitor center was open, we just paid on our way out. Picacho Peak State Park. Again, I included my reasoning with each recommended item. Congratulations on hiking all the way to the summit!! If it’s cloudy, still lather on that sunscreen. "Two humans and two dogs climbed Picacho Peak on a sunny November day, 2016. The trail is challenging and requires strong arms to grip the cables on ascent and descent- gloves are highly recommended. For the average hiker with an understandable fear of heights, the cables must be a God send. But, I think if you did the vertical climb, then you can walk the plank. © Happily Pink 2016 | TRAIL STATS Distance: 4 Miles RT Type of Trail: Out and back Difficulty: Moderate to Advanced Elevation: 3,374 feet Kid Friendly: Varies (See tips below) Dog-Friendly: No Others glance over in awe as it towers above the parched desert valleys. Currently you have JavaScript disabled. Picacho Peak is one of the best spots to see wildflowers, with several easy hiking trails lined with vibrant yellow poppies from start to finish. Your email address will not be published. *Note: It is $7 per vehicle (up to four people), and $3 per additional person. We’re in the final stretch! Most are not too exposed, but where the rocks begin to cliff-up, the trail is fitted with wire-fences to prevent a slip during into a bone-crunching, life-threatening fall. Hunter Trail appeals to me because it’s short, challenging and fun! Depending on what time you arrive, you can park closer to the trailhead or down the street on the loop. So, you want to hike Picacho Peak? Don’t forget to take your trash with you! At the saddle, there’s a historical plaque where you can learn about the 1862 Battle of Picacho Pass– the largest Civil War battle in Arizona territory. Personally, I am more of an occasional hiker but I felt that my experience could help someone prepare for their first adventure to the top of the 3374-foot summit. From either direction, you will take exit 219 for Picacho Peak Rd. Since moving back to Tucson, I have gone up and down Hunter Trail with people of various fitness levels. Due to my height (5’0″), I struggle with holding the cables for this specific section. Without fail, the trail makes another break for the top, unleashing another string of cable-fed ascents. Picacho Peak State Park What: For a challenging, strenuous day hike, the park's Hunter Trail can't be beat.Hikers use both upper- and lower-body strength to navigate the vertical steel cables on the way to the peak. Another set of cables leading up an eroded crack. The trail is very well maintained and follows several switchbacks which will turn rocky as you get close to the peak. Now on the way back, people do tend to struggle with finding the right gripping– myself included. Required fields are marked *. I would like to add that there are a few different trails at Picacho Peak State Park, but I will only focus on Hunter Trail because that is the only trail I have hiked. I descended the first set of cable-lined rock with a wry grin, snapping a few photos along the way. The Stonewall Peak Trail hike is the most popular hike in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park for good reason. If you would rather hike around 10am, as opposed to 5:00am then I recommend hiking between late fall to early spring. Florence, AZ. In my list, I included my recommended attire and the reasoning: At only 4 miles, Hunter Trail is a relatively short hike. If this is your case, don’t expect to hike during the summer or late spring. Marana, AZ. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. Another attractions: The cacti is always there. The summit rises to 3,374 feet (1,028 m) above mean sea level. Take exit 219 and turn Right onto Picacho Peak Road. Built by Fred Barr over several years in the 1900s and re-done by the U.S. Forest Service in the late 50s, it provides a well-maintained route that takes you 13.5 mile to the top from its starting point in Manitou Springs. Little can grow natuarally in this arid land where the Colorado River struggles to avoid complete evaporation before entering Mexico and the Sea of Cortez. To be honest, I didn’t hike Picacho Peak until after I had graduated from college and was preparing to move to the East Coast. I would highly recommend this trail to anyone. When in season a beautiful wildflower is witnessed at the beginning of the trail. I should divulge the fact that I took a fall on this hike. Welcome to Happily Pink: a lifestyle blog with a focus on food, travel & fashion! My younger sister is 5’3″ and had no problem holding onto the cables. Its centerpiece spire is visible from downtown Tucson, a distance of 45 miles (72 km). Tens of millions of years ago, Picacho Peak and Newman Peak were connected by a continuous ridge of mountain tops. Almost every Arizonan has driven by the rocky crags of Picacho Peak along Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson. If you’re nervous about your speed and other hikers, then this may be another good reason to start earlier in the day. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. Hunter Trail is a 4-mile round trip hike to the top of Picacho Peak. It’s the very top of that big, imposing mountain, straight in front of you. Simple and Safe Hiking Practices for Every Hiker. Tucson, AZ. And then scraped my back on a rock. To the north is Newman Peak, of the Picacho Mountains. Those truly inspired by its beauty will exit the highway and enter into a little patch of desert called Picacho Peak State Park. The first leg of the hike will include sun, but once you’re on the other side, you get to stay in the shade. The scenery was enjoyed both by us and our cameras! We went out late in the day, so we only hiked out about a half mile, just over the top of the first little ridge into a little valley on the other side. This is another section where people can be intimidated. Picacho Peak State Park is located 70 miles south of Phoenix and 40 miles north of Tucson along Interstate 10. Hunter Trail, typically rated as difficult, begins on the north side (from Barrett Loop) and will take you to the top of the peak. The evening before I climbed Picacho, my wife and I took our dogs for a little hike on the Sunset Vista Trail. I’m Natalie, and my goal is to encourage you to seek out what makes you the happiest in life. I … The park is located between Casa Grande and Tucson near Interstate 10 in Pinal County. The signs will say 2 miles, but they lie. The thought of a 1,400 foot climb, in just two miles, can be daunting. Fitted or longer shorts: in case you need to slide down, Breathable sports bra and tanks: prevents overheating, Visor: unlike hats, visors don’t trap the heat to your head, High-rise socks: prevents grass, rock and dirt from getting trapped, Shoes with a grip: hiking shoes are not required, I usually wear my Asics, 2 liters of water: plan for more water if you’re starting in the late morning, Gloves: if you have sensitive hands or hike later in the day. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Picacho Peak is one of those mountains you just have to hike! We began our hike at the Hunter Trailhead. Early morning from the saddle along Picacho Peak’s Hunter Trail. Take a well deserved break … It’s short but very steep 1.5 miles to the summit, and then back the way you came up. @2018 — Mountain Tripper | Jake Case Photography. Perhaps the most popular trail at Picacho Peak, the Hunter Trail gives the shortest route to the top. Artists’ Paintpots Trail – Easy Hikes in Yellowstone... We Went There: Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde... Life is Peachy at the Schnepf Farms Peach... We Went There: Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well. I guess that’s just a little reminder that in every situation, even a simple step, care should be taken to avoid mistakes. It is a moderate hike, a constant ascent that totals at a 1100+ elevation gain over approximately two miles. Ten Dollars for Twenty Minutes of Awe at... Lenox Crater: A Sustainable Hiking Trail Design at... Field Guide to Arizona’s Sonoran Desert Wildflowers. Cables aid hikers in navigating a 45 degree slope. TRAIL DESCRIPTION Take in some magnificent views of the Tucson area with this challenging but worthy hike! Even though the trail is … It was a glorious morning with perfect 50 degree weather. … A challenging 3.2 mile hike where you hike up, then descend quite a distance, and ascend back up plus more. Not too far from the trailhead, on a normal part of the trail, a rock step gave way and slipped right onto my butt. The summit rises to 3,374 feet (1,028 m) above mean sea level. Carry one with you just in case. At this point your ascent begins with the cables. A few factors determine the amount of time it will take to hike Hunter Trail. You will see a sign marked “Hunter Trail,” and from there, your 4-mile hike begins! Length 3.2 miElevation gain 2099 ftRoute type Out & back I feel something can be less intimidating and easier to conquer if you can mentally prepare yourself in advance. Winter stuck around as long as possible this year, but a promising sign that spring is near has been cropping up all across Arizona. 2 h 7 m. Note: Dogs are not permitted beyond the saddle area, which is about halfway to the final destination (peak). Best Mirrorless Cameras: Landscape Photography Best Sony E-Mount Lenses Rokinon Samyang 12mm F2 Review Why I Switched to a Mirrorless Camera, Mountain Photography Colorado Plateau Photography Grand Canyon Photography Sonoran Desert Photography. We've passed Picacho Peak close to a hundred times in our time living in Tucson. It is 3.1 miles and circles around the backside of the mountain then comes up and connects to the Hunter trail avoiding a lot of the difficulties. Once the the final rock-and-cable climb is completed, the trail snakes its way up to a steep slope for a couple hundred feet until it attains the flat, rocky summit of Picacho Peak. Your email address will not be published. I stopped in my tracks as the morning sun crested the eastern horizon and illuminated the towering cliffs in warm light. Hike The first section takes you up steep switchbacks to the saddle. If you’re like me, you have probably passed Picacho Peak State Park several times, and thought about hiking to the top “someday.” Well congrats on finally turning “someday” to now! For an experienced adventurer that has scrambled on bare rock, these cables are a convenience, not a necessity. For extra balance, you can grip the cables for this first round. This is a difficult trail with steep inclines and steel cables, so gloves are recommend. Beautiful! Some pass it without notice. I know I sound like a big old wussy here, but, be warned: Picacho is not for the weak of heart. After you drive past the visitor center*, you will take the first left to Barrett Loop. Address: 15520 Picacho Peak Rd, Picacho, AZ 85241. Hunter Trail is roughly 4 miles round trip, and in this immediate section I will highlight the different parts of the trail. The signs will say 2 miles, but they lie. From the top of Picacho Peak On Friday, January 4, 2019, while staying at Picacho Peak State Park we climbed to the top of the famous Picacho Peak. You could turn it into a tough hike to the top if desired, but just about anyone could walk the half mile in and enjoy some classic desert views. The first park of the hike will take you to a scenic spot, … The trail itself starts at the southwest end of the mountain and traverses Picacho’s southern slopes before climbing the hillsides to connect with the Hunter Trail after 2.5 miles. I recommend beating the heat and arriving right before sunrise. This 4 mile out and back trail that takes you to the summit of Picacho Peak will not disappoint, especially if you're looking to get that adrenaline pumping. A palo verde tree blooms yellow during sunset along the Sunset Vista Trail. The view across the valley to Newman Peak was awe inspiring. The main reason why I recommend hiking earlier is so that your time is shorter. I was glad I had chosen an early start. Check out his site for more info. Picacho Peak via Hunter Trail is a 3.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Picacho, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. At sunrise, you will witness a beautiful sight of the sun slowly rising above the horizon. But even if you don’t have time to view the map (or forget), the road is well-marked and easy to navigate. The average time taken to climb Picacho peak is two and a half to four hours as a round trip. Disclosure: Mountain Tripper is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Below is how long it took my siblings and I to leisurely hike: With Picacho Peak State Park positioned along the I-10, it’s fairly easy to travel to the park from Tucson (30-40 minutes) or Phoenix (60-70 minutes). Dramatic views of the Picacho Mountains from the Picacho Peak Summit. The day temperatures during those seasons can easily exceed over 100 degrees. I hope you will enjoy this hike as much as I do! The views are worth it, but be sure to bring pletny of water and gloves! To the southeast, the Santa Catalina Mountains appear as a magic kingdom in the distance. Picacho Peak Sunset Vista Trail: 32.636917, -111.412611 Safety The hikes to Picacho Peak are not long, but they are strenuous, and if you allow yourself to become lightheaded due to dehydration or for other reasons, it can be dangerous in the steeper areas. Another friendly man greeted me as I ascended a cable-lined embankment, laughing in a self-deprecating manner as he kept a white-knuckle grip on the cable. They were so beautiful! The views are classic. In this post, I breakdown some of my tips and best practices. The 1.5 mile trail to the peak provides spectacular views of the Mesilla Valley and the Organ Mountains. But for everyone else who may want to turn around, collect your courage and slowly work your way down. Visitors traveling on I-10 in southern Arizona can't miss the outstanding 1,500-foot-high Picacho Peak State Park. A different type of slippery, rocky slope than what ’ s short, steep rugged! 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