I’ve done this hike where the duration spanned from 2.5 – 5 hours. We went early at Picacho Peak State Park. Another attractions: The cacti is always there. 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. Sonoran Desert National Monument Sticking up out of this flat desert are majestic rock monolith… We were treated to views of a “saguaro forest” to the west, with the sun setting over the mountains in the distance. A few factors determine the amount of time it will take to hike Hunter Trail. The summit rises to 3,374 feet (1,028 m) above mean sea level. 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. Picacho, AZ. Martinez Cabin. For extra balance, you can grip the cables for this first round. Hunter Trail is a 4-mile round trip hike to the top of Picacho Peak. 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. Hike The first section takes you up steep switchbacks to the saddle. Hunter Trail, typically rated as difficult, begins on the north side (from Barrett Loop) and will take you to the top of the peak. If you have to wait for people to pass, then naturally it will take more time. It’s the very top of that big, imposing mountain, straight in front of you. But for everyone else who may want to turn around, collect your courage and slowly work your way down. I was glad I had chosen an early start. Don’t forget to take your trash with you! Not too far from the trailhead, on a normal part of the trail, a rock step gave way and slipped right onto my butt. Wild Burro Trailhead. 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. We enjoyed the hike and the flowers. The park is located between Casa Grande and Tucson near Interstate 10 in Pinal County. Before venturing out on a hike, stay safe with my suggestions for safe hiking:  Simple and Safe Hiking Practices for Every Hiker. It is a moderate hike, a constant ascent that totals at a 1100+ elevation gain over approximately two miles. For the average hiker with an understandable fear of heights, the cables must be a God send. But, with the incline and climb, you should expect this to take you longer than flatter hikes. Even though the trail is … Again, I included my reasoning with each recommended item. 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. Florence, AZ. All roads within the park are paved. Take a well deserved break … Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. I’m Natalie, and my goal is to encourage you to seek out what makes you the happiest in life. 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. I recommend beating the heat and arriving right before sunrise. Welcome to Happily Pink: a lifestyle blog with a focus on food, travel & fashion! The distance to the top is 2.7 miles with an increase in elevation of 2,014. You will climb a little over 1,100' in elevation on the 2.5 mile hike to Picacho Peak. The base is a great intro to the rocky climbing that you will soon encounter on the other side of the base. We’re in the final stretch! I should divulge the fact that I took a fall on this hike. At this same spot is where you can see the descent on the backside of the base. Picacho Peak State Park is a state park surrounding Picacho Peak in Picacho, Arizona. 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. The state park opens at 5:00am and the trails open at sunrise. It’s not too tough, offers great 360 views from Cuyamaca Rancho State Park to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and has a … Continue to follow the signs and painted rocks, and you will eventually reach the saddle! The vertical climbing is easily my most favorite part of the hike! Disposable mask: if the trails are heavily populated then it is recommended to wear masks. Prepare to … 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. In this post, I breakdown some of my tips and best practices. Enjoy the 360-views of the Sonoran Desert and take your photos. Best months to visit are November to April as summertime temperatures are consistently over 100 degrees during the day. I descended the first set of cable-lined rock with a wry grin, snapping a few photos along the way. Local hiking expert, “Hiking Bob” Falcone has been a Colorado Springs resident for 27 years. We decided to hike to the top of beautiful views. Hunter Trail appeals to me because it’s short, challenging and fun! I stopped in my tracks as the morning sun crested the eastern horizon and illuminated the towering cliffs in warm light. It’s short but very steep 1.5 miles to the summit, and then back the way you came up. 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. 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. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. Others glance over in awe as it towers above the parched desert valleys. 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). For starters, generously hydrate yourself the day before and the morning of. Winter is NOT the time to climb Pikes Peak, but don’t take our word for it. Required fields are marked *. Nobody was on the trail when we started or finished so we didn’t have to worry about the masks. Due to my height (5’0″), I struggle with holding the cables for this specific section. Its centerpiece spire is visible from downtown Tucson, a distance of 45 miles (72 km). Desert valleys stretch for miles in all directions, interrupted in the distance by the long ridges of neighboring mountains. 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. To the southeast, the Santa Catalina Mountains appear as a magic kingdom in the distance. I thought it was easier to cross using the rock for holds. TRAIL DESCRIPTION Take in some magnificent views of the Tucson area with this challenging but worthy hike! Marana, AZ. The evening before I climbed Picacho, my wife and I took our dogs for a little hike on the Sunset Vista Trail. 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. If this is your case, don’t expect to hike during the summer or late spring. As I continued the hike, I came across cables that were simply guardrails on section of trail where it was absolutely unnecessary. *Note: It is $7 per vehicle (up to four people), and $3 per additional person. My younger sister is 5’3″ and had no problem holding onto the cables. Your email address will not be published. A challenging 3.2 mile hike where you hike up, then descend quite a distance, and ascend back up plus more. Check out his site for more info. This is a great spot to hydrate with more water, and even replenish your energy with a snack like an orange or protein bar. Enjoy the view as you walk along the paths that lead up to the summit, and often in the spring on a sea of wildflowers. 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 Created By Lucid Themes. To the north is Newman Peak, of the Picacho Mountains. And if you’re taller than me, you’ll be fine. I met a nice couple from south Phoenix and exchanged suggestions for good hikes back in the city. Hunter Trail is roughly 4 miles round trip, and in this immediate section I will highlight the different parts of the trail. And then scraped my back on a rock. You will see a sign marked “Hunter Trail,” and from there, your 4-mile hike begins! 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. My photographs do no justice to the beauty I saw with my own eyes. Ten Dollars for Twenty Minutes of Awe at... Lenox Crater: A Sustainable Hiking Trail Design at... Field Guide to Arizona’s Sonoran Desert Wildflowers. Be sure to grasp the cables and take your time so that you don’t slip. Some pass it without notice. Sunset in the “saguaro forest” at Picacho Peak State Park. I prefer to climb down the same way that I climb up, through rock climbing. The summit rises to 3,374 feet (1,028 m) above mean sea level. 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) I … But not on the rock faces and cables, I was super careful up there. Winter stuck around as long as possible this year, but a promising sign that spring is near has been cropping up all across Arizona. 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. I ventured up this steep, rugged path on a pre-dawn on a late March morning. © Happily Pink 2016 | If you would rather hike around 10am, as opposed to 5:00am then I recommend hiking between late fall to early spring. Picacho Peak is one of those mountains you just have to hike! Cars speed by on Interstate 10 below, looking like box shaped ants rolling along the desert floor. We had heards that the flowers had been opened. The main reason why I recommend hiking earlier is so that your time is shorter. The trail is very well maintained and follows several switchbacks which will turn rocky as you get close to the peak. 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. We began our hike at the Hunter Trailhead. But, I think if you did the vertical climb, then you can walk the plank. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from September until May. Take exit 219 and turn Right onto Picacho Peak Road. Be prepared with two litres of … I included a link to the park’s map, in case you’d like to familiarize yourself. Soon the trail returns back into an ordinary, simple dusty trail leads up and down the rocky hillside. I guess that’s just a little reminder that in every situation, even a simple step, care should be taken to avoid mistakes. Perhaps the most popular trail at Picacho Peak, the Hunter Trail gives the shortest route to the top. 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. If you weren’t using the cables’ assistance previously, then I would absolutely use them now. It was a glorious morning with perfect 50 degree weather. 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. We could see the flowers. Pay attention to your footing since the ground is quite uneven. 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. You’ll be able to see the peak on the south side of the highway as you get closer, and you’ll also notice signs for Picacho Peak State Park. Another set of cables leading up an eroded crack. I was no worse for the wear, but somehow I also bent a car-key in my pocket in the process. The trailhead is on the north side of Barret Loop within the park. The Stonewall Peak Trail hike is the most popular hike in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park for good reason. Without fail, the trail makes another break for the top, unleashing another string of cable-fed ascents. 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 signs will say 2 miles, but they lie. My younger siblings took the approach of sitting at the top and working their way down. The signage to the park is visibly marked and easy to locate. Within the hour I made it to a saddle between the summit and a high point on the ridge to the north. To the left, out of frame, is a noticeable drop off. Since we arrived before the visitor center was open, we just paid on our way out. The reason why this varies so much is because on a busy day you will more than likely have to wait for other hikers to climb up before you can so there might be a bit of … Visitors traveling on I-10 in southern Arizona can't miss the outstanding 1,500-foot-high Picacho Peak State Park. 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). The trail is challenging and requires strong arms to grip the cables on ascent and descent- gloves are highly recommended. You’ll pass through an open gate and approach the visitors center. I’ve done this hike where the duration spanned from 2.5 – 5 hours. I enjoyed the vista for a moment or two, and then pushed onward. 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! Picacho feels tall, yet the top of the Catalinas, Mount Lemmon, towers another 7,000 vertical feet above Picacho’s 3,000 foot crest. 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. … 5:30am Began hike at the trailhead of Barrett Loop, 6:07am Reached the saddle and first major set of cables. This is another section where people can be intimidated. Early morning from the saddle along Picacho Peak’s Hunter Trail. While the hike is frequently labeled as difficult, it is still doable. 2 h 7 m. Note: Dogs are not permitted beyond the saddle area, which is about halfway to the final destination (peak). Picacho Peak is a large lava flow. Carry one with you just in case. All Right Reserved. Instead, I prefer to rock climb to the top. You can see your destination, as you start up the Hunter Trail at Picacho Peak State Park. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. 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. The descent is a different type of slippery, rocky slope than what’s experienced in the beginning. Currently you have JavaScript disabled. 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. The trail to the summit is well marked and maintained. If you’re nervous about your speed and other hikers, then this may be another good reason to start earlier in the day. The signs will say 2 miles, but they lie. Where is Picacho Peak State Park? February through early April offers the … 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). Artists’ Paintpots Trail – Easy Hikes in Yellowstone National Park, Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/4-5.6 R – Telephoto Lens Review, Olympus M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II R Lens Review, Best Fujifilm X-Mount Lenses for Landscape Photography, Best Panasonic Micro Four-Thirds Lenses for Landscape Photography, Best Olympus Micro Four-Thirds Lenses for Landscape Photography, MeFoto Backpacker Air Tripod Review – A Landscape Photographer’s Take, Sony (Zeiss) Vario-Tessar 16-70mm f/4 OSS Lens Review, Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Telephoto Lens Review, Best Mirrorless Cameras: Landscape Photography. If it’s cloudy, still lather on that sunscreen. Perhaps the most popular trail at Picacho Peak, the Hunter Trail gives the shortest route to the top. We've passed Picacho Peak close to a hundred times in our time living in Tucson. I can't remember how long it took us but I think the hike finished at a little over an hour. There was one other car in the parking lot, but I saw no one on my ascent. While I prefer to start my hikes at the start of sunrise, I understand not everyone is an early bird. 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. Picacho Peak State Park is located 70 miles south of Phoenix and 40 miles north of Tucson along Interstate 10. How Long Does It Take to Climb Picacho Peak? Cables, Canyon, Cliffs, Dayhike, Rock Scrambles, Short, Steep, Views. 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. 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. Much of this hike involves climbing and holding onto rocks or cables. The hiking took us 4 hours. Simple and Safe Hiking Practices for Every Hiker. … The scenery was enjoyed both by us and our cameras! King Canyon Trail. The 1.5 mile trail to the peak provides spectacular views of the Mesilla Valley and the Organ Mountains. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The day temperatures during those seasons can easily exceed over 100 degrees. "Two humans and two dogs climbed Picacho Peak on a sunny November day, 2016. The east face of Picacho Peak towered as a near vertical cliff above me, and the trail descended into a traverse across the south side of the mountain. Hours: Park is open 5AM – 10PM daily. Almost every Arizonan has driven by the rocky crags of Picacho Peak along Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson. Picacho Peak State Park. After you drive past the visitor center*, you will take the first left to Barrett Loop. Tens of millions of years ago, Picacho Peak and Newman Peak were connected by a continuous ridge of mountain tops. The Sunset Vista Trail adds an extra two miles of easier trail before joining up with the Hunter Trail, which wends to the peak. Although most of the recreational use occurs on the peak, there are also large canyons and mesa tops to explore. This is a unique trail with cables and handrails placed by the Boy scouts long ago. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. They were so beautiful! The views are worth it, but be sure to bring pletny of water and gloves! Tucson, AZ. The view across the valley to Newman Peak was awe inspiring. So, you want to hike Picacho Peak? I know I sound like a big old wussy here, but, be warned: Picacho is not for the weak of heart. 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. 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. If you have severe knee pain or don’t have strong stability in your ankles, then this may be your turning point. 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. A palo verde tree blooms yellow during sunset along the Sunset Vista Trail. Those with a thirst for adventure set their sights on the Picacho Peak summit, elevation 3,370 feet. 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. When in season a beautiful wildflower is witnessed at the beginning of the trail. Some park an RV in its campground and enjoy the views of jagged ridgelines and saguaro cactus. The views are classic. From Phoenix, get on the I-10 heading East. This is a difficult trail with steep inclines and steel cables, so gloves are recommend. A few factors determine the amount of time it will take to hike Hunter Trail. Dramatic views of the Picacho Mountains from the Picacho Peak Summit. Length: 3.2 mi • Est. Address: 15520 Picacho Peak Rd, Picacho, AZ 85241. From the top it looks like a boring trail. Since moving back to Tucson, I have gone up and down Hunter Trail with people of various fitness levels. From either direction, you will take exit 219 for Picacho Peak Rd. He’s a retire firefighter, avid hiker and outdoorsman, and leads group hikes for fitness, business and pleasure. I would highly recommend this trail to anyone. 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 soon discovered the infamous cable network of Picacho. I ventured up this steep, rugged path on a pre-dawn on a late March morning. On the descent, back down the maze of rock and cables, I encountered other hikers, and much more frequently as I moved. 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. If you need to take a break, there’s plenty of space to step to the side for water. I feel something can be less intimidating and easier to conquer if you can mentally prepare yourself in advance. “How silly!” I thought. But even if you don’t have time to view the map (or forget), the road is well-marked and easy to navigate. Through certain areas, I’ve had friends and family who had to slide down for steep parts. I hope you will enjoy this hike as much as I do! Depending on what time you arrive, you can park closer to the trailhead or down the street on the loop. At sunrise, you will witness a beautiful sight of the sun slowly rising above the horizon. In my list, I included my recommended attire and the reasoning: At only 4 miles, Hunter Trail is a relatively short hike. Cables aid hikers in navigating a 45 degree slope. 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. It’s short but very steep 1.5 miles to the summit, and then back the way you came up. Length 3.2 miElevation gain 2099 ftRoute type Out & back If you have to wait for people to pass, then naturally it will take more time. What sets this hike apart from most trails in Arizona is the system of cables, handrails, and bridges in some sections of the hike. I believe you can achieve anything when you have faith and resilience. Now on the way back, people do tend to struggle with finding the right gripping– myself included. The main reason why I recommend hiking earlier is so that your time is shorter. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me on Instagram, @HappilyPinkBlog. 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. Congratulations on hiking all the way to the summit!! The thought of a 1,400 foot climb, in just two miles, can be daunting. 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. Your email address will not be published. The land In the far southeastern corner of California, near the town of Yuma is one of the starkest desert landscapes in the world. January 9, 2016. Barr Trail is the main route to hike Pikes Peak and the only trail that will take you to the summit.