I … 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. The descent is a different type of slippery, rocky slope than what’s experienced in the beginning. A few factors determine the amount of time it will take to hike Hunter Trail. Again, I included my reasoning with each recommended item. But even if you don’t have time to view the map (or forget), the road is well-marked and easy to navigate. I ventured up this steep, rugged path on a pre-dawn on a late March morning. Dramatic views of the Picacho Mountains from the Picacho Peak Summit. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. 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. How Long Does It Take to Climb Picacho Peak? Local hiking expert, “Hiking Bob” Falcone has been a Colorado Springs resident for 27 years. My younger sister is 5’3″ and had no problem holding onto the cables. Hike The first section takes you up steep switchbacks to the saddle. I prefer to climb down the same way that I climb up, through rock climbing. My younger siblings took the approach of sitting at the top and working their way down. 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. Before venturing out on a hike, stay safe with my suggestions for safe hiking:  Simple and Safe Hiking Practices for Every Hiker. The view across the valley to Newman Peak was awe inspiring. Created By Lucid Themes. *Note: It is $7 per vehicle (up to four people), and $3 per additional person. The state park opens at 5:00am and the trails open at sunrise. The trail is challenging and requires strong arms to grip the cables on ascent and descent- gloves are highly recommended. 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 to the summit is well marked and maintained. February through early April offers the … This is a difficult trail with steep inclines and steel cables, so gloves are recommend. In my list, I included my recommended attire and the reasoning: At only 4 miles, Hunter Trail is a relatively short hike. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from September until May. Much of this hike involves climbing and holding onto rocks or cables. The base is a great intro to the rocky climbing that you will soon encounter on the other side of the base. The main reason why I recommend hiking earlier is so that your time is shorter. Picacho Peak is a large lava flow. Length 3.2 miElevation gain 2099 ftRoute type Out & back … It was a glorious morning with perfect 50 degree weather. 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. I can't remember how long it took us but I think the hike finished at a little over an hour. Since we arrived before the visitor center was open, we just paid on our way out. Desert valleys stretch for miles in all directions, interrupted in the distance by the long ridges of neighboring mountains. From either direction, you will take exit 219 for Picacho Peak Rd. Hunter Trail, typically rated as difficult, begins on the north side (from Barrett Loop) and will take you to the top of the peak. We decided to hike to the top of beautiful views. If you weren’t using the cables’ assistance previously, then I would absolutely use them now. We were treated to views of a “saguaro forest” to the west, with the sun setting over the mountains in the distance. We began our hike at the Hunter Trailhead. 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 … If you’re nervous about your speed and other hikers, then this may be another good reason to start earlier in the day. I recommend beating the heat and arriving right before sunrise. I’m Natalie, and my goal is to encourage you to seek out what makes you the happiest in life. Don’t forget to take your trash with you! Picacho feels tall, yet the top of the Catalinas, Mount Lemmon, towers another 7,000 vertical feet above Picacho’s 3,000 foot crest. Be prepared with two litres of … Some park an RV in its campground and enjoy the views of jagged ridgelines and saguaro cactus. When in season a beautiful wildflower is witnessed at the beginning of the trail. 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! You will see a sign marked “Hunter Trail,” and from there, your 4-mile hike begins! On the descent, back down the maze of rock and cables, I encountered other hikers, and much more frequently as I moved. Best months to visit are November to April as summertime temperatures are consistently over 100 degrees during the day. But, I think if you did the vertical climb, then you can walk the plank. Your email address will not be published. Barr Trail is the main route to hike Pikes Peak and the only trail that will take you to the summit. As I climbed, I knew this standard trail would give way to a network of steep rocky inclines with the aid of cables. For extra balance, you can grip the cables for this first round. I’ve done this hike where the duration spanned from 2.5 – 5 hours. The summit rises to 3,374 feet (1,028 m) above mean sea level. Picacho, AZ. The summit rises to 3,374 feet (1,028 m) above mean sea level. Without fail, the trail makes another break for the top, unleashing another string of cable-fed ascents. I’ve done this hike where the duration spanned from 2.5 – 5 hours. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. I feel something can be less intimidating and easier to conquer if you can mentally prepare yourself in advance. 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). 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. Almost every Arizonan has driven by the rocky crags of Picacho Peak along Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson. The Sunset Vista Trail adds an extra two miles of easier trail before joining up with the Hunter Trail, which wends to the peak. I met a nice couple from south Phoenix and exchanged suggestions for good hikes back in the city. I guess that’s just a little reminder that in every situation, even a simple step, care should be taken to avoid mistakes. The average time taken to climb Picacho peak is two and a half to four hours as a round trip. The signs will say 2 miles, but they lie. The distance to the top is 2.7 miles with an increase in elevation of 2,014. Those with a thirst for adventure set their sights on the Picacho Peak summit, elevation 3,370 feet. Although most of the recreational use occurs on the peak, there are also large canyons and mesa tops to explore. 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. While the hike is frequently labeled as difficult, it is still doable. Over the course of eons, the action of pounding desert rain and unrelenting gravity has eroded the range in two, creating valley and a void between Picacho Peak and its siblings. Due to my height (5’0″), I struggle with holding the cables for this specific section. Currently you have JavaScript disabled. Wild Burro Trailhead. We had heards that the flowers had been opened. Soon the trail returns back into an ordinary, simple dusty trail leads up and down the rocky hillside. Another set of cables leading up an eroded crack. Now on the way back, people do tend to struggle with finding the right gripping– myself included. I descended the first set of cable-lined rock with a wry grin, snapping a few photos along the way. 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. King Canyon Trail. 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. Simple and Safe Hiking Practices for Every Hiker. 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. He’s a retire firefighter, avid hiker and outdoorsman, and leads group hikes for fitness, business and pleasure. Sunset in the “saguaro forest” at Picacho Peak State Park. Pay attention to your footing since the ground is quite uneven. 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. 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. This is another section where people can be intimidated. As I continued the hike, I came across cables that were simply guardrails on section of trail where it was absolutely unnecessary. If you would rather hike around 10am, as opposed to 5:00am then I recommend hiking between late fall to early spring. Congratulations on hiking all the way to the summit!! They were so beautiful! Tucson, AZ. 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). 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. Tens of millions of years ago, Picacho Peak and Newman Peak were connected by a continuous ridge of mountain tops. The scenery was enjoyed both by us and our cameras! 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. I know I sound like a big old wussy here, but, be warned: Picacho is not for the weak of heart. This is a great spot to hydrate with more water, and even replenish your energy with a snack like an orange or protein bar. Ten Dollars for Twenty Minutes of Awe at... Lenox Crater: A Sustainable Hiking Trail Design at... Field Guide to Arizona’s Sonoran Desert Wildflowers. Within the hour I made it to a saddle between the summit and a high point on the ridge to the north. We could see the flowers. We’re in the final stretch! My photographs do no justice to the beauty I saw with my own eyes. Address: 15520 Picacho Peak Rd, Picacho, AZ 85241. I should divulge the fact that I took a fall on this hike. Winter stuck around as long as possible this year, but a promising sign that spring is near has been cropping up all across Arizona. Beautiful! Hunter Trail is roughly 4 miles round trip, and in this immediate section I will highlight the different parts of the trail. Florence, AZ. You’ll pass through an open gate and approach the visitors center. Perhaps the most popular trail at Picacho Peak, the Hunter Trail gives the shortest route to the top. Hunter Trail appeals to me because it’s short, challenging and fun! Take a well deserved break … Visitors traveling on I-10 in southern Arizona can't miss the outstanding 1,500-foot-high Picacho Peak State Park. At sunrise, you will witness a beautiful sight of the sun slowly rising above the horizon. After you drive past the visitor center*, you will take the first left to Barrett Loop. 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. Take exit 219 and turn Right onto Picacho Peak Road. I was no worse for the wear, but somehow I also bent a car-key in my pocket in the process. I ventured up this steep, rugged path on a pre-dawn on a late March morning. Instead, I prefer to rock climb to the top. Continue to follow the signs and painted rocks, and you will eventually reach the saddle! The views are classic. The day temperatures during those seasons can easily exceed over 100 degrees. The signage to the park is visibly marked and easy to locate. The thought of a 1,400 foot climb, in just two miles, can be daunting. 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. Some pass it without notice. … Length: 3.2 mi • Est. The signs will say 2 miles, but they lie. Another attractions: The cacti is always there. We've passed Picacho Peak close to a hundred times in our time living in Tucson. The hiking took us 4 hours. At this same spot is where you can see the descent on the backside of the base. The evening before I climbed Picacho, my wife and I took our dogs for a little hike on the Sunset Vista Trail. For starters, generously hydrate yourself the day before and the morning of. Picacho Peak State Park is located 70 miles south of Phoenix and 40 miles north of Tucson along Interstate 10. If this is your case, don’t expect to hike during the summer or late spring. If you need to take a break, there’s plenty of space to step to the side for water. Others glance over in awe as it towers above the parched desert valleys. Hours: Park is open 5AM – 10PM daily. Not too far from the trailhead, on a normal part of the trail, a rock step gave way and slipped right onto my butt. 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. We enjoyed the hike and the flowers. I would highly recommend this trail to anyone. From Phoenix, get on the I-10 heading East. 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. For the average hiker with an understandable fear of heights, the cables must be a God send. Where is Picacho Peak State Park? Martinez Cabin. 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. Nobody was on the trail when we started or finished so we didn’t have to worry about the masks. The first leg of the hike will include sun, but once you’re on the other side, you get to stay in the shade. I stopped in my tracks as the morning sun crested the eastern horizon and illuminated the towering cliffs in warm light. @2018 — Mountain Tripper | Jake Case Photography. Through certain areas, I’ve had friends and family who had to slide down for steep parts. The trailhead is on the north side of Barret Loop within the park. The first park of the hike will take you to a scenic spot, … For an experienced adventurer that has scrambled on bare rock, these cables are a convenience, not a necessity. 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. I thought it was easier to cross using the rock for holds. Picacho Peak State Park. A few factors determine the amount of time it will take to hike Hunter Trail. January 9, 2016. Perhaps the most popular trail at Picacho Peak, the Hunter Trail gives the shortest route to the top. Be sure to grasp the cables and take your time so that you don’t slip. Marana, AZ. If you have to wait for people to pass, then naturally it will take more time. Its centerpiece spire is visible from downtown Tucson, a distance of 45 miles (72 km). Those truly inspired by its beauty will exit the highway and enter into a little patch of desert called Picacho Peak State Park. It’s not too tough, offers great 360 views from Cuyamaca Rancho State Park to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and has a … “How silly!” I thought. 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) Welcome to Happily Pink: a lifestyle blog with a focus on food, travel & fashion! In this post, I breakdown some of my tips and best practices. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. The key that belonged to the car I was driving of course. Winter is NOT the time to climb Pikes Peak, but don’t take our word for it. Early morning from the saddle along Picacho Peak’s Hunter Trail. 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. Full service campground on site, additional fee (per night) is required. "Two humans and two dogs climbed Picacho Peak on a sunny November day, 2016. Sticking up out of this flat desert are majestic rock monolith… Check out his site for more info. I soon discovered the infamous cable network of Picacho. 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. But not on the rock faces and cables, I was super careful up there. I believe you can achieve anything when you have faith and resilience. To the north is Newman Peak, of the Picacho Mountains. Picacho Peak is one of those mountains you just have to hike! This is a unique trail with cables and handrails placed by the Boy scouts long ago. 2 h 7 m. Note: Dogs are not permitted beyond the saddle area, which is about halfway to the final destination (peak). I hope you will enjoy this hike as much as I do! 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. The land In the far southeastern corner of California, near the town of Yuma is one of the starkest desert landscapes in the world. It’s short but very steep 1.5 miles to the summit, and then back the way you came up. 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 DESCRIPTION Take in some magnificent views of the Tucson area with this challenging but worthy hike! Cables aid hikers in navigating a 45 degree slope. To the southeast, the Santa Catalina Mountains appear as a magic kingdom in the distance. Disposable mask: if the trails are heavily populated then it is recommended to wear masks. Looking like box shaped ants rolling along the sunset Vista trail have faith resilience! I prefer to climb Pikes Peak and the morning of … we went early Picacho. 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