The mountain is the centerpiece of Picacho Peak State Park, otherwise known for its campgrounds and wildflower blooms in March and April. I'm the guy behind DownTheTrail.com. The Hunter Trail, which is one of five in Picacho Peak State Park, is the route to the top. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. Just another trip report & photos of our 4th hike up Hunter Trail to the summit of Picacho Peak. Geologists have no clue what volcano made it. The first and shortest route is the Hunter Trail. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure. You can cut some mileage by spotting a second vehicle at one of the trailheads. When Picacho Peak was dedicated as a state park in 1968, the second phase of Hunter Trail was built beginning on the north side – crossing the saddle, and connecting with the first phase. Location: Arizona, United States Hike Quality (1-5): 5 Hike Difficulty (1-5): 3 Round Trip Distance: 4 km Elevation Gain: 600 m. Camera Details. The grade becomes steep within a quarter mile of the trailhead. Dogs are allowed on the park’s trails, but I’d strongly advise against bringing a dog up the cabled sections near the peak. All rights reserved. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. The total distance for this day is slightly less than 7 miles. 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. Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter packed with the best adventure guides, travel ideas, news, and articles. After that it gets steep and difficult especially after intersecting with the Hunter Trail. I earn commission with links to other websites, like Amazon. Where: Picacho Peak State Park. From the start, we ascended somewhat steeply up the rocky trail. It is approximately a mile longer and considered moderate for the first 2.0 miles. With your first step from the trailhead, you’ll start a gradual climb up a rocky slope dotted with saguaros, creosote bushes and paloverde trees. The trailhead is on the north side of Barret Loop within the park. It may be only two miles (3.2 km) long, but it is two, long and twisted – for some terrifying – miles of adventurous trail. It’s about building relationships with the outdoors and each other. AZ HIKING TRAILS 2,664 views. The most efficient way to get to the top of Picacho Peak and back is through doing a round trip on the Hunter Trail. Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. I recommend beating the heat and arriving right before sunrise. Picacho Peak via Hunter Trail is a hard 3.4-mile out and back trail with an elevation gain of 1,982 feet. In the grand scheme of things, this was a mere skirmish that pitted 13 Union cavalrymen against 10 Confederate cavalry, resulting in about 8 casualties (3 killed, 5 injured). Hunter Trail is a 4-mile round trip hike to the top of Picacho Peak. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Hunter Trail. The path along the park road is surprisingly pleasant, especially when wildflowers are in bloom in the spring. Required fields are marked *, Copyright © 2020 Down The Trail - All Rights Reserved - legal statements - contact. Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, California. Follow the signs to the park, which is on the west side of I-10. Picacho Peak is a prominent 3,374-foot peak along I-10 in southern Arizona. The trail has many areas of sharp, bare rock, and in places arrows are painted on the rock to signal the direction of the trail, which can be difficult to follow in certain areas. 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 Hunter Trail begins at the parking lot near the Saguaro Ramada. During hotter times of year and towards the middle of the day, the heat can make the trek up pretty brutal. Picacho Peak is located just west of I-10 about 60 miles south of Phoenix (40 miles north of Tuscon). The Sunset Vista Trail also had less shade in the morning. With the steep elevation gain requiring cables to aid in traversing, this is not a dog friendly trail in the least. Starting out early in the day, before the heat added another layer … Hunter Trail on the south side of the peak was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps to facilitate servicing the beacon which was dismantled in 1965. Picacho Peak is a large lava flow. As you can see in the maps above, the classic approach via the Hunter Trail is the shortest and simplest. The recreation area has over 15 miles of mountain biking, hiking, and equestrian trails. Hunter Trail is the other one and is 2 miles of steep switchbacks. With that […] The most direct approach is via the trailhead on the Barret Loop Road. 1 - Duration: 4:37. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. She was a native of Texas vacationing with her fiance. The word “Picacho” simply means “peak” in Spanish, so the name has a silly redundancy. This is a unique trail with cables and handrails placed by the Boy scouts long ago. At just about the one mile mark the trail turns sharply right and traverses the base of a cliff until reaching a saddle between the main peak and a smaller one to the northwest. This south-facing trail has more direct sunlight and offers a lengthier meander through the desert landscape than the Hunter Trail. Picacho Peak is one of those mountains you just have to hike! There is a decent amount of parking, but by 10 a.m. the lot got pretty full. Back in 2002, this article reveals a cursory story about a young couple (aged 26 and 30) who both died on a hike together of heat-related issues. "Outstanding spot for spring wildflowers...california poppies..." Trail in Picacho, AZ This oddity reminds me of Bill Williams Mountain in northern Arizona (William Williams?). There is cables to assist you in some spots. The Sunset Vista Trail begins at the west end of the park road, contouring along the south side of Picacho Peak until it climbs and joins the Hunter Trail near the summit. A climb to the summit of Picacho Peak, a prominent point right next to an interstate. They are strong and are definitely needed. Picacho peak gets its name from the Spanish for Picacho which simply means ‘peak’. Here’s a couple of the maps that show the trails in Picacho Peak State Park. When Picacho Peak was dedicated as a state park in 1968, the second phase of Hunter Trail was built beginning on the north side – crossing the saddle, and connecting with the first phase. It then has areas where you use cables to navigate the trail. Picacho Peak State Park: Hours, Address, Picacho Peak State Park Reviews: 4.5/5. There is a very obvious sign next to the correct trail that says “Hunter Trail To the Top of the Peak”. Trails closed from sunset to sunrise. After the saddle the route makes a short descent on the south side of the peak prior to another steep accent that leads eventually to the top of Picacho Peak. The Hunter Hiking Trail begins its ascent on a series of switchbacks up the northern side of the Picacho Peak. And I cried. Picacho Peak via the Hunter Trail Description The hike begins on the floor of the Sonoran Desert as you begin ascending toward the walls of the peak. The wildflowers were in full bloom. Blue Mesa is the Best Hiking Trail at Petrified Forest National Park, How to Hike Humphreys Peak - Trail Map and Guide - Flagstaff Arizona, A Day Hike in the Superstitions around Weavers Needle - Peralta Trail, Calderwood Butte Preserve - Trail Map & Guide - Peoria, AZ. It is 2.7 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 2090 ft! The first map shows the entirety of the park, whereas the second one shows a closeup of the Hunter Trail that leads to the top of the peak. Hunter Trail is a 4-mile round trip hike to the top of Picacho Peak. The State Park holds a re-enactment each year in late March. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from September until May. Picacho Peak State Park boasts multiple trails, but the most popular is likely the Hunter's Trail. It’s a 4 mile out and back trail that takes you straight up to the Peak. This is the easier of the two peak hikes. Rather, all of the incidents involved high temperatures causing heat exhaustion and stroke. In May of 2015, a 29 year-old woman from Texas died on the Sunset Vista Trail. Both of them ultimately involve the use of cables and catwalks to get through sections that are steep and/or have significant exposure. Go to the about page to see more about me and this site, or go here to see the latest posts. Your email address will not be published. The trailhead is accessed at the far end of the park at the Sunset Vista Trailhead. Hunter Trail quickly steps up the elevation gain, attacking Picacho’s foothills head on. Picacho Peak via Hunter Trail Overview. Camera: Canon 5D Mk IV Lens 1: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM. Hunter Trail on the south side of the peak was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps to facilitate servicing the beacon which was dismantled in 1965. It has grown so popular that the re-enactment often involves more “soldiers” than were actually engaged in the battle. This is a difficult trail with steep inclines and steel cables, so … Picacho Peak State Park: the hike Picacho Peak State Park is located about midway between Phoenix and Tucson. © 2020 Outdoor Project. I was in a black-and-white phase with my photography at the time and unfortunately lost my color picture files of the trip. It is rated difficult and steeply ascends the north face of Picacho Peak. ... Picacho Peak - Hunters Trail - Ascending the Face Pt. The main trailhead for the Hunter Trail is on the Barret Loop, but immediate parking is limited. This trail has a lot of hard elevation gain. Bruce Springsteen is my hero. It’s about more than standing on the mountain top. Parking is readily available, and this is an Arizona State park with an entrance free of $7.00 for day use. In 1775 the peak was referred to as Cerro de Taca by Francisco Garcés who was a Spanish friar and, in the past, the mountain was referred to as Picacho del Tucson ‘Tucson Peak.’ Hiking the Mount Tammany Loop – Red Dot/Blue Dot Trail (2020) The most common route up to the summit of Picacho Peak is Hunter Trail. From the parking area, the trail quickly switchbacks up through the desert cacti to a saddle 900 ft above where you started. You know a trail is really fun when you’ve conquered it multiple times. In 1932, a 40ft light beacon was installed at the top of the peak for air traffic navigation. Outdoor Project may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers. Besides the decent camping facilities and yearly Civil War battle re-enactment at the site, Picacho's premier attraction is the spectacular Hunter Trail, which goes up to the precipitous summit. When: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Her death appeared to be heat-related, though no further details seem to be available. GUIDEBOOK: Best Easy Day Hikes Tucson. This hike is within the boundaries of Picacho Peak State Park. We believe good things come from people spending time outside. ... ” obstacle on the Sunset Vista Trail is a 50-foot cable ladder that we reached just below the junction with the Hunter Trail. If you want to do some hiking at Picacho Peak but, you're not ready to do that vertical climb up Hunter Trail, Calloway Trail is a nice and easy way to experience this beautiful park. Gloves are highly recommended. A view from the summit of the distant, orange glow of countless globemallow is especially memorable. Picacho Peak- via Hunter Trail There are two ways to get to Picacho Peak. It helped direct early explorers such as Father Kino and Juan Bautista de Anza. From the top it looks like a boring trail. His autopsy revealed that he died from “dehydration and hyperthermia.”. It is a volcanic mountain composed of rhyolite (mostly quartz and feldspar) that solidified at the surface approximately 35 million years ago. Overall, this seems to be more of an RV hotspot than a car camper’s destination. It’s about nourishment and learning. Union Lieutenant James Barret was patrolling the area. The Best Winter Adventures in North America. An interpretive sign on the Hunter Trail reads as follows: Picacho Peak has been a navigational landmark throughout history. 4:37. Hikes Patrick Latter August 03, 2018 7 Comments. Sunset Vista Trail takes you on a pleasant and colorful 3.1 miles on the south side of Picacho to the peak. The trail we are interested in is the Hunter Trail. The park is home to popular campground that often fills in March and April. Picacho Peak via Hunter Trail - Eloy, AZ - January 2011 A Romain. See 9 photos and 1 tip from 172 visitors to PIcacho Peak State Park, Hunter Trail. Picacho Peak is a 4959-foot high peak just northwest of Las Cruces. Most tragic was the recent (April 2019) death of 16-year old boy scout Joshua Michael White. 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. I stayed at the campground here with Haley and my friend William in the spring of 2019, after our trip on the Arizona Trail. The initial accent takes you to an area know as the saddle, which is near the mid-point of the hike. There's a small fee to enter the Picacho Peak State Park (as of April 2009, the fee was $6). This is not a good hike for those with a fear of heights! Slightly longer approaches via the Nature Trail are possible, adding about a half or full mile to your day. The hike up Picacho Peak on Hunter Trail is short but rated as difficult. The trailhead for Calloway and Hunter start at the same place. From the Valley, go east on Interstate 10 to Exit 219. A longer and more moderate route variation is available on the south side of the peak. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. You can right-click on these images to view larger versions or download them. The hiking Difficulty calculator rates it as extreme! The Hunter Trail begins off the Barrett Loop Road, about a quarter mile from the entrance station. In this post, I breakdown some of my tips and best practices. The Hunter Hiking Trail to Picacho Peak is a short trail, containing some of the best rock scrambles (replete with handrails and cables) in all of Arizona. Take exit 219 and follow the brown signs to the park entrance. The trailhead is on the north side of Barret Loop within the park. This hike provides exceptional 360-degree views of the valleys surrounding the peak as well as many other significant mountain peaks and ranges in the area. ROUTE: well maintained, signed junctions – steep trail involves the use of cables for handholds, similar to Angels Landing in Zion National Park. I love the outdoors, and the Grand Canyon is my favorite destination. Hiking Picacho Peak via the Hunter Trail There are two trails out of the parking area, so make sure you start on the one that goes right and up towards the peak. a classic southern Arizona hike up the Hunter Trail and down the Sunset Vista Trail via the cables on Picacho Peak, MAP: paper map available at the Visitor Center PERMITS: park entrance fee is $7 per vehicle, $3 on foot or bicycle HOURS OF OPERATION: park gates are open from 5am through 10pm DESIGNATION: Picacho Peak State Park (Arizona) BEST SEASONS: spring, fall, and winter, but avoid crowds in March DISTANCE: varies from 3 to 7 miles (see below) ELEVATION: Hunter Trail gains 1,370ft to summit (3,374ft) ACCESS: paved roads DIRECTIONS:  Take exit 219 from interstate I-10, and travel about one mile west on Picacho Peak Rd to the park entrance. Length 3.2 miElevation gain 2099 ftRoute type Out & back 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. Hunter trail goes up the front of Picacho Peak to the saddle. From Phoenix drive south on I-10. You may get the impression that the Sunset Vista Trail could be more gradual, but it’s just a longer approach that gets equally steep toward the end. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. This site feeds you cookies, is peppered with affiliate links, and has dangerous recipes for going outdoors. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. Online research reveals 4 deaths along the hiking trails in Picacho Peak State Park during this century, and none of these incidents were the result of falling from cliffs! Picacho Peak is one of the most well-known mountains in southern Arizona, due to its prominence along Interstate I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson. We stayed for 2 nights, and Will and I hiked a full loop up the Hunter Trail and down Sunset Vista. This is a difficult trail with steep inclines and steel cables, so gloves are recommend. Picacho Peak Hunter Trail. The second is the Sunset Vista trail. Picacho Peak is where the most western battle took place in the Civil war. Finally, the 3rd option for the hike is to do both the Hunter and Sunset Vista trails, using the Park Road Trail to close the loop. Reportedly he was under orders not to engage any Confederate troops, but chose do so anyway. More information, including pricing and making reservations, is found here. The trail begins in an environment that is typical of Sonoran desert landscape with desert vegetation and varieties of cactus. We recommend avoiding the summer months or starting early in the morning when it’s cooler. The most common one is Hunter ‘s Trail, which in my opinion is more fun just because of the diversity of the trail as you climb to the top. ... Hunter Trail: This is the more popular way to the summit. This area is also the setting of the only Civil War battle fought in Arizona. Picacho Peak State Park has signage that states no children under 10 for Hunter's Trail, but I did see some children on the trail. Hike Details. That may be why after hiking it I experienced cramps! It calls for a fair amount of scrambling and maneuvering with cables along steep ledges and gains elevation pretty quickly. Your email address will not be published. The trail itself is well maintained, but a little rocky in places. Despite the otherwise empty desert scenery, interstate noise abounds. We promise not to annoy you, but if you wish, you may unsubscribe at any time. Hunter trail to the top of Picacho Peak is the shortest route., but also the steepest. Parents and guardians, please use your best judgment. It’s about protecting what sustains us. It is tough on senior hikers. One of Picacho’s claims to fame is the Civil War “battle” in the area that marks the westernmost engagement of the war. Embark on a culture blog and the sky's the limit, right?I discovered this the hard way when I volunteered to write about a hike.I hiked Picacho Peak. Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment? There are two different trails that lead to the top of Picacho Peak. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Camping, picnic areas, and a visitor center are also located within the park. Camera: Canon 5D Mk IV Lens 1: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM early explorers as... 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Recipes for going outdoors the same place volcanic mountain composed of rhyolite ( mostly quartz and feldspar ) solidified.