There was one other car in the parking lot, but I saw no one on my ascent. 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. Winter stuck around as long as possible this year, but a promising sign that spring is near has been cropping up all across Arizona. Tens of millions of years ago, Picacho Peak and Newman Peak were connected by a continuous ridge of mountain tops. 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 believe you can achieve anything when you have faith and resilience. The average time taken to climb Picacho peak is two and a half to four hours as a round trip. Nobody was on the trail when we started or finished so we didn’t have to worry about the masks. For starters, generously hydrate yourself the day before and the morning of. In this post, I breakdown some of my tips and best practices. 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. Even though the trail is … Be sure to grasp the cables and take your time so that you don’t slip. 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. Ten Dollars for Twenty Minutes of Awe at... Lenox Crater: A Sustainable Hiking Trail Design at... Field Guide to Arizona’s Sonoran Desert Wildflowers. Hunter Trail is roughly 4 miles round trip, and in this immediate section I will highlight the different parts of the trail. Now on the way back, people do tend to struggle with finding the right gripping– myself included. 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. As I climbed, I knew this standard trail would give way to a network of steep rocky inclines with the aid of cables. 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). All roads within the park are paved. In my list, I included my recommended attire and the reasoning: At only 4 miles, Hunter Trail is a relatively short hike. It’s the very top of that big, imposing mountain, straight in front of you. 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. Picacho feels tall, yet the top of the Catalinas, Mount Lemmon, towers another 7,000 vertical feet above Picacho’s 3,000 foot crest. 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. How Long Does It Take to Climb Picacho Peak? 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 was glad I had chosen an early start. January 9, 2016. It’s not too tough, offers great 360 views from Cuyamaca Rancho State Park to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and has a … If you need to take a break, there’s plenty of space to step to the side for water. But for everyone else who may want to turn around, collect your courage and slowly work your way down. Simple and Safe Hiking Practices for Every Hiker. Created By Lucid Themes. Much of this hike involves climbing and holding onto rocks or cables. I … Pay attention to your footing since the ground is quite uneven. The trail to the summit is well marked and maintained. And then scraped my back on a rock. Length: 3.2 mi • Est. 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 Some park an RV in its campground and enjoy the views of jagged ridgelines and saguaro cactus. Hunter Trail is a 4-mile round trip hike to the top of Picacho Peak. I would highly recommend this trail to anyone. Almost every Arizonan has driven by the rocky crags of Picacho Peak along Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson. The evening before I climbed Picacho, my wife and I took our dogs for a little hike on the Sunset Vista Trail. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me on Instagram, @HappilyPinkBlog. Picacho Peak is a large lava flow. Disposable mask: if the trails are heavily populated then it is recommended to wear masks. We’re in the final stretch! 5:30am Began hike at the trailhead of Barrett Loop, 6:07am Reached the saddle and first major set of cables. The vertical climbing is easily my most favorite part of the hike! Perhaps the most popular trail at Picacho Peak, the Hunter Trail gives the shortest route to the top. The park is located between Casa Grande and Tucson near Interstate 10 in Pinal County. I included a link to the park’s map, in case you’d like to familiarize yourself. Martinez Cabin. The day temperatures during those seasons can easily exceed over 100 degrees. To the southeast, the Santa Catalina Mountains appear as a magic kingdom in the distance. 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. While the hike is frequently labeled as difficult, it is still doable. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. If you’re nervous about your speed and other hikers, then this may be another good reason to start earlier in the day. Without fail, the trail makes another break for the top, unleashing another string of cable-fed ascents. The state park opens at 5:00am and the trails open at sunrise. I enjoyed the vista for a moment or two, and then pushed onward. Dramatic views of the Picacho Mountains from the Picacho Peak Summit. February through early April offers the … For extra balance, you can grip the cables for this first round. Welcome to Happily Pink: a lifestyle blog with a focus on food, travel & fashion! Picacho Peak is one of those mountains you just have to hike! The distance to the top is 2.7 miles with an increase in elevation of 2,014. I know I sound like a big old wussy here, but, be warned: Picacho is not for the weak of heart. At this point your ascent begins with the cables. … Another attractions: The cacti is always there. 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. The views are worth it, but be sure to bring pletny of water and gloves! All Right Reserved. Hunter Trail, typically rated as difficult, begins on the north side (from Barrett Loop) and will take you to the top of the peak. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. We decided to hike to the top of beautiful views. It is a moderate hike, a constant ascent that totals at a 1100+ elevation gain over approximately two miles. Cars speed by on Interstate 10 below, looking like box shaped ants rolling along the desert floor. The signage to the park is visibly marked and easy to locate. The key that belonged to the car I was driving of course. Cables aid hikers in navigating a 45 degree slope. Carry one with you just in case. 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. 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. 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. Sunset in the “saguaro forest” at Picacho Peak State Park. 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. Soon the trail returns back into an ordinary, simple dusty trail leads up and down the rocky hillside. To the left, out of frame, is a noticeable drop off. While I prefer to start my hikes at the start of sunrise, I understand not everyone is an early bird. The first park of the hike will take you to a scenic spot, … I prefer to climb down the same way that I climb up, through rock climbing. From the top it looks like a boring trail. Length 3.2 miElevation gain 2099 ftRoute type Out & back King Canyon Trail. Take a well deserved break … 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. Your email address will not be published. You will climb a little over 1,100' in elevation on the 2.5 mile hike to Picacho Peak. It was a glorious morning with perfect 50 degree weather. We could see the flowers. Local hiking expert, “Hiking Bob” Falcone has been a Colorado Springs resident for 27 years. 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. Full service campground on site, additional fee (per night) is required. Your email address will not be published. Continue to follow the signs and painted rocks, and you will eventually reach the saddle! The descent is a different type of slippery, rocky slope than what’s experienced in the beginning. This is a unique trail with cables and handrails placed by the Boy scouts long ago. You will see a sign marked “Hunter Trail,” and from there, your 4-mile hike begins! 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 met a nice couple from south Phoenix and exchanged suggestions for good hikes back in the city. Although most of the recreational use occurs on the peak, there are also large canyons and mesa tops to explore. The main reason why I recommend hiking earlier is so that your time is shorter. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. Don’t forget to take your trash with you! 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. It’s short but very steep 1.5 miles to the summit, and then back the way you came up. Again, I included my reasoning with each recommended item. I should divulge the fact that I took a fall on this hike. But, with the incline and climb, you should expect this to take you longer than flatter hikes. Where is Picacho Peak State Park? Sticking up out of this flat desert are majestic rock monolith… TRAIL DESCRIPTION Take in some magnificent views of the Tucson area with this challenging but worthy hike! Instead, I prefer to rock climb to the top. Hike The first section takes you up steep switchbacks to the saddle. A few factors determine the amount of time it will take to hike Hunter Trail. Another set of cables leading up an eroded crack. 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. Perhaps the most popular trail at Picacho Peak, the Hunter Trail gives the shortest route to the top. Since we arrived before the visitor center was open, we just paid on our way out. The signs will say 2 miles, but they lie. I thought it was easier to cross using the rock for holds. If you have to wait for people to pass, then naturally it will take more time. Hours: Park is open 5AM – 10PM daily. A palo verde tree blooms yellow during sunset along the Sunset Vista Trail. For an experienced adventurer that has scrambled on bare rock, these cables are a convenience, not a necessity. 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. Be prepared with two litres of … Barr Trail is the main route to hike Pikes Peak and the only trail that will take you to the summit. 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. If you have to wait for people to pass, then naturally it will take more time. 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. Tucson, AZ. The Stonewall Peak Trail hike is the most popular hike in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park for good reason. The trail is challenging and requires strong arms to grip the cables on ascent and descent- gloves are highly recommended. This is a great spot to hydrate with more water, and even replenish your energy with a snack like an orange or protein bar. Congratulations on hiking all the way to the summit!! 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. 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. 2 h 7 m. Note: Dogs are not permitted beyond the saddle area, which is about halfway to the final destination (peak). The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from September until May. Winter is NOT the time to climb Pikes Peak, but don’t take our word for it. My younger siblings took the approach of sitting at the top and working their way down. Those truly inspired by its beauty will exit the highway and enter into a little patch of desert called Picacho Peak State Park. 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! 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) When in season a beautiful wildflower is witnessed at the beginning of the trail. 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. Required fields are marked *. I feel something can be less intimidating and easier to conquer if you can mentally prepare yourself in advance. We began our hike at the Hunter Trailhead. Marana, AZ. On the descent, back down the maze of rock and cables, I encountered other hikers, and much more frequently as I moved. The main reason why I recommend hiking earlier is so that your time is shorter. The summit rises to 3,374 feet (1,028 m) above mean sea level. Picacho, AZ. Before venturing out on a hike, stay safe with my suggestions for safe hiking:  Simple and Safe Hiking Practices for Every Hiker. 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. 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. Early morning from the saddle along Picacho Peak’s Hunter Trail. We were treated to views of a “saguaro forest” to the west, with the sun setting over the mountains in the distance. If it’s cloudy, still lather on that sunscreen. I’ve done this hike where the duration spanned from 2.5 – 5 hours. I was no worse for the wear, but somehow I also bent a car-key in my pocket in the process. He’s a retire firefighter, avid hiker and outdoorsman, and leads group hikes for fitness, business and pleasure. We've passed Picacho Peak close to a hundred times in our time living in Tucson. 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