The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from September until May. Hunter Trail is a 4-mile round trip hike to the top of Picacho Peak. This south-facing trail has more direct sunlight and offers a lengthier meander through the desert landscape than the Hunter Trail. Camera: Canon 5D Mk IV Lens 1: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM. Hike Details. The trail itself is well maintained, but a little rocky in places. Sunset Vista Trail takes you on a pleasant and colorful 3.1 miles on the south side of Picacho to the peak. It is tough on senior hikers. Most tragic was the recent (April 2019) death of 16-year old boy scout Joshua Michael White. The first and shortest route is the Hunter Trail. You can right-click on these images to view larger versions or download them. Length 3.2 miElevation gain 2099 ftRoute type Out & back 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. A view from the summit of the distant, orange glow of countless globemallow is especially memorable. Slightly longer approaches via the Nature Trail are possible, adding about a half or full mile to your day. During hotter times of year and towards the middle of the day, the heat can make the trek up pretty brutal. It calls for a fair amount of scrambling and maneuvering with cables along steep ledges and gains elevation pretty quickly. 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. Outdoor Project may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers. His autopsy revealed that he died from “dehydration and hyperthermia.”. Camping, picnic areas, and a visitor center are also located within the park. 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. I stayed at the campground here with Haley and my friend William in the spring of 2019, after our trip on the Arizona Trail. 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. The grade becomes steep within a quarter mile of the trailhead. After that it gets steep and difficult especially after intersecting with the Hunter Trail. 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. See 9 photos and 1 tip from 172 visitors to PIcacho Peak State Park, Hunter Trail. GUIDEBOOK: Best Easy Day Hikes Tucson. From the parking area, the trail quickly switchbacks up through the desert cacti to a saddle 900 ft above where you started. It is a volcanic mountain composed of rhyolite (mostly quartz and feldspar) that solidified at the surface approximately 35 million years ago. Picacho Peak is a 4959-foot high peak just northwest of Las Cruces. This is a unique trail with cables and handrails placed by the Boy scouts long ago. Hunter Trail quickly steps up the elevation gain, attacking Picacho’s foothills head on. The trail we are interested in is the Hunter Trail. 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. 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. Hunter Trail is a 4-mile round trip hike to the top of Picacho Peak. You can cut some mileage by spotting a second vehicle at one of the trailheads. The word “Picacho” simply means “peak” in Spanish, so the name has a silly redundancy. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. With that […] The most efficient way to get to the top of Picacho Peak and back is through doing a round trip on the Hunter Trail. Dogs are allowed on the park’s trails, but I’d strongly advise against bringing a dog up the cabled sections near the peak. The most common route up to the summit of Picacho Peak is Hunter Trail. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. ... ” obstacle on the Sunset Vista Trail is a 50-foot cable ladder that we reached just below the junction with the 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. Picacho Peak State Park: the hike Picacho Peak State Park is located about midway between Phoenix and Tucson. 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. This trail has a lot of hard elevation gain. Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, California. I earn commission with links to other websites, like Amazon. Union Lieutenant James Barret was patrolling the area. The Hunter Trail begins at the parking lot near the Saguaro Ramada. Picacho Peak is a large lava flow. Picacho Peak via Hunter Trail is a hard 3.4-mile out and back trail with an elevation gain of 1,982 feet. Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. 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. Hunter trail to the top of Picacho Peak is the shortest route., but also the steepest. Picacho Peak State Park: Hours, Address, Picacho Peak State Park Reviews: 4.5/5. There's a small fee to enter the Picacho Peak State Park (as of April 2009, the fee was $6). 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. There is a decent amount of parking, but by 10 a.m. the lot got pretty full. That may be why after hiking it I experienced cramps! Picacho Peak is a prominent 3,374-foot peak along I-10 in southern Arizona. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Gloves are highly recommended. We stayed for 2 nights, and Will and I hiked a full loop up the Hunter Trail and down Sunset Vista. It is 2.7 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 2090 ft! I recommend beating the heat and arriving right before sunrise. The trailhead is on the north side of Barret Loop within the park. Hunter Trail is the other one and is 2 miles of steep switchbacks. It is approximately a mile longer and considered moderate for the first 2.0 miles. They are strong and are definitely needed. 4:37. The second is the Sunset Vista trail. She was a native of Texas vacationing with her fiance. 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). Both of them ultimately involve the use of cables and catwalks to get through sections that are steep and/or have significant exposure. The trailhead is accessed at the far end of the park at the Sunset Vista Trailhead. The path along the park road is surprisingly pleasant, especially when wildflowers are in bloom in the spring. More information, including pricing and making reservations, is found here. Starting out early in the day, before the heat added another layer … "Outstanding spot for spring wildflowers...california poppies..." Trail in Picacho, AZ This is not a good hike for those with a fear of heights! Here’s a couple of the maps that show the trails in Picacho Peak State Park. An interpretive sign on the Hunter Trail reads as follows: Picacho Peak has been a navigational landmark throughout history. This is the easier of the two peak hikes. Follow the signs to the park, which is on the west side of I-10. These cookies do not store any personal information. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. The State Park holds a re-enactment each year in late March. It’s about nourishment and learning. 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. And I cried. From the top it looks like a boring trail. 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. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. Her death appeared to be heat-related, though no further details seem to be available. 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. The hike up Picacho Peak on Hunter Trail is short but rated as difficult. 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. Despite the otherwise empty desert scenery, interstate noise abounds. 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. Rather, all of the incidents involved high temperatures causing heat exhaustion and stroke. This area is also the setting of the only Civil War battle fought in Arizona. The Sunset Vista Trail also had less shade in the morning. The Hunter Trail, which is one of five in Picacho Peak State Park, is the route to the top. ... Picacho Peak - Hunters Trail - Ascending the Face Pt. 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. 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) This is a difficult trail with steep inclines and steel cables, so gloves are recommend. 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. The main trailhead for the Hunter Trail is on the Barret Loop, but immediate parking is limited. Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter packed with the best adventure guides, travel ideas, news, and articles. Picacho Peak State Park boasts multiple trails, but the most popular is likely the Hunter's Trail. A climb to the summit of Picacho Peak, a prominent point right next to an interstate. It then has areas where you use cables to navigate the trail. 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’s about building relationships with the outdoors and each other. This site feeds you cookies, is peppered with affiliate links, and has dangerous recipes for going outdoors. I was in a black-and-white phase with my photography at the time and unfortunately lost my color picture files of the trip. This oddity reminds me of Bill Williams Mountain in northern Arizona (William Williams?). 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. From the start, we ascended somewhat steeply up the rocky trail. 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. Picacho Peak is one of those mountains you just have to hike! When: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. There are two different trails that lead to the top of Picacho Peak. We believe good things come from people spending time outside. The initial accent takes you to an area know as the saddle, which is near the mid-point of the hike. Reportedly he was under orders not to engage any Confederate troops, but chose do so anyway. Picacho Peak is where the most western battle took place in the Civil war. Geologists have no clue what volcano made it. The total distance for this day is slightly less than 7 miles. Your email address will not be published. It has grown so popular that the re-enactment often involves more “soldiers” than were actually engaged in the battle. The Hunter Hiking Trail begins its ascent on a series of switchbacks up the northern side of the Picacho Peak. 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. Trails closed from sunset to sunrise. 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. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment? With the steep elevation gain requiring cables to aid in traversing, this is not a dog friendly trail in the least. The most direct approach is via the trailhead on the Barret Loop Road. Hunter Trail. Hunter trail goes up the front of Picacho Peak to the saddle. A longer and more moderate route variation is available on the south side of the peak. 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. There is a very obvious sign next to the correct trail that says “Hunter Trail To the Top of the Peak”. The mountain is the centerpiece of Picacho Peak State Park, otherwise known for its campgrounds and wildflower blooms in March and April. Direct approach is via the nature Trail are possible, adding about a half full... Cookies on your next outdoor adventure this post, i breakdown some of cookies. Us analyze and understand how you use cables to aid in traversing, this is the easier of the Civil. Desert cacti to a saddle 900 ft above where you started analyze and understand how you use cables to in. 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