Visitors traveling along I-10 in southern Arizona cant miss the prominent 1,500-foot peak of Picacho Peak State Park. Enjoy the view as you hike the trails that wind up the peak and, often in the spring, overlook a sea of wildflowers. The park and surrounding area are known for its unique geological significance, outstanding and varied desert growth, and historical importance. The unique shape has been used as a landmark by travelers since prehistoric times. One of the first recordings was in the 1700s by the Anza Expedition as it passed through the area. The park facilities include a visitor center with exhibits and a gift store, hiking trails, playground, historical markers, campground (with or without electric), picnic areas, ramadas, grills, dump station, restrooms, and showers. The group use areas, for day & overnight use, are available by reservation. Before you hike, be prepared with enough water and proper footwear as the trails are steep and challenging.
In my opinion, this was a difficult trail. I have no idea why it is rated moderate. It's a combination of scrambling, rock climbing (free form and cable-assisted) and hiking. It's a really fun, involved hike, but not for the faint of heart. You do hike along a cliff edge for awhile. There is a 1400' vertical gain in two miles. I really loved this trail - so fun, but definitely not "moderate". I guess it's all relative. DO bring leather palmed gloves. DO bring plenty of water.
Beginners heed the caution! This isn't a pure hike. It's a hike/climb. Also watch out for the heat. The trail goes up, DOWN then up to the peak. The down part is steep over rocks and there is a cable by the side of the trail. So when you come back, you'll go down, UP, then down. UP=steep up when you're already gassed.
Great hike and very challenging. I'll echo what many have said about wearing gloves and shoes with good grip. I'm a bit of a novice but I'd call this difficult as compared to other moderate trails I've done. The high was 55 today and I still worked up a good sweat. I'd hesitate a tad to hike this again in Warmer weathers.
Amazing hike! Mid December weather was perfect.
This was my first time on this trail, so didn't quite know what to expect. I was a bit surprised by the rock climbing, but the cables were helpful. Overall I didn't find it strenuous, and the view at the top is breathtaking. I do recommend gloves.