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.
Tyler, Emily and I hiked up 1800 feet and 2 miles to get to the summit. We had to pull ourselves up using the anchored cables at several places. It was truly an amazing hike. The first mile will test your stamina, straight up the side of the mountain, but when you get to the back side the fun really starts to begin. See my video of our day on the mountain:
Picacho Peak Summit Hike.
3 minutes of SCARY on Picacho:
Not sure why this is rated as moderate as it is short but challenging due to steep cable-assisted scrambles and long climbs. The hike was great but take a lot of water and some snacks for the top. Very busy trail when we went. I would not recommend this trail for young children, dogs, or people with knee problems or a severe fear of heights. The trail is pretty exposed most of the second half of the climb so I would suggest to use sunscreen or cover up. Bring gloves!
So far, this is now my favorite trail. I enjoy getting a workout when I hike and this gave it to me. More rock climbing than walking, which I thought was awesome. Like a jungle gym for grown-ups! There were 4 of us and we all managed it, but some struggled more than others. It's good to be tall for this due to the reaching up or down on the boulders. Cables secured in many areas to assist the steep or tight places, remember your gloves. Took us about 1.5 hr going up to the peak where we enjoyed some lunch and nice views, then about an hour down. I'm looking forward to going back soon.