Sunset Vista Trail

HARD 76 reviews
#2 of 4 trails in

Sunset Vista Trail is a 5.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Picacho, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.1 miles
1,706 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



nature trips

trail running



wild flowers




Easy access from I-10, about 40 miles north of Tucson. Look for signs to Picacho Peak State Park. There is a moderate admission fee for day-use.

2 months ago

Decided to hike this on a weekend trip to AZ visiting family. I was unprepared and didn't bring gloves so I turned around at the base of the cables. But plan to buy gloves and go back tomorrow!

I was the only person out there for most of the morning but it is a holiday weekend and I started at 5:30 am.

The switch back gets you in a few places, but overall I really enjoyed the hike. I am a newbie to hiking and this has me feeling i found a new hobby/passion.

Pace yourself, take plenty of water and wear good shoes. I had running shoes only and my toes are a little banged up. Might pick up hiking shoes too before tomorrow morning.

4 months ago

Definitely a challenge albeit it doesn't seem like it when you first start out. The beginning is beautiful with a great walk through flat desert but then, as another reviewer pointed out, the switchbacks start! After the switch backs, you get hit with cables and some moderate rock climbing. It's a lot of fun, in my opinion, but you just gotta be prepared. Bring enough water as I almost ran out on my way back!

4 months ago

Not for the first time hiker, young children, or if you are not in good health or fitness. Requires upper body strength to ascend the cables. Make sure you wear appropriate footwear(hiking shoes) and have gloves for the cables and steeper climbs. Was worth the trip up!

5 months ago

starts out with a pretty easy desert stroll and then after 1.5ish miles switchbacks hitcha. it's a full body work out with the arm strength required for the cables. completely worth it!

5 months ago

Really fun hike. I’m an advanced hiker and if would’ve been a helpful comment to have before I went into this hike thinking I was going to die.
The incline wasn’t too intense it’s tolerable difficult but tolerable.
Going up the cables isn’t bad there’s places where you can put your feet just bring gloves and good shoes. Going down the steep part of the cables I recommend going down backwards. And obviously bring water

5 months ago

It was definitely a booty kicker! And pushes your limits specially if you have a bit of fear of heights. Also it seemed longer than we prepared to do and more than 6 miles etc.. I recorded 8 miles at least round trip going to the peak summit and back. Also having a lot of water and gloves helped a lot! Definitely an experience and will be hurting for a couple days ha!

7 months ago

I loved this hike. I hiked it the day after Christmas so it was not so hot. It is saying dogs can be on this trail but I do not see how unless you strap your dog to your back to climb the cables.

7 months ago

Great hike! Take plenty of water!

7 months ago

This hike is a total body workout !

8 months ago

Don’t do it!! LoL... it is a VERY TOUGH CLIMB. There are cable wire climbs and not just one, two, or three. I lost count. It’s all a climb after you walk like 1.5ish miles up. I saw people turn around at the first cable wire adventure. It is tough on your whole body. Very steep hike all the way up. Amazing view, but if I was asked to go hike there answer would be Heck no! Kids should be hiking it, but that’s my opinion. I would be afraid they would fall....VERY STEEP. Bring a lot of water and be prepared to climb...a lot!

8 months ago

It's definitely 6.2 miles round trip, and it was harder than I expected. I made the mistake of thinking the longer beginning (compared to the Hunter Trail) would offset some of the steepness. I was wrong. We also ran out of water. We each had 2 liters, but could have used way more than that. It was still a nice trail, in great condition. It just kicked my backside way harder than I expected. I'm seriously grateful to the two ladies who shared water with us. I was not far from calling the Ranger Station for a little assistance. All of that to say, heed the warnings and be safe. :)

9 months ago

Had a great hike to the peak via Sunset on a remarkably uncrowded Saturday. The trail was well-maintained with no obstacles preventing an unobstructed trek to the top by any reasonably fit hiker. The post-monsoon trail damage, evident on all trails in the region, have been repaired in a timely and satisfactory manner. The final mile or so is a sweaty challenge, but the installed cable paths allow the hiker to shift from lower to upper body exertion and actually gives your legs a rest for the final scramble to the peak. Gloves are a must! .Helpful and friendly park rangers and volunteers made my visit even more enjoyable.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Great hike, got to the place where the cables were and we just turned around. Perfect length and the desert was so green because of all the rain that we have had earlier.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Peak is 3.1 miles from trail head. First 1.5 miles or so are easy, much steeper later on. The cable-assisted areas of the trail deserve respect and if taken that way are just plain fun. Gloves and boots with good grip will increase confidence. I would put the trail at moderate, recognizing that parts of the trail are easy and parts are hard.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Very beautiful but challenging hike. There is no shade at all, start as early as possible! We started at 8am and forecasts of 100+ degrees later in the day, I'd recommend to start earlier. We went up to the peak, took the Hunter Trail back down and then followed the park road to the car. We brought 4 liters of water each and used it all up (for drinking and keeping our heads and necks wet). Also: the trail seems longer than indicated. I recorded the hike using the alltrails App and it said 6km (not 4.4) on the peak. The trail is beautiful and well maintained, it gets difficult at the end with several steep switchbacks and cables (bring gloves! I didn't have any and now have 3 blisters on my hand). We did the hike on a Wednesday and didn't see anyone (except the ranger) in the whole park, not even a car. A bit scary :)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

This is a good hike for people that are fit
It's a lot of fun and the view can't be beat

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Loved the challenge!

Saturday, February 06, 2016

This is a fun peak to climb. I had summitted once before from the Hunter Trail, so I decided to do things a little differently today. I parked at the Hunter Trailhead and then took the park road around the north side to the Sunset Vista Trailhead. From there I made it all the way to the summit, then back down to the junction with the Hunter trail and took that over the saddle and down to my car. The summit is very interesting, requiring cables up almost vertical rock walls for part of the ascent. Gloves are definitely recommended; I've done it twice without and my hands are always raw afterwards from hanging onto the cables. Certainly not an easy trail, and you want to make sure to have 2-3 liters of water per person, but it's well worth the views from the top.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Easy hike. An leisurely hour out and an hour back.

Monday, August 03, 2015

This is a very unique trail. It's one of the few places in the U.S. that uses a cable system ("via ferrata") to ascend to the summit. There is no meaningful shade for the first two miles of the trail, so be sure to set out early if you're hiking this on a hot day. It was only 80 degrees when I started out, but it felt much hotter, because the sun was beating down on me the whole way. After about two miles, you'll ascend a few switchbacks and then hit the first set of cables. Take hold, and start climbing!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The hike itself wasn't that difficult. It was my first time climbing with cables and that was a little surprising!!! I have to admit I was nervous coming back down because it was hard for my feet to find ledges and there were times all my body weight was on the cables, however no accidents occurred and I ended up loving it :) the view from the top was underwhelming. You could see forever but nothing really amazing or worth too many pictures. The "cove" after Sunset Vista and Hunter combine, and before the last usage of cables, was actually prettier than the top of the peak! Overall a good hike, and workout but nothing too special view wise.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Eat a good breakfast, pack a lunch and some snacks, bring plenty of water, and add about 10-20 degrees to the temperature prior to getting dressed if you're heading out on this trail. Approximately an hour into the hike the trail turns from a hike to an ascent up the mountain via scrambling and steel cable assisted climbing. This out and back trail will give you a full body workout going in both directions. There are times on the way up that the trail is difficult to follow with a few "false" trails that either don't lead anywhere or lead to more scrambling in order to find the actual trail. When you get to a "false" top you have the option of going left or right to either of the two peaks. On the return trip down you will need to slide down some areas while holding on to the cables. Total time: Approx. 4.5 hrs (with a 15-20 min. break at top for lunch).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Great hike!!! I've done this trail on several occasions & always bring visiting friends on this one. Also, a very good training/endurance hike

Friday, October 26, 2012

picacho peak was pretty hard but im just thirteen so it might be easier for most. but bring gloves because there is A LOT of rock climbing and stick to the trail because even though a fifteen foot rock wall might seem like fun to climb its pretty scary to look down and see only three feet of flat ground between u and a straight drop off. so in the end it is worth it and pretty easy when uve gotta lotta water!!!

scenic driving
Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The things you run across on Silverbell road are amazing to say the least. If you travel far enough along Silverbell road you will find and native american graves along side the road. The area is protected by the Bureau of Land Management and all efforts should be taken to respect and preserve its history and those that have passed on. Little, if any, is spoken of this area and if you don't just happen to come across it you'll never know it's there. Also to be found is the long forgotten town of Sasco and the Rockland Hotel. Come one, come all for a bumpy ride and a view for all.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Did this hike on 1/31/12. It was awesome. Great views, solid hike. Cable sections are fun! Only down side is a $7 park entrance fee.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Did this trail back in March, was fantastic. It was my first hiking trip to Arizona, and it was very pleasurable. I will be going back to this trail, and the area. The trail starts off pretty moderate, but once you get to the back side the terrain changes. The section with the Cable Ropes was by far the hardest part.

trail running
Thursday, October 21, 2010

I've done this trail (Hunter's) about 3 times & each time has been just as fun as the others. It's probably one of my favorite short trails in Arizona. I like running parts of the trail that aren't too precariously close to the edge. It makes for an awesome work out: it's short but the elevation rise is steep for the distance.

My husband doesn't like heights but he still likes doing this trail.

We've also gone on here with friends who don't work out nor are they hikers but they still enjoyed this. We just made sure to take plenty of breaks when we were with them. It took us 5 hours that time but the past 2 times took us about 2.5.

I hope they keep this trail open longer. I know it was originally supposed to close down in the summer due to budget cuts but thanks to the support of the community, it's open for the rest of the year.

- bring plenty of water
- wear shoes with good gripping (all the little pebbles in the trail make for a slippery down hill walk)
- wear gloves when holding on to the cables because there are little bits of broken wire than are extremely rusted that poke out. My first time on Picacho, I didn't bring gloves & cut my hand on rusted wire.
- be extra careful when using the cables because on our 3rd time on this trail, I noticed one of cables was no longer in place like it was on our previous hikes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Didn't they close this down? Are we still about to hike the trail even though the state park is closed?
Epic hike, love the cables! Serious feeling of accomplishment.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An early morning hike that is the desert at it's best.

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