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Picacho Peak via Hunter Trail

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Picacho Peak State Park

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. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from September until May.

Distance: 3.2 miles Elevation Gain: 2,099 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

views

wild flowers

rocky

scramble

washed out

fee

no dogs

Note: Dogs are not permitted beyond the saddle area, which is about halfway to the final destination (peak). The trail to the summit is well marked and maintained. The trail is challenging and requires strong arms to grip the cables on ascent and descent- gloves are highly recommended. Views from the trail and the summit are great! The nature is amazing - you have a great chance to spot the bald headed eagle and see blooming ocotillos.

hiking
rocky
scramble
9 days ago

Excellent hike. Definitely some steep parts where you needed the cable, both up and down. One of the most fun hikes I’ve done that’s under 4 miles. The elevation gain is a bit misleading as it felt like it came in certain sections and there were other parts that weren’t bad.

14 days ago

One of the best hikes we've done this far in Arizona. The views are insane, but be prepared with gloves and hiking boots because the trail requires a bit of scrambling on the back side. Will definitely come back to this one!

hiking
bugs
16 days ago

hiking
19 days ago

Really cool hike now that’s it’s starting to get warmer definitely go a little earlier to beat the heat. It’s not too hard of a hike and not over crowded either as I thought it would be due to Covid-19.

hiking
23 days ago

So much fun! Reminded me of a warm up course for Angels Landing! Didn’t look as challenging as it ended up being but a ton of fun!

hiking
bugs
scramble
27 days ago

A great adventure! I drive down to just north of Tucson a couple of times a year to see a friend of mine, always eyeing Picacho Peak as a hike I needed to tackle. I set aside an early start from Scottsdale on April 5 to get it done, and it lived up to all the great things I’d read about it. I parked near Hunter’s Trail, so that was my starting point. I felt like the first 20 minutes were the most strenuous of the entire hike. Everything after that was like a mix of a fun challenge course, and it seemed to mask the fact that there was still some work to do to get to the top. After that first 20 minutes, there are some natural resting spots, and a lot of them are in the shade because they hug the mountain. A good portion of the hike goes on from there. In that long stretch of shade, I was treated to a sighting of a desert tortoise. VERY cool. He had come out of the ground cover to catch a lunch of crawling bugs. Thankfully, all other hikers who saw it were mindful of it and after snapping lots of pictures, left it alone. The route from there is mildly deceiving, because I thought that when I got to the “saddle,” I’d simply pick up a trail that goes to the left, up to the top. No such luck! It’s from there that you have to go DOWN a short way on the other side of the mountain, to get to the trail to go back UP. Going down from the “saddle” is where the fun - and cables - begin. It was like the trail was saying “Ha! You didn’t think it was going to be THAT easy, did you?!?” Oh well. Heading down with the use of the cables was a lot of fun, and thankfully after that the trail is marked relatively well to get all the way to the top. I was alone and had a blast, but next time will bring either family or friends just because it would be a lot more fun to do as a group or with someone else. The cables are all in perfect position to ensure a safe climb. There are just enough spots on the hike that involve a little bit of technical climbing to add to the adventure, but nothing that lasts long or that would be considered dangerous. Nothing that requires anything out of the ordinary in terms of upper body strength or climbing experience. The cables kind of reminded me of Angel’s Landing out in Zion National Park, Utah, albeit on a much smaller scale. I would echo others’ comments that as long as you stay calm and focused, you’ll do just fine, even if heights aren’t your thing. This hike and climb was well worth the trip. It’s one that can easily become a favorite.

hiking
no shade
rocky
28 days ago

Would definitely not recommend going during the middle of the day we went 1/5 of the trail but at least we got to see it! Looks beautiful up top. Will be excited to come back when we plan it better for our next Tucson trip

hiking
rocky
29 days ago

If you go mid to late afternoon, about 2/3 trail is in the shade as you hike on the east side of the mountain.

hiking
rocky
29 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

so much fun. loved the cable part of the hike

hiking
bugs
rocky
1 month ago

This trail was challenging but lots of fun! Make sure you have gloves. $7 parking fee. We started the hike at 7am and we’re done by noon on Sunday 4/19. There were lots of people on the trail. Hiked about 4 miles from the first parking lot RT.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

rock climbing
1 month ago

The wife and I did this today. Roughly 3.5hrs up and down. Fun trail!

fee
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Fun hike. Once we got to the saddle (where the cables start) our kids really got into it. The only complaint I have is how tight some of the cables are, I am not a huge guy, just athletic, and some areas I had to squeeze through (watch your head) - The fee station was open at 8:45 when we arrived, but probably still a good idea to bring $7 exactly just in case. Bathrooms are open and even with restricted parking there was plenty.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a great hike and pretty easy to follow along. Not as physically challenging as Flat Iron or Picketpost, as it's shorter, but definitely more technical. A lot of discrepancy regarding the total length of the hike. Alltrails says 5.4 miles on one page and 2.8 on another. I recorded 3.17 miles from the trailhead to the peak and back without going off trail. I was on the trail around 7:40am this morning and saw only a few other people for most of the hike but the parking area was starting to fill up when I left around 10am. Right now they are only doing self pay when you enter (so make sure you have exact change - $7) and they have limited parking to reduce crowds. Also all of the water is shutoff except for the bathrooms.

hiking
bugs
fee
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

SO FUNNNN

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail, very beautiful green desert

Adventurous and Fun

hiking
bugs
fee
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

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