Climb of Picacho Peak Arizona

Date of trip: 03/06/2016

Mileage: 2.9 Miles

Elevation Gain: 1400 Feet

Time: 2 Hour(s) and 30 Minutes

Class: 3

Partners:

GPS Track: NA

Peaks Climbed on Trip:
Peak Name Elevation Prominence Range Close to County highpoint Range highpoint Map
Mount Lemmon91575177Santa CatalinaSummerhaven, ArizonaPimaYes32.4430, -110.7883
Picacho Peak33701573PicachoPicacho, ArizonaNoNo32.6352, -111.4007

Trip Report

We were in Arizona to enjoy some warm weather and do some hiking. After a few days in Phoenix, we headed to Tucson. On the way to Tucson, we wanted to stop and climb the very popular and supposedly impressive looking Picacho Peak.

Sure enough, as we headed down Interstate 10 towards Tucson, we started seeing Picacho Peak in front of us. It certainly met the hype and we were excited for the hike.

Eventually we reached the exit for Picacho Peak State Park and we followed signs to the Hunter Trail.

We were not alone for sure on this partly cloudy and warm morning. We headed up the trail. The initial portion of the trail is just hiking. The trail switchbacks up the north slopes, then to a cliff wall, before one last zag leads you to a saddle between Picacho Peak and Razorback Ridge (Peak 3161).

It was muggy and hot with little wind, so I was drenched by the time we reached the saddle. Thankfully, the wind was blowing here. So we hydrated and I dried off in the sun and wind.

Almost immediately after the saddle, the route got spicy. The route is tucked up under and overhanging cliff on smooth rock and descends about 150 feet, with cables assisting your descent in the trickier sections.

Once done descending, the trail finally started heading up and toward Picacho Peak. We encountered several more steep sections where fixed cables were present. I felt the 2nd section, which goes straight up crack in a section of steep rock, was the most difficult (not up, but on the way down).

We eventually made it to the top. During our climb the clouds had dispersed and the wind had increased. The top was quite pleasant, despite sharing it with 20 new friends.

The way down proved uneventful, though slow going, as we would encounter slower groups on the steep sections or wait to give people ascending space on the trail.

All-in-all, it was a great day! Before finding our hotel in Tucson, we drove the spectacular road to Mount Lemmon. Mount Lemmon is a dominant peak, but don't expect great views from the top as towers and trees dominate the view. However, the road is spectacular and lower vistas along the road provide exceptional views.


Getting There

Coming from Phoenix, take exit 219 for Picacho Peak State Park. Follow the numerous signs. Once through the park gate, follow signs for Hunter Trail.

It cost us $7 to enter the park FYI.


Hiking Directions

Once at the parking lot for the Hunter Trail, simply follow the well beaten path. The trail essentially heads south, switchback up to the saddle just west of Picacho Peak. To this point, it has just been hiking.

The trail then drops along a cliff wall and you encounter your first steep section as you down climb with fixed steel cables present.

Once you reach the bottom, the trail swings to the east. The trail then encounters a series of steeper sections with fixed cables. I felt the traversing sections that contained the cables were easy, but one vertical sections of cable was a little tricky to descend.


Photos

View Slideshow

Trailhead for Picacho Peak
Trailhead for Picacho Peak
Carrie gloved up and ready for the cables - Picacho Peak
Carrie gloved up and ready for the cables - Picacho Peak
Carrie on one of the steeper cabled sections - Picacho Peak
Carrie on one of the steeper cabled sections - Picacho Peak
Views from Picacho Peak
Views from Picacho Peak
Views from Picacho Peak
Views from Picacho Peak
Carrie on the summit of Picacho Peak
Carrie on the summit of Picacho Peak
Carrie down climbing - Picacho Peak
Carrie down climbing - Picacho Peak
Picacho Peak from I-10
Picacho Peak from I-10
Views from the Mount Lemmon Highway
Views from the Mount Lemmon Highway
Views from the Mount Lemmon Highway
Views from the Mount Lemmon Highway
Tucson from the Mount Lemmon Highway
Tucson from the Mount Lemmon Highway




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