October 26, 2016

ARIZONA: Picacho Peak - near Tucson

Have Fun in the Southwest - AZ

View of Picacho Peak from the southwest, Picacho Peak State Park, Picacho, Arizona

Picacho Peak State Park

Picacho Peak State Park is a state park surrounding Picacho Peak in Picacho, Arizona. The park is located between Casa Grande and Tucson near Interstate 10 in Pinal County. Its centerpiece spire is visible from downtown Tucson, a distance of 45 miles (72 km). The summit rises to 3,374 feet (1,028 m) above mean sea level. Though appearing to be the remnant of a volcanic neck, it is now believed to be a tilted and eroded piece of rock overlain by a lava flow. The place name is redundant: "picacho" means "big peak" in Spanish.

The park is celebrated for wildflowers that appear mid-March to early April following good winter rain. Though set next to an interstate highway, the park's west face possesses an unspoiled Sonoran Desert setting. A small flat space on top of the spire can be reached via two trail heads. Portions of the trails are precarious, and hikers are aided by cables and catwalks, making the routes some of the few via ferrata in the United States. From the top, there is a view south to the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, northwest to Tabletop Mountain near Casa Grande, north to the many mountain ranges surrounding Phoenix, and west to where the north-running Santa Cruz River runs underground supporting farms in a quaint desert valley.

The park recommends that hikers wear boots and carry two liters of water per person. Gloves are commonly used to help grip the cables.

Picacho, Arizona

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