DesertUSA

Southwest Adventure, Living & Travel


Picacho Peak State Park

Arizona

Visitors traveling along I-10 in southern Arizona can't 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. Wildflorers reports.

General Information

Seasons / Hours

  • Open year round, 24 hours a day.

Rates & Fees

  • Entrance and camping fees apply.
    Please call park for current fee information (520) 466-3183
    .

Visitor Center

Hours
Open daily, 8 AM to 10 PM
The new Picacho Peak State Park Visitor Center is now open! The Visitor Center has public restrooms, a gift shop, plus vending machines with energy drinks and snacks. Hours vary, but are typically 8 am to 5 pm. The new building is U.S. Green Building Council certified Gold in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rankings.

Food/Supplies
There are no food or supplies within the park. Nearest services 5 miles away.
 
Accessibility
Park facilities, including rest rooms and showers are handicapped accessible.
 

Rules, Regulations, Precautions

  • Operating unlicensed vehicles is not permitted. All vehicle operators must be licensed.
  • Drive only on designated roadways.
  • Camping is allowed only in designated areas. Saving or reserving campsites is prohibited, even if prepaid.
  • Fires are permitted only in the fire rings and grills provided.
  • Collection of fire wood within the park is prohibited.
  • All plants, animals, rocks, minerals and historic artifacts within the park boundaries are protected by state law. It is illegal to destroy or disturb these features.
  • Pets must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet.
  • Use garbage dumpsters provided. Do not bum or bury garbage.
  • Quiet hours in the park are from 10:00 pm to 7:00 am.
  • Visitors are responsible for knowing all park rules and regulations, which are posted in the park

Climate, Geography, Setting

Setting

Picacho State Park is located 35 north of Tucson west of Interstate 10. It encompasses 3,500 acres at an average elevation of 2,000 feet.

Climate

 Month  Max.  Min.  Precipitation
 Jan  67.0  35.7  0.77
 Feb  71.7  39  0.77
 Mar  76.2  44.1  0.79
 Apr  84.7  50.7  0.24
 May  93.6  58.5  0.11
 June  102.6  67.1  0.06
 July  105  75.1  0.97
 Aug  101.5  73.1  1.39
 Sep  99.3  67.5  0.59
 Oct  90.1  55.7  0.74
 Nov  76.8  43.5  0.64
 Dec  68.3  36.8  1.52

Description

Cultural History

Civil War Re-Enactment
Every year in March, the park sponsors a Re-enactment of the Battle of Picacho Pass. Arizona State Parks sponsors many re-enactments of history throughout its 25 park system. Since many people only know of the battles that were fought in the eastern states, this desert battle becomes another history lesson.

The clothing, camp lifestyle, food, and stories told by the soldiers in the southwest during the 1860s make this event even more intriguing. More than 150 re-enactors from the Southwestern area camp at Picacho Peak State Park.

Spectators are welcome to tour the recreated military camps which will include demonstrations such as laundering, candle making, sewing, cooking and the fashions of the era. This is a family oriented event and will have handicap access.

Natural History

Plants
Plants within Picacho Peak State Park lie within the Lower Sonoran Life zone. They include mesquite, Paloverde and acacia trees; Crucifixion Thorn, Ocotillo, cholla, prickly pear and Saguaro Cactus.

Animals
Jack and cottontail rabbits, Mule Deer, Javelina, Coyotes, ground squirrels, pack rats and numerous lizards and snakes live within the park. Many species of birds call the park home. Mountain Lions, Bighorn Sheep and Coyotes have been observed.

Geology
Even though bizarre-looking Picacho Peak looks much like a volcanic neck, it is actually the faulted, tilted and eroded remains of a sequence of lava flows, except for the summit, which contains a large block of Precambrian granite.

The Picacho Mountains are the light-colored hills directly across I-10. Their northern end is composed of gneiss, their southern end of the same granite comprising the dome of the Santa Catalinas.

Things To Do

  • Camping
  • Picnic areas
  • Birding and wildlife viewing

Hiking Trails

Nature Trail: 1/2-mile round trip
Children's Cave Trail: 1/2-mile round trip
Sunset Vista Trail: 3.1 miles to peak (elevation 3,374)
Hunter Trail: 2.0 miles to peak (elevation 3,374)
Calloway Trail: 0.7 miles to Overlook

Camping & Lodging

All Campsites Are Now Electric!
The entire campground at Picacho Peak State Park has been converted into electric sites. The electric rate of $25.00 per night, per vehicle will be charged regardless of whether electricity is being used or not. Sites are suitable for RVs and/or tents.

Rules, Regulations, Precautions

Campground

  • Camping is allowed only in designated areas.
  • Camping is first come, first served. No reservations are available.
  • Checkout time is 2 pm.
  • Quiet Hours are 10 pm to 6 am.
  • Stay limit is 14 nights within a 30 day period.

General

  • Drive only on designated roadways.
  • Wood fires are prohibited. Charcoal and Duraflame fires are acceptable.
  • No soliciting or selling.
  • Pets must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet.
  • Obey posted speed limits.
  • Littering is unlawful.
  • Visitors are responsible for knowing all park rules and regulations, which are posted in the park

Resources & Nearby Attractions

Resources


Cities & Towns

Parks & Monuments

Recreation & Wilderness Areas

  • Buenos Aries National Wildlife Refuge: 70 miles southwest.
  • Sabino Canyon Recreation Area: 45 miles southeast.
  • Coronado National Forest: 20 miles southeast..

Historic & Points of Interest

P.O. Box 275
Picacho, Arizona 85241
520 466-3183

 


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