Picacho Peak State Park
You can see the towering peak as you approach the park on I-10 in southern Arizona. At 3,374 feet, Picacho Peak, which gives Picacho Peak State Park its name, is a stunning sight to see. Here are three reasons you should visit Picacho Peak State Park the next time you’re in Arizona.
Ascend the Peak at Picacho
Picacho Peak State Park’s main attraction is the peak and the spectacular Hunter Trail takes you up to its precipitous summit. The trail climbs up one side of the saddle and then descends down the other side, before winding steeply up the mountain. It’s a rugged hike but it’s not too long or difficult, and it’s well worth it when you reach the top. There are steel cables to help if the hike feels too strenuous.
From the summit, you get an astounding view of the surrounding scenery. It’s a 360-degree view that takes in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson to the south, Tabletop Mountain near Casa Grande to the northwest, the green of the desert valley farms fed by the Santa Cruz River to the west, and the many other mountain ranges in the area. The summit offers some of the most breathtaking views in all of Arizona.
The Civil War Was Fought Here??
There is a unique bit of history here at Picacho Peak State Park. You might be surprised to discover that it was the site of Arizona’s only Civil War battle. The country’s westernmost Civil War battle was indeed fought here, but it wasn’t a big one.
A month after an hour-long confrontation between Confederate rangers and Union soldiers here, the Union brought troops from California and there was a second confrontation. This second confrontation, however, wasn’t a violent one. The Confederates caved easily and their dreams of a sea-to-sea confederacy were dashed.
You can learn about the battle at the visitors’ center and a reenactment is held once a year. The area was also significant in Spanish colonial history and you can learn more about it here.
Unspoiled Sonoran Desert
Beyond the peak and the unique history, the area is simply beautiful. The Sonoran Desert offers lots of cacti and other vegetation. You’ll see plenty of Saguaro cactus here. In the spring, especially, the colorful cactus bloom creates a beautiful sight to see, set against the rugged mountain. The park is also celebrated for its spring desert wildflowers. In addition to the teeming flora and fauna, there are interesting and unique geological formations to see.
The Best Camping in Arizona
The campground at Picacho Peak State Park offers some of the best camping in Arizona. There are both hook-up and non-hook-up sites. Because of the year-round moderate temperatures of the area, it offers some of the best camping in Arizona. For those who want to make a day-trip or stop on their way somewhere else, there are ramadas and other day-use areas. There are lots of things to do at Picacho Peak State Park.