Picacho Peak State Park

Picacho Peak rises 1500 feet above the desert floor just north of Tucson, Arizona. Picacho Peak State Park is ideal for hiking, camping, picnicking, and simply enjoying the great outdoors.

Picacho Peak has hikes for all abilities, so there is something for everyone. Both the Sunset Vista Trail and the Hunter Trail lead to the peak, which has an elevation of 3374 feet. The Hunter Trail is narrow and winding. Bring gloves to grip the steel cables anchored into the rock where the surfaces are slick and bare. Easier hikes include the 12 mile round trip Nature Trail, the 12 mile round trip Children’s Cave, and the.7 mile Calloway Trail to a scenic overlook.

Cooler temperatures are associated with higher elevations. Picacho Peak is cooler than the desert floor below even in the height of summer. The hottest months in this region are June and September, when the average temperature is just over 100 degrees. The State Park is open all year and has 3500 acres of wilderness.

Picacho State Park is located approximately 35 miles north of Tucson, just west of Interstate 10. (exit 219). These are the light-colored hills across the highway. The northern end of the range is made up of gneiss rock, while the southern end is made up of granite. Picacho Peak’s summit contains a large chunk of Precambrian granite.

Plants from the Lower Sonoran Life Zone can be found here. Paloverde, mesquite, and acacia trees, as well as ocotillo, cholla, prickly pear, crucifixion thorn, and saguaro cactus, can be found. Javelina, mule deer, rabbits, squirrels, snakes, lizards, coyotes, big horn sheep, and the occasional mountain lion live in this area.

Picacho Peak State Park has about 100 campsites that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are restrooms with showers as well as 22 developed RV sites with hookups. Camping fees are reasonable, at $10 per night without hookups and $15 per night with hookups. Group camping is also available but must be reserved in advance.

An annual Civil War re-enactment is held here each spring. The most significant Arizona battle of the Civil War took place here in April 1862, when Union forces from California attacked a Confederate scouting party. The battle lasted only an hour and fifteen minutes, and three Union soldiers were killed.

Over 200 “re-enactors” take over the mountain on horseback and on foot, reenacting the Battle of Picacho Pass. They recreate military camps complete with authentic uniforms, clothing, food, and the southwest lifestyle of the 1860s. Mock battles are held for everyone to watch and learn from. Every year, families are welcome to attend and watch demonstrations and hear stories from soldiers. This event is great for the whole family and reveals a little-known piece of Civil War history.

Each spring, the spring wildflower bloom coincides with the Civil War re-enactment. This is an excellent time to visit Picacho Peak State Park’s trails and enjoy a sea of desert wildflower blooms.

Depending on the season, entrance fees range from $3 to $6 per vehicle (with four adults). Bicyclists and walk-ins are charged only $2 to enter the park.

Pets are welcome but must be kept on a leash at all times.

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


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