Ever passed by Picacho Peak and wondered what it was like to hike to the top? Well, Ms. Karen and I were visiting Neighbors Ron and Elaine in late December 2021 and we met their family including son Dennis. He showed me photos he had taken on a recent hike up Picacho Peak about 50 miles north of Tucson. I asked him to send them to me for the Guide. Here is his report to me in an email. I only wish my old legs were up to this climb.
"Here are the pictures I got on Picacho Peak. I didn't get any pictures of the mountain or the bulk of the trail. It's mostly the kids and the more interesting sections. Even without harder sections going through the cables and fencing, it's still a difficult hike.
The trail climbs steeply up the front side of the mountain. It's rocky and has lots of bigger steps, and even some small scrambling moves. The saddle is the start of the technical portion of the trail, and it makes for a nice destination if you don't want to do all the scary stuff. Personally, I don't find the trail very exposed, but I know most people do. If you use the cables, it's sufficiently safe.
But you still need to be strong and mobile enough to get yourself up (and down) some big rocks. We have done the hike twice and really like it because it's hard and technical. We go rock climbing and canyoneering and other rope-access outdoor activities, so this kind of thing is in our comfort zone.
For people less used to hanging on the sides of cliffs, the trail will be more of a mental challenge but also more rewarding when they summit. There is definitely more of a sense of accomplishment with this peak than other hikes that are more of a traditional trail."The Hunter Trail is not one for the faint of heart or legs for that matter, nor to be taken in the heat of the summer, and without plenty of water. There have been 4 deaths on Picacho Peak, all of them heat-related. It is 3 to 5 miles out and back depending on which route you take. Here is a good summary article of your choices for HIking Picacho Peak.