Arizona's state parks are well-known for their beauty, cleanliness, and friendliness. Campers, hikers, and RVers travel from near and far to experience the incredible scenery and coveted tranquility of the Arizona wilderness.
Picacho Peak State Park, situated between Tucson and Phoenix, is one such destination. The park draws visitors due to its resplendent wildflowers, soaring peaks, and challenging hikes.
Never been to Picacho Peak State Park? This guide will provide everything you need to know to camp, hike, climb, or sightsee with family and friends.
Picacho Peak is approximately 40 minutes from Tucson, depending on where you live. The park is a cinch to get to! Simply get on to I-10 W and drive until you see signs for the state park. Of course, you will also notice the distinctive peak (with an elevation of 2000 feet) before you get there!
The cost is $7 per vehicle (maximum of 4 adults in the car) or $3.00 per individual (if you are arriving on foot or bicycle).
No. That is a pass for national parks.
Most people visit Picacho Peak State Park to hike one of the five available trails - or to camp overnight when the weather is nice.
It depends on the time of day or night, the season, and the amount of people at the park. It is possible - but not particularly likely - that you will see rabbits, squirrels, bats, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, bobcats, javelinas, lizard, gopher snakes, garter snakes, rattlesnakes, toads, tortoises, and mountain lions.
Yes. There are restrooms at the Visitor Center, as well as at nine other spots around the park.
Yes. That being said, it is not recommended that you and/or your pet hike when the temperature is over 100 degrees. You may also want to leave your pet behind when hiking difficult trails (Hunter Trail or Sunset Vista Trail).
Wildflowers typically start blooming in mid- to late February and continue through the beginning of March. You can see bladderpods, brittlebush, Mexican poppies, chuparosa, globemallow, and other various cacti species.
No. You'll have to enjoy and/or photograph the beauty on-site. Removing natural rocks, vegetation, native wood, or public property is prohibited.
The best months for hiking and camping are October, November, December, January, February, March, or April when daytime temperatures typically range between 65-86 degrees.
That being said, the "shoulder months" (September and May) can also be quite pleasant if you check the weather ahead of time.
June, July, and August tend to be unbearably hot with temperatures sometimes hitting at or above 100 degrees.
There are five hiking trails at Picacho Peak State Park:
Hiking trails are open from sunrise to sunset (not at night!). Note that the park itself is open from 5:00am to 10:00pm. Gates close before and after those times and you will not be able to enter the park.
*Note that there are no restrooms between the Hunter Trailhead or Sunset Vista Trailhead to the top of the peak. Be sure to use the restroom prior to beginning your hike.
Depending on your fitness level, it will most likely take between 3 to 4 hours for both trails, with Sunset Vista being slightly faster.
There are 10+ picnic tables throughout the park (most have covered roofs for shade). These are first-come, first-served and are free to use.
Four day-use ramadas are also available for rent at a rate of $25 per day (plus daily entrance fee). Each ramada can accommodate a maximum of 40 people and has four picnic tables, charcoal grills, electricity (lighting and 110 volt outlets), and a water source. Reservations can be made up to one year in advance.
The Visitor Center, which is typically open between 8:00am and 5:00pm, has restrooms, a gift shop (also known as the park store), and vending machines with snacks & drinks available for purchase. At the gift shop, you can buy water bottles, magnets, and other similar souvenirs.
Yes! Kids, who are between the ages of 6 and 12, are eligible to become a Junior Ranger at Picacho Peak State Park. Stop by the Visitor Center, Ranger Station, or Office to ask for a complimentary Junior Ranger booklet. Complete the activities during your visit and then bring it to a Park Ranger for review. When a Park Ranger approves your work, you'll be asked to take the Junior Ranger Pledge and get sworn in as our newest Junior Ranger. You'll also be given a Junior Ranger Button.
The Children's Cave Trail and Nature Trail are ideal for the very youngest hikers since they are both under one mile. Of course, you can also carry babies and toddlers in backpack or front carriers.
The Calloway Trail is a great "in-between" for kids - moderately challenging, but not terribly long or steep.
Hunter Trail and Sunset Vista Trail, on the other hand, are steep, difficult, and rugged - involving some climbing and dangerous areas. Best for ages 7+, but use your own judgement related to you and your child's physical abilities, experience with hiking, and overall strength & stamina. Consult a ranger or ask in the Visitor Center if you have specific questions or concerns.
* Before you go hiking, be sure to stop at the restrooms as they may not be accessible once you set out from the trailhead.
Picacho Peak State Park’s campground has a total of 85 electric sites for both tent and RV camping. All sites are suitable for either RVs or tents. Quiet hours are from 10:00pm to 6:00am. Please be respectful to your neighbors and keep noise to a minimum within this timeframe.
Sites are paved, fairly level, and located in a natural Sonoran Desert setting (ie plenty of sunshine and lots of cactus). Each site has its own picnic table and barbecue/fire ring. Some sites have ramadas and/or wheelchair accessibility so choose accordingly if those amenities are important to you.
Some sites are back-in, while others are pull-through.
No water or sewer hookups are available. That being said, potable water is available at the on-site dump station [not currently available!] and use of the dump station is included in the price for camping.
If you are passing through the area and need to use the dump station, the fee is $15.
Generator use is not permitted at Picacho Peak State Park.
There is no maximum size limit, although tractor trailers are not permitted.
Yes. There are two modern, handicapped-accessible restroom and shower buildings (with hot showers!), which are available at no additional charge for campers.
High-speed WiFi internet access is available at all campsites for an additional fee.
There can be no more than six adults and 10 people total per site. Only one motorhome/RV can be at each site.
Yes, but note that there is a per night fee for second vehicles. The fee must be paid upon arrival at the park. The fee does not apply to vehicles towed behind a primary vehicle when the primary vehicle remains at the site and the towed vehicle is used for transportation.
Be sure to arrive before 10:00pm! The entrance gate to Picacho Peak State Park is closed nightly from 10:00pm to 5:00am.
It depends on the season and the fire danger level. Be sure to call the park ahead of time to see if any restrictions are currently in place.
Not particularly. You will probably need to drive about 30 minutes to get to the nearest grocery store. The best option is to come to the campground well-stocked with food and other supplies. Plan meals ahead of time and bring snacks, water bottles, and other treats with you.
Pack as you would for any other hiking and camping adventure in the Sonoran Desert.
Here is a list to get you started:
Call the Reservation Center between 8:00am and 5:00pm at 877-697-2757. You may also reserve campsites online.
There are four group camping sites at Picacho Peak State Park, which are available by reservation only. Reservations can be made up to a year in advance by calling the park directly.
Yes! You can have your wedding at Picacho Peak State Park! Your first step? Download a Wedding Packet and Wedding Pre-Application. Next, call the park directly to inquire about reservation dates, amenities, and fees.
Here are some things to keep in mind before you go: