Picacho Peak State Park in Arizona – a family fav with us!

The first year that we traveled, we didn’t know where to go or what to do.  We were just winging it.
and loving the adventure of it all.
When our first state park didn’t end up being a good fit for us (thanks to some creepy stalker taking pics of our little girls), we moved to Picacho Peak.  And boy were we ever glad we did!   It quickly became dear to us, and it still is!

We love Arizona State Parks!  They are great family friendly and budget friendly destinations! ourtravelingtribe.com

Located immediately off of I-10, an hour south of Phoenix, and 40 minutes north of Tucson, this Arizona State Park is a great stop for RVers!

Sometimes, when you enter the park, you can see javalina off to the left of the road between the entrance gate and the ranger houses.  We didn’t get to see any on this short stay but we have seen them multiple times before.The peak at Picacho Peak State Park in Arizona is a great hike!  | ourtravelingtribe.com*Picacho Peak, which the park is named for, is the left point on the far mountain in the middle, right above the picnic area shelter.  ‘The saddle’ is the lower part on the right side of the pic.

Picacho Peak is one of several small mountains that jut up from what is otherwise a fairly level desert plain.  Rising 1500 feet above the park, the peak is a popular destination for serious hikers, which the park’s numerous other trails are a draw to the casual roamer as well.

picacho peak state park is a great place to hike, learn about cactus, and blacklight scorpions! | ourtravelingtribe.com

We like Picacho Peak for numerous of reasons!
Yes, we have hiked the peak numerous times (well, some of us) – in fact, Joel hiked it the first time we were here, cables and planks and all. He was 6.  (please don’t attempt that unless yours is used to hiking, and obedient! lol.)

Getting ready to hike Picacho Peak - starting out from

We love that the rv sites have electricity (there is a dump station and water available also), and the bathhouses are neat and clean.  And we even like the scorpions. when they are outside and we are blacklighting them. NOT when I find on in my towel in the shower.  Picacho Peak State Park in Arizona is gorgeously green in the early spring!  | ourtravelingtribe.comWe really love all the opportunities to get out and explore via the many hiking trails!We have grown to love the beauty of the desert. Picacho Peak was one of our first stops in AZ, and it's been a favorite ever since! | ourtravelingtribe.com

 

The visitor’s center is small, but the friendly rangers there have maps that show the different hikes around Picacho, including difficulty recommendations and mile lengths.  They can also give you time frame recs, tho they did tell me to give 4 hours for a round trip saddle hike, and 2 to do the peak from the picnic area (so about one from the saddle).  You can check out the map of the park here, and plan your excursions ahead of time!…PIPE_Park_Map (the boys did the Sunset Trail, starting at the Trail Head,up to the peak, then came down Hunter Trail to that trail head).
The boys were on a mission to do it during our short stay, and after we set up for the night, they set out – did the saddle hike, adding in the peak, and were done in 2.5 hours.  They were on a mission!

Picacho Peak State Park has great hiking paths!  | ourtravelingtribe.com

Spring is our favorite time to visit  Picacho (tho anytime in winter is lovely too!) – the cactus are in bloom, and they are stunning…

Cactus blossoms are so beautiful - and no better place to check them out than at Picacho Peak State Park! | ourtravelingtribe.com

Picacho Peak is some rugged country, as is much of Arizona, but it is stunningly beautiful!  We love the saguaro best of all the cactus – they have so much character! Picacho Peak is a fabulous state park if you like to get out and explore! Hiking is fab here! | ourtravelingtribe.com And while the desert looks pretty barren from afar, when we get up close and check it out, there are so many different plants that are not familiar to us.

 

During our first visit to Arizona over 5 years ago, we thought, ‘this is so ugly, why would anyone want to live here?’, but now we find it has a draw on us, and we love to spend time here!

Picacho Peak is a great hike, even for kids! | ourtravelingtribe.com

Nearly to the peak…

The view from Picacho Peak is stunning no matter the time of day!  | ourtravelingtribe.com

On the hike from the saddle to the peak, there are several sets of cables.

Parts of the Picacho Peak peak hike include several sets of cables.  | ourtravelingtribe.com

Lots of rocks.  Well, it’s just a really big rock, so the guys usually wear their gloves.

There are several sets of cables on the way to the peak at Picacho Peak State Park! | ourtravelingtribe.com

From the saddle…

The view from PIcacho Peak (AZ) is stunning no matter the direction, no matter the time of day!  | ourtravelingtribe.com

Love to see brothers take off and do stuff together.  The peak hike at Picacho Peak is a great one for teens to accomplish on their own!  | ourtravelingtribe.comThe boys started on this hike late (I won’t admit what time – not too worried if they had to sleep on the mountain. lol.), but wanted to do the peak, so they left their dad and Joel at the saddle, and climbed to the peak.
(just above the saddle.  the campground is those little white dots way down there between their caps)

The view from halfway between the saddle and the peak at Picacho Peak State Park in Arizona. | ourtravelingtribe.com

On top of the world…The view from Picacho Peak State Park in Arizona.  | ourtravelingtribe.com
The boys took a few pics, then headed down so they could make it back to the picnic area before dark.  They almost made it. rofl.  (the mountain closes at dusk. shhh!

Love the beauty of the desert!

Springtime is a great time to visit the desert!  Picacho Peak St Pk offers a fab variety of cactus to observe!  | ourtravelingtribe.com

We also love Picacho Peak’s rich history!
Did you know that there was a Civil War battle in Arizona???  We hadn’t either until our first visit to the park.  And maybe ‘battle’ is a little bit of an exaggeration, but there was certainly a conflict when Confederate and Union scouting parties met here, and the Battle of Picacho Pass followed.

Picacho Peak State Park in Arizona was the scene of Arizona's only Civil War action.  | ourtravelingtribe.com

There are plaques and monuments that explain, and commemorate, the event.

We missed it by just a week, but every March the park hosts a weekend long commemoration of the event with a reenactment and other CW era displays/exhibits.

Believe it or not, Picacho Peak was the site of a Civil War skirmish!!!  | ourtravelingtribe.comNear the Battle of Picacho Pass display area, there is a nature walk which is a gravel loop winding through the desert.

Springtime means new cactus growth!  | ourtravelingtribe.com

Very family friendly, and educational, we always enjoy hiking the trail and learning more about the different plants in this area. Picacho Peak st pk has a desert walk where different varieties of cacti and trees are labeled!  | ourtravelingtribe.com The first year we were in awe; we had no idea there were so many different cactus!  Now we are a little more knowledgeable, but still enjoy the walk.There are many kids of cacti represented at Picacho Peak State Park. | ourtravelingtribe.com

Barrel Cactus fruit…

Did you know that cactus produce fruit?  They do, check out this barrel cactus!  | ourtravelingtribe.com

Did you know that cactus produce fruit?  We hadn’t.  Down here in Arizona, the fruit of the Saguaro is especially popular, kind of a regional specialty, and you can purchase ice cream, jelly, candy, and other foods made from the fruit of the saguaro.  The kids weren’t horribly impressed with the ice cream – tho it was ice cream, so they didn’t complain either!

Informative plaques tell about the local flora and fauna at Picacho Peak State Park in Arizona  | ourtravelingtribe.com

We have grown to love the Arizona desert.Picacho Peak offers lovely views, even from the campground!  | ourtravelingtribe.comEspecially in the springtime.  Far from barren, and certainly not unpopulated by native animals, there is so much beauty to see here if you bother to stop and notice.

We love Arizona State Parks!  They are great family friendly and budget friendly destinations! ourtravelingtribe.com

The sunsets aren’t too bad here either.

Arizona sunsets can't be matched!  | ourtravelingtribe.com

Picacho Peak State Park is our favorite Arizona State Park!  It’s great for RVers whether it’s for a layover, or for exploring in and from.  Campsites are $25/night for 30/50 amp sites (no water/sewer, but available closeby), and are big family, big rig friendly!  You can find out more about Picacho Peak on their Arizona State Parks website, here.  Check it out, then come back and let us know what you thought of it!

Lilla Rose

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Comments

  1. Looks like a beautiful state park and enough to do to keep all the kids busy. Can hardly wait to see your new home. too.

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