Picketpost Mountain - Tonto National Forest
|A short, steep hike to the
summit of Picketpost Mountain near Superior, AZ.
drive east on route 60 towards the small town of
Superior. Drive 0.5 miles past mile marker 221
and turn right (south) on Forest Road (FR) #231
(look for the aluminum windmill to the south).
Drive 0.4 miles to a signed junction with FR
#310. Turn left, remaining on FR #231, and drive
0.6 miles to the huge Picketpost parking area,
complete with bathrooms and hitching posts.
|Moderate (multiple branching
|Sunny and breezy
|From the parking lot, pick up
the Arizona Trail which begins just behind the
large gate and sign for (what else?) the AZ
Trail. Walk 5-10 minutes along this dirt road,
following a shallow wash to your left. Just
after you pass a prominent drainage which starts
at the top of Picketpost Mountain (which if you
haven't guessed already, is the large rock to
your left) and ends in the dry wash you are
paralleling, look for a cairned path which
branches left (UTM
483722mE, 3680869mN). Turn left, crossing the wash and
pick up another jeep road which heads up the
foothills of the mountain. After walking another
10 minutes, the road ends at an old mine and
you'll see a heavily damaged sign (the result of
bullet holes ... of course) which indicates the
start of the Picketpost Trail. The trail heads
more steeply towards the mountain through
typical Sonoran desert vegetation consisting of:
prickly pear, saguaro, jojoba, cholla, ocotillo,
agave, palo verde, brittlebush, barrel cactus
and mormon tea. As you continue to climb steeply
toward the mountain the trail fades. In places
you'll find that some well intentioned nitwit
(the worst kind) has tagged the rocks with spray
paint at frequent intervals. You can follow the
markings or simply choose the path of least
resistance. Your goal is the prominent cleft in
the ridge above. You might find a cairned route
splitting right into a dry wash. Both routes
wind up at the same place, I like the cairned
route though since you don't have to bear
witness to as much unsightly vandalism. The two
paths eventually join at the cleft then climb
right up it a short distance, before bending
left out of the wash to complete the climb to
the rim. Once on the rim, the path climbs at a
noticeably less aggressive grade to the summit
with mailbox and register. Enjoy the view, and
when ready, return the way you came.
|Rating (1-5 stars):
I'm usually not a big fan of these short, peak
bagging type hikes; especially when located
close to population centers. But as far as these
types of hikes go, Picketpost is a pretty good
one. It's a fun hike with nice desert scenery
and some great views. The author and his wife
completed this hike at a moderate pace in 3
hours 15 minutes.
|Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
big barrel cactus.
The cleft to the summit.