Hike | Picketpost Mountain | Superior
- Length: 4 miles (round trip)
- Trailhead Elevation: 2,400 ft.
- Gain/Loss: +1921 ft.
- Difficulty: Difficult
- Dog Friendly: Yes, but the scramble would be very difficult with a dog
Picketpost Mountain is a short, beautiful Sonoran desert hike with 360 degree views of the surrounding area. The mountain is an ancient volcano and is a prominent landmark near Superior, AZ.
The trailhead is found less than 2 miles south of the U.S. 60 and is very well marked and easy to get to. The trailhead has bathroom facilities and I believe it has a water spout. The Picketpost trailhead is part of the Arizona Trail and there is a beautiful sign greeting you and providing information at the trailhead. There is no parking or day use fee and there are plenty of spaces to park. The way to Picketpost Mountain begins on the AZ Trail for about 1/4 mile and then veers left at a crossing marked with a cairn (see picture above). From this point the trail begins it's accent up towards the summit at a moderate climb. After about 3/4 to 1 mile the trail reaches the draw which carries water from the top of the mountain down into the valley and dry washes when it rains. The trail becomes very rocky and you will begin about a 1 mile well marked scramble directly towards the summit. The trail is marked by blue and white spray paint from some idiot (or idiots) who think that defacing the desert is okay if you are marking a trail. I do not condone this activity nor do I think their markings are necessary. Cairns do a fine job. There is some climbing that requires all four limbs. You will see sheer cliffs ahead of you to your left which are simply magnificent. Don't let these guys scare you off, you won't be climbing them! Instead, you stay to the right of them and continue south/southeast.
Make sure to turn around and stop every so often to take in the beautiful desert behind you. On a clear day it is easy to see Weaver's Needle and The Flatiron. Once you make your way above the cliffs and up the smooth draw you are near the summit. After coming up and out of the draw you will continue on the trail towards the southeastern side of the mountain. Here you will find the famous Picketpost Mountain mailbox. There is an interesting story inscribed on the inside of the box and several notebooks filled with names of individuals and dates hiked. You will also find an iron bench that was trekked up the trail. Enjoy the views, they are absolutely spectacular. I especially like looking towards the south into the vast desert that separates the Phoenix area from Tucson. It is well worth the 2 mile scramble to the top. Take pictures, sign your name on a notepad (pens are usually left in there) and return the way you came.
Map To Trailhead
Directions: From Florence Junction, drive east on US 60 for 9 miles. After mile marker 221, continue 0.5 miles and turn right (south) onto FR 231 (this point is 4 miles west of the town of Superior on US 60.) Drive 0.4 miles and turn left onto FR 310. Continue 0.6 miles, and then turn right at a sign for Picketpost Trailhead. You will see the large metal AZT sign marking the trailhead in 0.1 miles.