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Picacho Peak: Hunter Trail Professional Review and Guide
"Brittlebush Trail runs through the heart of the North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness, offering pristine desert scenery, complete solitude, and a nearly level hike in one of Arizona’s newest national monuments. Arizona Highways featured this trail as Hike of the Month in the December 2003 issue."
--Charles Liu, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Phoenix (Menasha Ridge Press).
I agree about earlier reviews. I did take the Hunter Trail thinking it was shorter, quicker to the top. However it is tough and straight up. I was not fully prepared (going at it alone) and I learned a lot that day. I will hike it again b/c it is a beautiful mountain and glorious views. However, next time I will take the "flatter" Sunset Trail as well and enjoy myself more! Happy Trailing!
This one kicked my butt! Maybe because I didn't get started till noon on a day with 70% humidity and 110 degree heat (according to the park ranger). Or, that I had to park my big-rig across the freeway and pack it in one mile to the trailhead. Or, it could be that the 1st half of the trail is almost all UP! Nonetheless, I was impressed with how well the trail was marked, and how beautiful the views were. I only made it to the "Saddle" which is half way in distance but 3/4 the way in alttitude. Although I had food and water with me, I felt like the mountain would win this one and decided to look forward to a rematch the next time I came through. Hats off to Marsha and her bro for rising to the challenge. 5 stars for difficulty
Fun, quick ascent. We snuck this one in at the end of the season and really enjoyed it. I've driven by here many times and always wanted to hike it. Bring gloves - they're helpful on the cable-assist portions.
Four of us hiked part of this trail on March 9th. Wildflowers were in bloom and the desert floor was covered with a carpet of green with patches of poppies and other flowers. This trail is steep....1000ft/mile. We hiked up to the saddle where we turned around since some in our party felt they were not up to the hike to the summit. The cables on the east side of the mountain up to the saddle are helpful but not necessary for all hikers; they just provide some extra stability; there's no drop-off to worry about. I don't think the same can be said for the hike from the saddle to the summit. There is a lot of loose rock/pebbles on the trail which makes it very easy to slip and slide. Since it was the weekend of a Civil War battle reenactment and wildflowers were blooming there were crowds of people at the park and many on the trail. When I attempt Picacho again, I will take the Sunset Vista trail because, even though it is twice as long, I believe it can be hiked twice as quickly...and I can save my energy for tackling the peak.
104 degrees that day and we started at 0900. It would have been better to start at 0600 because of the heat. The trail guide says at least 2 liters of water but bring 3, and drink at least 2 liters slowly, 2-3 hours before hiking. DON'T eat a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich immediately before attempting a summit. There were some ugly consequences because of that sandwich that I dare not get into here. It was a rough hike, but I was dehydrated and sick. The top was extremely buggy but the view was worth it. Stay on the cables towards the top, otherwise cliffs with 500 foot drops await you. Enjoy!
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