One of our favorite state parks is Picacho Peak State Park in Arizona. It’s the first state park that we stopped at and camped at when we first came out west many years ago. It has a special place in our heart.
It’s located between Tucson and Phoenix. The closest shopping is about 20-30 minutes away. It’s right at the exit so it’s super easy to get to. There is an rv resort, ostrich farm (yes you heard me right), gas/diesel, a souvenir shop, Subway and a Dairy Queen at the exit but not much else.
We actually happened upon this state park by mistake the first time. You see when we stopped at the rv resort to see about staying the night, as we were just passing through, they would not let us in. Come to find out, they are a 55 and older park and we are not of age yet. In hindsight I now know that 55 and older parks do need to let a certain percentage of non-55 years olds into the park. However, we did not know that at the time. And quite honestly, with that attitude, we did not want to stay there.
It ended up being a blessing because the only other place to stay was Picacho Peak State Park. We had never stayed at a state park before so we did not even know if we could fit. Looking online, we were sure we could fit and they had 50 amps at the sites!
One of the things that still amaze us is how big the Saguaro Cactus‘s (Cacti?) can get. Our coach is over 12.5 feet and these cacti just towered over us. They can live to be over 150-200 years old and can grow up to 40-60 feet in size!
This is one of our fond memories when we first discovered this park. When we drove through these Saguaro’s for the first time, we felt like we were driving through a movie set, because TV and movies is the only place, up to that point, that we had seen such sites.
It’s not a very big state park however they have some great hiking trails. The Hunter Trail recently won the “Best of Phoenix” winter hike. From the Picacho Peak State Park website: It’s a four-mile-round-trip butt-kicker, harkening to the likes of Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak. Steel cables and planks help nervous hikers overcome the steepest parts, and the 360-degree view at the top of the surrounding desert and nearby mountains is well worth the effort.”
We had a nicely overcast day and decided it was a nice day for a hike. We are not quite up for Hunter Trail (well, David could, I could not) so we set off on the Sunset Trail.
With beautiful views all around, this trail was a great one to try. We hit the trail at around noon and got back to our coach by 4pm. We did not quite make it to the top of Picacho Peak so if you want to attempt this trail; I suggest you start off earlier in the day. We did not want to tempt fate with the overcast skies and the sun starting to go down.
Plus we had slow smoked ribs waiting for us back at the coach. Yes, before we left for the hike, David put a rack of ribs on our cooker. So dinner was done when we got back. Even better!
Another thing we love about this park (and yes, you can get these anywhere out west) are the sunsets. You can see for miles and miles and nothing beats an Arizona sunset. A perfect ending to a perfect day of hiking and ribs.
So if you find yourself on I-10 and your looking for a nice stop over, I suggest you check out Picacho Peak State Park. They have electric at the sites, potable water and dump station available, bathrooms (although we’ve never used them nor looked in them) sites are really large (we have a 45 foot MH and we fit easily with room to spare) and they come with a picnic table and fire ring. Some are pull-thrus but most are back-ins. You can reserve sites online and view them before you select it. We’ve always had really nice rangers and you never know, we may be your neighbors. (Special “Shout Out” to the two other coaches that recognized us when we were there this time.)