I officially feel like climbing Picacho Peak was the hardest hike I’ve done to date and I’ve hiked a 14er (14,000 foot mountain) in Colorado! I would hardly even call it a hike. It was more like a climb without the climbing gear. You literally had to scale rocks on the edge of the mountain. The only thing stopping me from falling off the edge were wire cables they so nicely installed. Wow! It was frightening to me, but I guess to some could be thrilling. I personally was overwhelmed by the climbing and for the first time in my life felt scared of heights! I managed to complete the hike/climb, but it took a lot of adrenalin and I was thoroughly exhausted by the end. It wasn’t the mileage that killed me. It was the factor of being on the edge of the mountain for the whole 2nd half.
We took the Hunter trail which is about 4 miles round trip. In the beginning it’s steep, but it’s a trail. You hike it. No “climbing” involved. Yes, you’re climbing the peak, but not scaling rocks with the fear of death in you. After gaining almost 1,000 ft in altitude, you reach the saddle. Then you descend almost 300 ft! Yes, that’s right you lose what you just gained! This is the beginning of the “fun.” Cables assist you down the steep slick slope. Many people had to stop and rest on the climb back up as it can be a long stretch of ascending for some. I highly suggest gloves for the cables.
The trail goes back around the mountain and starts to ascend steeply to reach the peak. Once again handrails, cables and even bridges (yes, bridges on the edge of a mountain) assist you along the way. I would not recommend this hike to a beginner or anyone under the age of 10. It is definitely a difficult hike and not for the faint of heart. Bring plenty of water, a lunch to enjoy at the top and snacks as well.
I did enjoy the views and I love the cacti! Can’t get enough cacti lately.
Have you done this hike? What did you think of it?