Towering over the small town of Superior, just 40 miles east of the Phoenix area, Picketpost Mountain provides a steep hike that is as rewarding as it is challenging!
Starting from the parking lot, the trail begins by following a portion of the famous Arizona Trail; however, after about a half-mile, the Picketpost Mountain Trail turns to the left and begins a relatively steep climb towards the mountain. Winding through the desert low lands, the trail eventually narrows into a series of slippery, rock-covered switchbacks, which slowly lead to the base of the mountain.
From here, the real work begins! The trail quickly leaves the foothills and advances straight up the mountain side. Fortunately, the trail is well-marked with painted arrows....unfortunately, the vast majority of these arrows are pointing straight up. The next mile is an extremely challenging trek, which is a slow journey that requires much more scrambling than actual walking. My guidebook also warned of a "scary cliff"....it appeared to me that ALL the cliffs along this part were pretty darn scary!
Eventually, the trail flattens again as it reaches the grassy plateau. At the mountains summit is a rusty mailbox with the trips log books. Normally, the plateau provides an amazing view of the surrounding mountain ranges; unfortunately, the sky was completely overcast during my visit.
After enjoying a break at the top, it's time to return down the same path. Although one would expect the return trip to be as difficult as the incline, it actually turned out to be a quick, relatively easy trip, that only required labored scrambling in a few spots. Upon reaching the bottom you can look back in awe that you conquered Picketpost Mountain!To view more pictures of the Picketpost Mountain Trail, click here.