Picketpost Mountain

Picketpost Mountain

Picketpost Mountain in Superior Arizona

Picketpost Mountain, located in Arizona, is a prominent peak within the Sonoran Desert that offers a challenging yet rewarding hiking experience for outdoor enthusiasts. The mountain, which reaches an elevation of 4,378 feet above sea level, is situated near the town of Superior and is part of the Tonto National Forest. The unique geological features and diverse flora and fauna make Picketpost Mountain an alluring destination for hikers, photographers, and nature lovers alike.

The Picketpost Mountain Trail is a 4-mile round trip hike that features a steep ascent through a series of switchbacks, rocky terrain, and occasional scrambling. As the trail winds its way up the mountain, hikers are greeted with panoramic views of the surrounding desert landscape, including the Superstition Mountains to the east and the distant peaks of the Four Peaks Wilderness to the north. During the spring months, the mountain’s slopes are adorned with vibrant wildflowers, adding an extra layer of beauty to the experience.

In addition to its natural splendor, Picketpost Mountain also holds historical significance. The mountain served as a strategic lookout point for Apache warriors during conflicts with European settlers in the late 19th century. Furthermore, remnants of mining operations from the region’s rich mineral history can still be found in the area today.

As with any outdoor adventure, it is essential for visitors to Picketpost Mountain to come prepared. This includes wearing appropriate hiking footwear, carrying adequate water supply, and adhering to Leave No Trace principles to preserve the pristine condition of this Arizona gem. By respecting both the natural environment and fellow hikers, Picketpost Mountain will remain a cherished destination for generations to come.

Fast Facts

Picketpost Mountain as seen from inside of Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

Country: United States

State/Province: Arizona

Mountain Range: Northeast Tucson Area

Parents: Northeast Tucson Area

Elevation: 4,378 feet / 1,334 meters

Prominence: 1,455 feet / 443 meters

Isolation: 5.02 miles / 8.08 kilometers

Nearest Higher Neighbor (NHN): Apache Leap


Flora and Fauna

Colorful Picketpost Mountain, east of Phoenix and near the town of Superior, Arizona | Tim Roberts Photography

Picketpost Mountain, located in Tonto National Forest in Arizona, is a haven for diverse flora and fauna. The area’s unique geological and climatic features provide an ideal habitat for a wide range of plants and wildlife. The mountain’s elevation, coupled with its location within the Sonoran Desert, creates a distinctive ecosystem that supports an impressive variety of species.

The flora found on Picketpost Mountain is predominantly characterized by desert-adapted plants, including various species of cacti, such as saguaro, barrel, and cholla. Additionally, the mountain is home to several types of trees and shrubs like mesquite, palo verde, and ocotillo. The presence of these plants not only enhances the scenic beauty of the area but also plays a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance by providing shelter and sustenance to numerous animal species.

In terms of fauna, Picketpost Mountain is known for its diverse wildlife population. The mountain serves as a habitat for several mammals such as mule deer, javelina, and mountain lions. Moreover, smaller mammals like jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, and various species of rodents can also be spotted in the area. The mountain’s unique ecosystem supports a rich diversity of birdlife, including raptors like the red-tailed hawk and the golden eagle, as well as smaller birds such as hummingbirds and songbirds.

Reptiles are also an integral part of the Picketpost Mountain ecosystem. The area is home to several snake species, including rattlesnakes, coachwhip snakes, and gopher snakes. Lizards, like the desert spiny lizard and the Gila monster, are also commonly found in the region.

Picketpost Mountain is a treasure trove of flora and fauna that showcases the beauty and resilience of desert ecosystems. The preservation and conservation of this unique environment are crucial for maintaining its ecological balance and ensuring the long-term survival of the plants and wildlife that call it home.


View of Picketpost Mountain on Arizona National Scenic Trail in Tonto National Forest, Superior, Arizona | Norm Lane

Picketpost Mountain offers a unique and challenging hiking experience for outdoor enthusiasts. The trails surrounding this majestic mountain provide visitors with a diverse range of terrains and scenic views that are unparalleled in the region. With its rich history and breathtaking landscapes, Picketpost Mountain has become a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers alike.

The Picketpost Mountain trails offer a variety of routes for hikers of all skill levels. Beginners can enjoy the well-maintained and relatively flat Arizona Trail, which meanders around the base of the mountain. This trail provides the perfect opportunity to appreciate the stunning desert flora and fauna while getting acclimated to the area’s climate and terrain.

For more experienced hikers, the Picketpost Summit Trail offers a challenging ascent to the summit of the mountain. This 4-mile round-trip trail features a steep incline, with an elevation gain of over 2,000 feet. Along the way, hikers will encounter rocky outcroppings, narrow switchbacks, and breathtaking vistas of the surrounding desert landscape. At the summit, visitors will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the Arizona wilderness, as well as a unique mailbox containing notes and mementos from fellow hikers.

In addition to its exciting trails, Picketpost Mountain also holds historical significance, as it was once utilized as a military heliograph station during the Apache Wars in the late 1800s. Remnants of this history can still be found along the trails, adding an extra layer of intrigue for those who choose to explore this remarkable area.

Picketpost Mountain offers a diverse range of trails for hikers seeking adventure and natural beauty in the heart of Arizona’s rugged wilderness. With its challenging terrain, fascinating history, and awe-inspiring views, Picketpost Mountain is a must-visit destination for any outdoor enthusiast.

Neighboring Peaks

Spring in the Superstition Mountains, Cliff on Picketpost Mountain | Angela Feltes

Picketpost Mountain is surrounded by several notable peaks and mountain ranges in the vicinity. The closest mountains to Picketpost Mountain include:

Apache Leap: Located immediately to the southeast of Superior, Arizona, Apache Leap is an escarpment that overlooks the town and is steeped in local legend and history.

Iron Mountain: This is another nearby peak, situated to the west of Picketpost Mountain, offering a different type of hiking experience compared to the rigorous climb of Picketpost.

Superstition Mountains: To the northeast of Picketpost Mountain lies this popular and legendary range, known for the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine and a network of trails offering various levels of hiking difficulty.

Teapot Mountain: A smaller peak to the west of Picketpost, Teapot Mountain is recognized for its unique rock formations and provides a picturesque view for hikers and photographers.

These nearby landmarks are part of the intricate and beautiful topography that defines the Tonto National Forest and the surrounding Sonoran Desert in Arizona. Each of these mountains and ranges offers its own unique outdoor experiences and panoramic views of the expansive desert landscape.

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