This route leverages the steep, popular Hunter Trail for about 1 mile to the saddle with Picacho Peak. The route is steep but on-trail to the saddle, then becomes an informal climbers path before changing again to a ridge scramble. The route provides wide-open views along the rocky southeastern ridge of “Razorback Ridge,” but may not be enjoyable for hikers with an aversion to moderate exposure.
The southeast ridge of “Razorback Ridge” is short but sweet and utterly scramble-icious. You might just find yourself experiencing a bit of let-down at the summit as you become aware that half your day’s scrambling is now over.
Mileage: Less than 4 miles RT
Elevation Gain: Approximately 1,100 vertical feet
From Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson
Take exit 219 for Picacho Peak Rd for 1/10th of a mile
Turn right at Picacho Peak Rd
Turn left into the state park
- Follow the very clear, well-traveled Hunter Trail for approximately 1 mile to the saddle between Picacho Peak and “Razorback Ridge.”
- Turn right / head northwest on a discernable social/climbers trail and follow this around the western side of the ridge outcrop to a low wall.
- Scramble approximately 15 feet of good 3rd-class rock with big, angular holds.
- Head northwest across a plateau as the final summit ridge looms ahead of you.
- Gaining the obvious summit ridge, the path begins to narrow. At first you are following a dirt footpath but soon you will reach a short knife-edge section.
- The knife-edge is steep to the east and broader but sloping to the west. The ridge here has plenty of good holds, but the penalty for slipping here could be severe.
- Step off the knife’s edge and continue ascending the upper summit ridge. The ridge widens here a bit but provides plenty of airy freedom.
- A few more steps over rocky terrain and you’ll arrive t the summit of “Razorback Ridge.”
Enjoy sweeping desert views including Picacho Peak and Newman Peak before retracing your steps back to the saddle. From here, either extend your trip to the summit of Picacho or descend via the Hunter Trail to parking.
- A lot of water
- Comfortable hiking boots or walking shoes with grippy soles
- A camera to save memories of the high country views
- First aid kit
- Other standard backcountry essentials
- Did I mention “A lot of water?”