Picketpost Mountain is a stunning mountain that rises nearly 2,000 feet from the town of Superior. It resides in a very scenic part of the state between the Superstition Mountains and other beautiful ranges. It itself is not part of any specific range, but is nearly entirely surrounded by other ranges. The view across the valley from Superior of Apache Leap Ridge is incredible.
Picketpost is a lone standing mountain with no ridges connecting to other peaks. The top is a fairly large mesa top with a few false peaks. The trail takes you to the top of the mesa and all the way across it to the other side where the actual peak is. The peak rises about 300 feet from the mesa. The peak has a mailbox on top where the summit log is. This mountain is flanked with both sandstone and volcanic cliffs on all sides and dramatically rises out of the desert floor.
The trail takes you up a gully between the cliffs and has a bit of scrambling as it works through the cliffs. This really fun ascent takes you steeply right up the mountain. There is a steep slick rock area that would be very dangerous to do if it is wet. The trail is not maintained and can be hard to follow at times. You start up a ridge and you have to keep your eye out for where the trail turns.
If you get lost you can always depend on the painted arrows. You will suddenly come to a really steep area. The easy part is now over. Now the trail turns more into a scramble. Watch out for the cacti heading up. Certain areas remind me of climbing Camelback Mountain or Siphon Draw on the Flatiron, but without the crowds. This is a fun and rewarding mountain to hike. Just like with most hikes in the area the brush will scratch you up. It's best to wear some sort of pants that you can still be cool in.
On a clear day the view on top is quite extensive. You can see all the way to Phoenix, The Four Peaks, Superstition Peak and Weavers Needle along with the rest of the Superstitions, The Catalina Mountains near Tucson, and Picacho Peak.
This is a great mountain to do if you're in the area of Phoenix and want to get out and do something that won’t take to long. From Tempe it’s only about an hour's drive. Any sort of vehicle can make it on the short dirt road. Part of the drive takes you on old hwy 60 which is paved but very narrow.
The road leading to Picketpost is only about 5 minutes from the small historic mining town of Superior. The main street is flanked with old mining equipment. The movie A few movies have been filmed here including, How The West Was Won, The Gauntlet
And The Prophecy. From what I understand is that this town is a good little town to check out while you're in the area.
One of the things this town has is the Worlds smallest museum.
Superior is also home to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum which is the oldest and one of the most spectacular Arboretums in the Southwest. The arboretum is located right at the base of Picketpost Mountain.
From Phoenix take US 60 towards the town of Superior. You will drive past the Superstition Mountains and right near a small summit called Silly Mountain. From what I understand, there are people always on top of this pathetic little hill. Just after you pass mile marker 221 turn right on FR 231. You will come to a T and you will see a sign that reads "<-- Picketpost Mountain” Turn left there and it will take you to the Arizona Trail/Picketpost Mountain Trailhead. Hike past the gate on the Arizona trail and keep your eye open for a trail leading towards Picketpost. It can be easily missed. I do believe there is a rock cairn there.
no red tape-free to climb
The summers are way too hot to consider this mountain. The best time is from October to March. Summertime temps are well over 100 degrees and can be over 110. If you choose to hike this mountain in the summer bring a lot of water.
Superior, AZ 10 day forecast
I am not aware of any camping in this area. You can get a hotel in Phoenix or Superior.