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Saturday, February 7, 2009


PICKETPOST MOUNTAIN Superior Quikrete is pretty handy stuff and it’s a good thing that some enterprising mountaineer used the instant cement mix to create footholds and a secured boulder where bare rock goes vertical on Picketpost Mountain. The little Quikrete ledges reduce the risk of plunging over ocotillo and hedgehog cacti into stony oblivion. But the little cheater steps aren’t visible from the trailhead; which is why, at first glance, the hill looks insurmountable. Once on the trail, though, the chutes and gullies that stair step to the top become apparent. The hike begins by following an old mine road for about a half mile. At that point, a rock cairn on the left indicates the summit spur trail. Here, the terrain becomes rugged and the hiking gets steadily steeper involving rock scrambling with easy-to-find hand and foot holds. The arduous climbing ends abruptly as sky comes into view over the mountain. From there it’s an easy haul through desert scrub to the crest of the mesa where a bright red mailbox, (secured with Quikrete), proclaims the high point. LENGTH: 6 miles RATING: Moderate ELEVATION: 2,370 – 4,372 feet GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, take Highway 60 east past Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Between milepost 221 and 222, look for a nice new sign that reads "Picketpost Trailhead" on the right side of the road . Follow the signs along the maintained dirt road for one mile to the trailhead.

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