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Saturday, March 3, 2012

A striking desert passage of the Arizona Trail

Passage 17 of the Arizona Trail, Superior
Picketpost Mountain

For the first four miles of this undulating passage of state-traversing Arizona Trail, the imposing profile of Picketpost Mountain looms large on its eastern flank until the route's remote interior swallows the stony beast thus making way for spectacular canyon views.  Traveling south from Picketpost trailhead, the path begins as a mild walk in the desert but soon transitions into a roller-coaster-like hike through
Looking toward Superstition Wilderness
gullies, washes and moist drainages where mesquite trees provide what little shade there is to be had in this exposed backcountry.  Because of all the ups-and-downs, this moderate hike feels tougher than it is, so bring extra water and snacks to fuel the trek that ends at the northwest boundary of the White Canyon Wilderness.  Here, you can continue south on the Arizona Trail, Gila River Canyons passage #16  toward Tucson.

LENGTH: 11.5 miles one way
RATING:  moderate
ELEVATION:  2,360' – 3,800'
BEST SEASON: October - March
Mesquite shade

Picketpost Trailhead:
From Phoenix, travel east on US60 to milepost 221—located just before the town of Superior  (if you reach Boyce Thompson Arboretum, you've gone  1.7 miles too far). About 0.4 mile past milepost 221, look for the signed turn off for Picketpost Trailhead (FR 231) on the right.  Turn onto this good dirt road and continue 0.2 mile to a “T” intersection  ---turn left (east) here and go 0.6 mile to the trailhead.
Arizona Trail Association:
Tonto National Forest, Globe Ranger District:
(928) 402-6200
White Canyon Wilderness, Bureau of Land Management


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