Picacho Peak Revisited

A favorite 
get-away destination!


Yikes! Are we establising a tradition??

One of our very favorite places to go for a quick get-away is

Picacho Peak State Park.  It’s about 45 miles north of Tucson on I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix. We like it because not only is it close (we can be there in an hour) but there are always plenty of sites to choose from (both back-ins and pull-throughs), they allow camp fires, and it is one of the best-maintained parks in the Arizona State Park system in our estimation. The volunteers and camp hosts make sure each campsite is clean for the next group of campers almost as soon as it is vacated...they clean out the fire pit and rake the campsite so that it’s all fresh and ready. Each campsite has a picnic table and metal fire pit/grill, and most are set up with a tent space as well as a paved pad for RVs. There are also handicapped sites and several sites have ramadas. There are 2 loops of electrical hookups, one with non-electrical sites, and several group sites with varying ammenities. The bathrooms and showers (2  buildings) are clean and well-maintained as well. There is no water at the campsites, but potable water is available. There is also a dump station. There are several hiking trails of varying difficulty one can take, and there are plenty of day-use picnic areas, including a playground for the kiddies. 

The area is geologically interesting, and historically, it is the site of the western-most battle of the Civil War. Each year in early March over 200 re-enactors in period clothing and living in authentic Civil

War camps re-enact the battles of Valverde,

Glorietta Pass and Picacho Pass. There are

also period demonstrations.  Check

out the state park events schedule for more

info. I believe the Arizona Unit of the WBCCI

(Airstreamers club) has a rally each year at

Picacho during the re-enactment. (Photo

courtesy of the Arizona State Parks website.)

And the Four Corners Unit (4CU) is

having its first New Year’s Rally at Picacho

                               29 December 07 - 1 January 08. Unfortanately, we had

                                    already made plans to spend our post-Christmas-

                                      through-New-Year’s trip on the lower Colorado River

                                   at Buckskin Mountain and Cattail Cove State Parks, as

                                     we have done in years past...so we will not be able to join this fun-loving group of Airstreamers this time. We were at Buckskin and Cattail for New Year’s 2005 and 2006, but could not make it for 2007...so we looking forward to doing it again this year...the first year with the Bambi in tow!

But I digress....back to Picacho. Another draw for Picacho is the spring desert bloom (if we have had enough winter rain).  It is absolutely gorgeous there and so green it’s almost surreal.  This is the one time of the year it may be “iffy” getting one of the first-come, first-served camp sites on the weekend.

When we are coming home from a longer trip from this direction, we sometimes spend our last night on the road at Picacho, just to get a good night’s rest and collect ourselves after a long day’s drive so we can make our “re-entry” into Tucson during daylight. Even in the summer when day-time temps are

100 degrees plus and it’s virtually deserted, the nights are bearable, and RVers traveling I-10 often come in at dusk or after dark and leave before the heat of the day. (Summer time prices are a bargain, too! $15 for electical sites as opposed to $20 in the Fall, Winter, and Spring seasons.) 

The weather for this trip pleasant...60s/70s in the day and 40s at night. This weekend a cold front moved through southeatern Arizona and the areas south and east of Tucson had the winter’s first freeze warnings. Since Picahcho is north and west of Tucson, we were on the western edge of that cold front, so it wasn’t so bad, though the skys were overcast or partly cloudy much of the time...but that was OK...just makes for great sunsets!  We didn’t use the AC at all this trip...but did use the heat pump in the mornings and evenings to keep the chill away...no furnace this trip, either...just warm bedding and doggies.

We have stayed at Picacho many times, in all seasons, and every time, we are struck with its rugged desert beauty, magnificent saguaros, sweeping desert views, and stunning sunsets.  If you plan to visit Picacho, don’t forget your camera...you’ll be glad you have it. And even though you’ll see the twinkling moving ribbon of constant traffic on I-10, the lights of civilization on the far northwestern horizon, and the occasional train rumbling by along the interstate, we find it remarkably “away,” peaceful and removed from the everyday worries of the world.

In fact 2 weekends later we took off for a shorter long weekend the Friday after Thansgiving through Monday.  We mostly ate Thanksgiving leftovers and relaxed...and we camped on a different loop for that visit. The highlight of that weekend was meeting Louis & Sergio from Phoenix. They are members of   Airforums.com, was we are...where we made their acquaintance. They had made a Thanksgiving trip down to Bisbee, AZ and stopped in at Picahco Peak on their way home on Sunday to look up us. (We were easy to find as we were the only other Airstream in the park!)  They have a great vintage Amabassador Airstream that they’ve only had since July, and have already gotten it back on the road...not to mention other improvements. It’s very cool. We hope to share an Airsteraming adventue down the road with them sometime this spring so we can get to know them better...

Click on the slide show graphic below to view some pics. At the bottom of the page, click on “Other Trips” to take you to a page to access other trip logs.  Enjoy!