Arizona Hiking Trails
El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar
In December 2016 I visited Cactus country in southern Arizona and jumped across the border to El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar reserve in Mexico.
View from the cinder cone above the Tecolote camp, looking towards Cerro Colorado and the northern section of the park.
El Pinacate is accessed by crossing the Sonoyta border station. About halfway to Puerto Penasco, there is a visitor station directly off highway 8. They accepted US dollars for the entrance fee.
The reserve has a second campsite in the southern section called Rojo Cono, which has a longer 7 mile climb. A 4WD vecihle is needed to reach it
The Peralta trail leads to Fremont Saddle with views of Weavers Needle. I completed the full loop here combining the Peralta trail with the Dutchman (20 miles, 2400ft)
There are some places labeled with names that sound like water sources on the map (Bluff spring, Whiskey spring, etc), but there was no water on the loop during my hike
I was the only person camping next to Weavers Needle on a Sunday night in December, although I passed several backpackers in the morning in the back side of the park on the Dutchmans loop.
The most popular area in the Superstition Mountains is Lost Dutchman State Park. I visited for sunset, it requires minimal hiking from the parking area.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
The western section of Organ Pipe is more remote, with a long drive around Puerto Blanco and also the longest hike in the park around Senita Basin (~11 miles from Red Tanks trailhead)
In the eastern section, I camped at Alamo Canyon and drove the Ajo Mountain loop which has pulloffs every mile making it possible to explore
Saguaro National Park West
The trails in Saguaro West are basically several different ways of climbing Wasson peak. The larger and more extensive trail system for backpacking is found in Saguaro East, which I hope to visit on a return trip
The King Canyon-Hugh Norris loop includes the summit of Wasson peak (8 miles, 2000ft return)