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Picture Rocks Wash to Peak 3263, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson W
3 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,400 feet
Elevation Gain 875 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10.68
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
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13  2008-02-25 fricknaley
Author fricknaley
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 383
Photos 3,724
Trips 2,743 map ( 18,146 miles )
Age 43 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Dec, Feb, Nov
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:09am - 6:28pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Picture Perfect
by fricknaley

Peak 3263 is a perfect desert peak in the northern part of Saguaro West National Park, sitting a few miles north of Wasson Peak. A broad pyramid it offers superb views of the desert for those interested in a fun little bushwhack to it's summit. Unless you are out wandering in the desert, you'd probably never know it was there.

From the popular trailhead off Picture Rocks road, cross the street into the broad wash that heads out into the desert. I've talked about this before on the Cactus Canyon and Brittlebush routes, so you can also refer to those. The trail that takes off from the parking lot is the Ringtail. It skirts around the western base of Picture Rocks, through nice desert. In about 0.4 miles you come to a signed intersection for the Mule Deer trail, breaking off to the right. Take this short connector for 0.3 easy miles to the intersection for the Ironwood Forest Trail. Take a left onto the Ironwood Forest trail and head out to Picture Rocks Wash. The Ironwood trail is a very nice, rambling desert trail with fantastic views of the park, as well as the Tortolita and Catalina mountains. Wasson is always present and towards the end you can start to see the picturesque Peak 3263 to the right, with it's smooth north ridge (your route of attack). After roughly 1.2 miles or nearing 2 miles total you will dead end in Picture Rocks Wash.

Hang a right in the wash, an immediate hard left and come to a signed intersection. Brittlebush to the left, Picture Rocks to the right. Take a right and follow the wash as it bends and weaves out into the desert. Follow the wash for right around 0.5 miles. You can see that you are heading to the base of Peak 3263 now, and that it levels out nearly at it's northern end. After you've gone about 0.5 miles you can just break out of the right side of the wash and start climbing. The climb is really done in 3 little series as you head up the northern ridge. There are two false summit type points, each followed by a saddle. Just take these in succession and you will be at the top. The climbing is pretty severe at times, especially heading to the second ridge. There is no trail and the footing is loose. Just take your time, there is no risk of falling off the mountain, just on your butt. From the top the views over the park and southern arizona are great. There's a little cairn, and an ancient register. The last entry I saw was from august, so this peak doesn't get a lot of attention, though it definitely is worthy.

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2008-02-25 fricknaley
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Review
Picture Rocks Wash to Peak 3263
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Yet another after-work special to get in a peak...I started from the trailhead about 2:30 to start my hike. Headed out on the Cam-boh trail to Ironwood Forest, then Picture Rocks wash to the peak. Apparently I did not get my off trail fill on Sunday, so today would be another taste. Most of the hike to the turnoff is sandy wash, easy but a bit slower going. The off-trail portion of this hike is pretty decent too, there is abundant Cholla, but plenty of room to work around it. Made it to the peak for a little break and to sign in the register, I was only the third entry of the year, maybe about 10 entries since 2010. Great views of Wasson and the Catalinas, hazy conditions once again limited long range views. This initial scramble down is pretty steep for the first few hundred feet, I did have to do the butt-scoot in a few spots to keep from toppling over. After the initial down the rest is really easy. I got back on the Picture Rocks Wash trail and took that back all the way to the Ringtail trail, and then that back to the van. Nice hike with great solitude! The only downer is the road noise from Picture Rocks road, but that is lost after the first half mile or so.

Permit $$

Saguaro National Park
2019 $20 vehicle, $15 motorcycle or $10 for any individual on foot or bicycle - the receipt is valid for 7 days Fees

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Tucson take exit 246 off I-10 and go west on Cortaro until it ends at a T. Turn right here onto Ina for a short distance, then Left onto Wade. Wade quickly becomes Picture Rocks Road and crosses through the Tucson Mountains. You'll see a couple of signs announcing Saguaro National Park. As you come down the west side of the mountains from Contzen Pass the road swings hard to the right and there is a paved pull out area to the right. Park here. The trails take off just across the street.
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