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Picture Rocks Wash to Peak 3263, AZ

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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 830 feet
Accumulated Gain 885 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10.73
 Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Peak
 Dogs not allowed
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13  2008-02-25 fricknaley
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 396
Photos 4,212
Trips 3,557 map ( 23,275 miles )
Age 47 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Associated Areas
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Tucson Region
Historical Weather
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Preferred Jan, Dec, Feb, Nov
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:19am - 7:25pm
Official Route
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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 offers superb views of the desert for those interested in a fun little bushwhack to its 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 the lovely 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 and 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 its 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 its northern end. After you've gone about 0.5 miles, you can break out of the right side of the wash and start climbing. The climb is 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, only 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 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.

 Permit $$

Saguaro National Park
2022 $25 vehicle • $20 motorcycle • $15 individual on foot or bicycle
Receipt is valid for 7 days
$45 Annual Park Pass View All

No fee required from Miller Creek Trailhead off Mescal Rd.

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 pullout area to the right. Park here. The trails take off just across the street.
 90+° 8am - 6pm kills
Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool

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