Picnic Table Peak
This is one of many hikes that can be found at SARA (Special Activities Recreation Area) Park. SARA is located in the Aubrey Hills just south of Havasu City on 1100 acres. The park has a shooting range, BMX courses, baseball fields, rodeo grounds, a speedway (kind of like a mini PIR), a field for remote control planes, a dog park and, oh yeah, trails. Lots of trails and some gorgeous scenery to go with them. Unfortunately, most of the trails are not signed and many of them seem to divide and multiply like breeding rabbits, especially those near the trail heads. There are three "official" designated trail heads at this park, but all the signed trails are most easily accessed from the middle one. There are four signed trails Green, Red, Blue and Yellow and only the Yellow Trail is accessed at the middle trail head. All the other trails are accessed further in the park by either the Yellow or Blue Trails. (FYI: The Yellow Trail is known as Crack in the Mountain on HAZ).
This hike starts off from the middle trail head. You will know you are the right spot if you see an info board and a black gate that keeps ATV's from the trail. The beginning of this hike starts off on an old ATV path. At .3 miles it drops into a wash. At .55 miles exit the wash to the north. There will be a trail marker at this juncture. Climb a slight hill that will involve several switchbacks until you reach a "T" in the trail. The right trail goes for about .05 miles where it dead ends at a giant rock lizard that was constructed in recent years. It's pretty cool. Check it out and then look for it from an aerial perspective from the top of the peak. After that, return to the "T" juncture and continue along the other path. This where climb begins! You'll gain a little over 600 ft in about .5 miles. The trail does a series of switchbacks and I'm happy to say there is only one spot where side trails occur to throw you off track. At .81 miles there is a rock wall that needs to be scaled. Large rocks have been strategically placed to help the ascent, but it is definitely a hands-feet section. At .91 miles you'll reach the saddle where there are several trails to chose from. You'll need to take the trail that climbs immediately to your left (south). Note: there is another trail that goes south just prior to the saddle. This trail does not gain in elevation and just wraps around the mountain. So, if you are not climbing, you are on the wrong trail. The trail climbs for about .15 miles. Very little switch backing and loose scree, plus the fact you just climbed 350 ft make this last climb a challenge. At 1.06 miles you'll have reached the top....and the picnic table. I dare say there are very few picnic tables that will offer you such a breathtaking view. Or allow you to sit down and have your feet dangle over a 300 ft cliff. If you brought a snack, this is a great place to eat. The table and the rock lizard that you can see far below are courtesy of the Leaping Lizard Tribe. A hiking club based out of Havasu City.
To return, you can go back the way you came. This would be the shortest, but probably the most challenging also. The first part of your descent would be steep and slippery at times and then you have the scaling portion to deal with as well. The alternative is to take a series of gradual switchbacks down the south side of the mountain. This is great option, not only because of the ease of the descent, but because it allows you to see more of this great park. At 1.33 you'll reach a rocky saddle. At this point you will start to see side trail alternatives. The first side trail that you'll see will be heading west down a valley. Great trail! But for the purpose of this lasso we will want to ignore it. Climb over this rocky saddle and continue south down the Lizard Trail. Almost immediately, there will be another side trail heading east and then north. Ignore. This side trail will take you to the saddle that you encountered on your ascent. At about 1.4 miles there will be another split in the trail. Taking the left trail will get you back to the trail head the fastest. In about .25 miles you will be back in the wash (Yellow Trail) and it is a simple matter of following the wash east to get you back to the parking lot for a 2.4 lasso. If you take the right trail at the split there will be a couple of side trails that are scenic overlooks, but you will soon "T" into the Blue Trail. Making a left will bring you down into the wash (Yellow Trail) and heading east will allow you to return to the TH.
Ironically, for all the amenities that this park offers, there are no bathrooms or water sourses at any of the trail heads.
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.
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.