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Picnic Table Peak
This is one of many hikes 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 trailheads. There are three "official" designated trailheads 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 trailhead. 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 from the middle trailhead. You will know you are in the right spot if you see an info board and a black gate that keeps ATVs from the trail. The beginning of this hike starts on an old ATV path. At 0.3 miles, it drops into a wash. At 0.55 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 0.05 miles, where it dead-ends at a giant rock lizard 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 the climb begins! You'll gain a little over 600 ft in about 0.5 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 0.81 miles, there is a rock wall that needs to be scaled. Large rocks have been strategically placed to help the ascent, but it is a hands-feet section. At 0.91 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 before the saddle. This trail does not gain in elevation and wraps around the mountain. So, if you are not climbing, you are on the wrong trail. The trail climbs for about 0.15 miles. Very little switchbacking 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 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 a 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 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 trailhead the fastest. In about 0.25 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 sources at any of the trailheads.
Check out the Triplogs.
This is a moderately difficult hike.
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.