A long walk up a short sandy wash
The Picture Rocks Wash Trail’s eastern end starts at the Ringtail Trail and continues on up the Picture Rocks Wash for about 1.5 miles where it at one time ended at some point along the wash. The Park Service extended this trail 0.9 miles to connect up with the Prophecy Wash Trail to the west making this trail 2.4 miles long. This description is from the west at Prophecy Wash to east at the Ringtail Trail. From Prophecy Wash the trail heads up a ridge that separates the two watersheds. From this ridge the trail heads downhill for 0.7 miles and drops into Picture rocks Wash. The trail remains in the wash the rest of the way passing by the junctions of the Brittlebush Trail and its wash, the Ironwood Forest Trail and the Cactus Canyon Trail. The Picture rocks Wash trail is the Major east-west trail on the northeast side of the park and can be used in part as a connector trail to the major north-south trails it crosses.
From The Golden gate Road, the Prophecy Wash Trail heads upstream for 1.2 miles where it connects up with the Picture Rocks Wash Trail. There is a sign hidden in the bushes that marks the trail. The sign isn’t actually hidden but if you take the wrong channel of Prophecy wash it is as good as hidden. I took the westernmost channel and only by a little luck I noticed the sign a couple of bushes over, if I was in the other channel of the wash it would have been obvious. I had my GPS with me and sooner or later I would have figured it out. From Prophecy Wash the trail heads east up to a ride about 100 feet up. Once on the ridge looking east is the Picture Rocks Wash watershed. The first 0.9 miles of this hike are along a trail not in a wash and although it is rocky it is a welcome relief from the sandy trails that are common on the north side of the park. The trail continues down from this ridge for 0.7 miles before dropping into Picture Rocks Wash where the trail remains the rest of the way. After 0.8 miles along the wash the trail crosses another major wash that is the Brittlebush Trail. The Picture Rocks Wash before the Brittlebush Trail is narrow and does a lot of twists and turns and is actually the most scenic part of this trail. After the Brittlebush Trail the wash becomes very sandy and more difficult to walk in. Almost immediately after the Brittlebush is the junction with the Ironwood Forest Trail heading north out of the wash. Another 0.3 miles is the junction with the Cactus Canyon Trail and 0.4 miles later the end of the trail at the Ringtail Trail. It appears that if you continue on down the wash you will end up on Picture Rocks Road. The picture rocks Wash Trail is a good trail to use a part of as a connector trail to other trails. Walking this trail after a summer monsoon where the wash has been running will make the walking easier.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.
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.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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.