|Click for larger image
This is the information sheet they give you when you pay $6 to enter the joint. Click for
This is the main entrance to the park. The highest peak is off to the left out of view.
Colorful Mexican gold poppies near the information center.
This is the beginning of Barrett loop rd. The end of this road is where most people take the flower pictures against
the peak. Hunter trail to the peak is also at the end.
This is the end of the main drag, and the western end of the park. Before you is the Sunset Vista Trail-head,
which will take you to the peak on a 3.1 mile trek, about half of which is fairly level, skirting the southern side of
the mountain. Trail goes off to the far left.
Poppies and Lupines along Barrett loop road.
Looks like it's a long walk to that parking. This is at the Sunset Vista Trail-head.
Desert Marigolds are abundant here also, especially as you climb the peak.
|Click to read plaque
This is the gereral battle overview. Click for larger image and to read the plaque. Photo taken at the historical
markers location near the information center.
Plenty of nature trails for people wanting to check the desert out. They also have a multitude of plant species
signs scattered about so you know what you're looking at.
This is a minor peak, but I don't think there's a trail to it. There are more than 8 people in the
picture though you can't see 'em in this small image.
Now we're on Barrett loop road again ready for our short Hunter trail hike. This is a quick 2.0 mile
hike to the peak, for an elevation gain of 1500 ft. It basically shaves off a mile over the Sunset Vista trail, though
you're still climbing the same amount. Our destination is the peak to the left. Notice the ghosting in the
image, I had a lot of problems at 18mm on my Sony 18-250mm lens. I didn't carry a lens hood because I was using
a case, and the camera and hood wouldn't fit, so I thought I'd just use my hand, obviously it didn't help all
that much. I was surprised at how many pictures were ruined when I got home and downloaded them. Bottom line:
use a hood when shooting close to the sun at wide-angle with this lens.
At this point we're about half way to the saddle. More Picacho moutains in the distance, Newman peak
the highest. It looks like ther're some antennas etc. up there. At the base of those mountains is what looks
like a dirt road, but it's actually the Central Arizona Project, which is a canal that carries diverted Colorado
river water all the way to Tucson. In the middle is I-10, off to the left and 50 or 60 miles is Phoenix. The highway
goes north here, of course it's labeled for east-west.
This view is looking back as we get close to the saddle. You hug the rock wall at this point-see the trail?
Here we're beyond the saddle and meeting up with the Sunset Vista trail. The saddle has a bench and a
couple of signs, other than that, nothing special. It does make a good stopping point for people who don't want
to get too serious, and you'll find out why quickly.
People coming from the Sunset Vista trail climb up this rock face, with the help of cables. This is the original
part of the trail that was used to service the Beacon on top.
Another shot, this time at the bottom looking up. It's pretty steep here and you might not make it without
the help of the cables.
This image looks back towards the southwest. More steep climbing ahead.
As you can see, it really is steep. Luckily, the rocks are rough and have a lot of foot holds so you feel pretty
safe, at least I do.
Some hikers coming up the cables seen in the last image.
Yet another tough spot to maneuver through.
This shot is the same place as above only a little higher. They use cables and hog wire fencing to keep you
from falling through, but it looks like you could easily slip through the gap below if you weren't careful.
You go through quite a few of these tricky areas, if you're afraid of heights, you probably should stay at
the saddle. The mustard colored smudges in the background are large stands of poppies.
We've finally made it to the top. You can see some metal anchors where the old Beacon used to be, but
not in this picture. Barrett loop road is at the bottom center, the trail-head is on the right side of the loop.
The metal anchors are located just behind me in this shot. We look now towards the south and Tucson.
The Catalinas are in the very back, with Mt. Lemmon centered. If you look at the third peak to the right of Mt
Lemmon, you'll see Mt Kimball, which is my favorite hiking destination.
I took the two photos below from that peak with a cheap camera a couple of years ago. Also, make sure you visit the
Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch, located in the lower left center of the image.
Here's Picacho Peak from Mt. Kimball with a telephoto lens. It kind of sticks right out from the valley floor.
Another shot showing more foreground. The towns of Oro Valley (lower) and Marana (middle) then
the Tortolita mountains (upper) with Picacho Peak way in the back, top center. The peak is over 40 miles away.
This image from the top looks towards Phoenix, far right and not quite in sight yet. There's a trail
running down to the minor peak off to the left center, where there's an abundance of very red fishhook barrel cacti,
mostly small ones. I've never seen any quite so colorful around Tucson.
The view from that minor peak looking back at the real peak. Notice the dude standing at the top.
Here's one of many little red fishhook cacti I told you about a minute ago.
Check out the nice Desert Marigold bundle growing out of a crevice on the side of the mountain.
As you might expect, this is a landscape photographers dreamland. It looked like the guy on the right was
shooting medium format and the guy on the left had his camera disassembled for some reason. During this time of
year, the north facing side of the mountain is mostly in shadow, but it makes it more interesting I think.
concludes the tour, hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!