Location: Superior, Arizona
Length: 3.9 miles
Elevation: 2,011 feet
Cost: no cost
(above stats gathered from AllTrails)
More about this hike at Picketpost...
Overall Difficulty: I would rate this somewhere between Moderate and Difficult. There was quite a bit of scrambling involved and finding the right way to go was challenging at times.
Recommendation (on a scale of 1-5): Since this is one of my favorites, I would rate this a 4.5! It's one I'd love to go back and do again.
Permit Info: No permit required
Parking: Limited spots available on weekends
4x4 Vehicle: Not necessary
Kid Friendly: I would not recommend it
Dog Friendly: Yes, but there might be points at which you need to help your dog
Cell Reception: No
Camping: I do not believe there are any camping spots in this area.
More about my experience...
I would definitely say that Picketpost makes my top favorite hikes. I consider this hike to be a miniature Flatiron, although much more difficult to actually keep on the trail. I don't care how many times you hike this one, you will never do it the same way twice. And that's the real fun of it – It's very choose-your-own-adventure. You will have moments where you take a wrong route and need to backtrack 100 feet or so. Again, all part of the fun.
There is so much to enjoy about this adventure, but in particular, I enjoyed the mental challenge and countless picturesque moments. You know there's going to be fantastic photo opportunities when there is a mailbox and bench at the top of the mountain! It's a cute touch anyway. The mailbox is filled with notebooks to check in and other souvenirs other hikers have tossed in there over time.
I will say, if you're not paying close attention, you will either make a wrong turn or miss your turn – I know I certainly did. If you keep an eye out for them, you will notice arrows on some of the rocks pointing the way when it gets a bit trickier. I found those to be very helpful when I got lost.
Like Flatiron, I would strongly suggest bringing gloves. I know I was certainly thankful I had them handy for this one.
My absolute favorite part of this trail was the wildlife – in particular, the bats! I went late in the day; the sun was setting on my way down. I could hear this unusual chirping, almost squeaking noise, overhead. And sure enough, when I looked up, I saw probably around 200 bats flying in the weirdest patterns over the mountaintop. One of the coolest things I've ever experienced. This continued for well over an hour during my descent.
I would love to go back and attempt to find the cave that these bats were coming to and from. Aside from my bat obsession, it was just an all-around enjoyable hike – Excellent exercise physically and mentally. As rewarding as it was, it wasn't a very long hike at about 3-3.5 hours. (As I said, mini-Flatiron!)
A little word of advice here, the parking lot is relatively large but fills up quickly on the weekends especially. Half the lot is used for horse trailers, and the other half fills up with hikers and mountain bikers by late morning. While the parking lot gets full, there weren't many actually going up this trail. By the time I reached the top, there was only one other group up there at the same time.