Hike Picketpost Mountain
Mar 27, 2022
By Sara Jean
Experience Superior: Hike Picketpost Mountain Trail
Distance: 4.2 miles Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult
Elevation Gain: 2,070 feet
Dog Friendly: Dogs are allowed, but navigation may be difficult for some dogs due to sections with required climbs and scrambles.
Permit/Pass Required: No
Getting There: See Map
Tips: Get there early to get a parking spot! The lot is shared with multiple trails and has a pit toilet. Bring lots of water, wear hiking shoes with great traction, long pants for any cacti run-ins and an adventurous spirit!
About the Hike: Picketpost Mountain is an awe-inspiring butte that rises almost 2,000 feet above the town of Superior, Arizona. The mountain's name originated from an early military camp established at the base of the mountain by General George Stoneman in 1870. According to Wikipedia, the soldiers nicknamed the mountain “Picket Post” due to its usage as a sentinel point to guard their camp from attacks. This military camp eventually grew into the present day town of Superior.
If you are looking for a challenging hike with 360-degree views of the Superstitions, Apache Leap Ridge, the Catalina Mountains and Four Peaks as your reward, this one is for you! The trail starts with a slow but steady ascent along the base of the mountain and eventually starts to head straight up, steepening as it skims a deep wash. From here it becomes somewhat of a scramble...call it Mother Nature's obstacle course if you will, as you look for cairns and spray-painted arrows to direct you up the mountain's face up a narrow ravine.
In no time, you will reach the mesa. But your journey isn't over yet. Take a moment to turn around and take in the breathtaking views behind you and laugh at how small your car has become in the parking lot far, far below. From here you will make way across the mesa to the other side and the mountain's crowning glory - the infamous mailbox.
The original mailbox was placed on the top of Picketpost in the early 90's. It's engraving said the following: "TRUE HISTORY OF THIS BOX: RESIDED FOR YEARS (IN) LINDEN, WASH... ONCE BARRELED OVER BY A GREEN JOHN DEER TRACTOR... REPAIRED AND REPLACED ON SEPT. 10, 1994 WAS NEARLY DESTROYED BY A WHITE CHEV. 1978 SEDAN DRIVEN BY A DRUNK.... WAS RETIRED, RESHAPED AND RELOCATED AT THIS SPOT WHERE IT IS BELIEVED TO BE RELATIVELY SAFE FROM EITHER.”
Unfortunately, even that wasn't the case as the mailbox has had to be replaced after going missing in early 2020. A new, shiny black mailbox replacing the beat up old red story teller. Inside the box one will find logbooks filled with the names and notes of hikers before you as well as a few very interesting trinkets one could only guess have some very fun stories of their own.
After enjoying lunch, some water and the views, it's time to make your way back down the steep mountain toward that little dot you drove into the parking lot below. Watch your step, take your time and before you know it, you'll be able to look back up and say, "I climbed that!"
Definitely a feat worth bragging about.