In the heart of the Sonoran Desert lies an otherworldly formation of rock used as a landmark since prehistoric times. It once was the site of a lone trail used during the California gold rush. Then, it was served as the grounds where a historic Civil War-era battle raged. Today, this towering, 1,500-foot peak now serves as a natural observation point for the most verdant fields of wildflowers in Arizona state. Welcome to Picacho Peak State Park!
With a rich history, stunning desert landscape, seemingly ever-present sunshine and opportunity for adventure, Picacho Peak State Park is an incredible choice for an unforgettable RV camping trip!
Picacho Peak State Park Facts
Learning the story behind a place is the key to finding meaning in your travels. So make sure to check out these Picacho Peak State Park facts to add to your own story in the making!
- Thanks to the peak’s remarkable and otherworldly appearance, the massive rock formation has been used as a landmark since ancient times.
- The park’s recorded history dates back as far as the 1700s when Juan Bautista de Anza led a Spanish expedition through the area.
- In 1848, a Mormon battalion (the only one of its kind ever in the United States Army) created a trail straight through the peak as a route for gold miners headed for California.
- The peak soars into the sky and stretches 3,374 feet at its highest point.
- The long process to secure the area as a state park began in 1958. It wasn’t until 1966 that the state purchased the first 640 acres of land.
Best Picacho Peak State Park RV Parks and Campgrounds
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For the perfect place to call home base for your journey, check out our list of the best RV parks near Picacho State Park!
Picacho Peak State Park RV Campground
The park’s own campgrounds are your best bet for RV Camping in Picacho State Park. Wake up in the desert proper with electric hookups at all campgrounds. But you’ll have to bring your own water while staying in the park.
85 RV sites
More information: Picacho Peak State Park RV Campground
Picacho Peak RV Park
This large RV park near Picacho State Park offers more amenities than the park proper while still offering some nice scenery for your stay. Besides the full hookups at all sites, you can enjoy a public pool, jacuzzi, game room and even a library.
312 RV sites
More information: Picacho Peak RV Park
Quail Run RV Resort
Quail Run RV Resort is a quaint, peaceful and extremely affordable RV park
near Picacho Peak State Park. The oversized sites are concrete and easy to level. And the park features some nice amenities at its price point like a pool, shuffleboard court, mini-golf course and even a gym. In exchange for a 30-minute drive to the park, you’ll get tremendous value from this unassuming park.
300 RV sites
More information: Quail Run RV Resort
Las Colinas RV Resort
Las Colinas is an RV park near Picacho Peak State Park that caters to campers aged 55 years or older. While your age doesn’t matter at all for booking, if you’re looking for an easygoing and friendly community, Los Colinas is a fine choice. They offer full hookups at all sites, large pull-thru sites, a spa, a fitness center, and a beautiful landscape beyond the grounds.
150 RV sites
More information: Las Colinas RV Resort
Best Time to Visit Pichacho State Park for RV Camping
Now that you’ve got the history and the location squared away, it’s time to whip out your calendar. Check out our seasonal guide below for your best time to visit Picacho State Park for RV camping!
The sun is shining bright and warm even in the coldest months in Arizona’s deserts. This makes winter a great choice for RV camping in Picacho State Park. The temperature bottoms out at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit nights in December and January.
The days hover around the mid-60s. This makes winter ideal for those seeking a long, challenging hike. The trails are often a bit too hot in the summer months to get the most out of a strenuous session. Do watch out for cold rain in December and February, which are the months with higher precipitation levels.
This is a desert, after all, so RV camping in Picacho State Park in summer can be a daunting task. Intense summer sun beams down at a whopping 105 degrees Fahrenheit average around mid-July. Any extended strenuous outings aren’t advised. But, be sure to pack an extra water bottle or two for any hikes.
From around July to September, there’s a chance to witness violent thunderstorms of the summer monsoon season. It may be a bit frightening to be caught outdoors in one, but their sheer power, combined with the lightning-lit cloud formations shifting across the sky, is a wonder to behold.
One of the biggest draws of RV camping in Picacho State Park has got to be the wildflowers. Golden wildflowers rise scattered amongst the cacti, glowing against a sea of green fields as far as the horizon.
Temperatures are balmy and pleasant for a romp and photo-ops through the bloom. Somewhere between March and April is the sweet spot with an average of around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. But that means you’re also visiting during the high season. Expect the largest crowd density here, so plan and book early!
RV camping in Picacho State Park around early to mid-fall might be a nice alternative for those looking to avoid crowds. Late fall to just shy of summer is the high season, making it difficult to book a quiet campground.
Yes, it’s true that you’ll miss out on the wildflower blooms in spring. But, one of the desert’s most appealing elements is its massive, open sprawl. It’s a natural environment to embrace solitude! And fall offers no better time to witness the spectacular, untarnished Arizona landscape. Aim for early to mid-October to enjoy moderate heat and low crowd density.
Things to Do in Picacho State Park
We’ve got the time and place all lined up. Now it’s time to dive into the most fun part: what to do! This list of things to do in Picacho State Park is sure to help you make the most of your adventure.
Hike Picacho Peak.
Grab your hiking gear, apply some SPF, and tackle the main event at Picacho! The 360-degree views from this 3374-foot peak need to be seen to be believed. This is a steep hike in parts and involves a lot of handholding rocks, so pack some gloves and sturdy hiking shoes. Try to head out in the early morning for empty trails and a shorter hike time (2.5 - 5 hours).
Enjoy the wildflower bloom.
If you’re visiting in spring, a sea of golden poppies awaits. The peak is, without question, an excellent viewpoint to look out over the lush, colored fields. But the good news is the low slopes are where the flowers are teeming. The peak time for full bloom varies, so check out Arizona State Park’s wildflower page
RV camping in Picacho State Park offers a unique chance to observe wildlife in their natural habitat. A host of mammals, reptiles and birds are out and about for an animal-savvy and patient photographer. Watch for moving brush to spot wild animals, and be sure to keep your distance and respect their space.
Take in local attractions.
When you feel the need to rejoin civilization again, there’s no shortage of interesting things to see and do within driving distance of the park. For instance, check out Biosphere 2
, an experiment in self-sustainability for use in space colonization.
The small but mysterious Casa Grande Ruins
holds some history via the visitor center nearby. And finally, the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch
promises family fun with a chance to hand-feed live ostriches.
Tips for Visiting Picacho State Park
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Before you hit the road, here are a few tips for visiting Picacho State Park to keep in mind for a smooth experience.
- Admire wildlife from a distance. Some species native to the area are known to charge to protect their home.
- Bring more water than you think you’ll need. The park is in a desert, and the dry heat can dehydrate you very quickly.
- Pack sunglasses and wear them at all times outdoors. You may not feel it burning, but future you will thank you for taking care of your eyes under the ever-present sun.
- Consider a visor instead of a hat for sun protection. Dissipating body heat is essential in the hotter months, and a visor will protect your face without trapping heat like a hat.
- There’s a lot of backcountry in the park. Anything could happen with potential help quite a distance away, so don’t go it alone.
Picacho Peak State Park RV Rentals
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Now that you’re armed with everything you need to know to make some amazing memories, get the perfect wheels for the job with a Cruise America Picacho Peak State Park RV rental!
From an RV newbie
to a seasoned vet, Cruise America’s fleet has the perfect vehicle for any party size or budget. Each one comes loaded with all the essentials like a gas top stove, shower, sleeping area and bathroom to make the road your home away from home.
Book a Picacho Peak State Park RV Rental