Hunter Trail In Arizona

Here is everything you need to know about the Hunter Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Arizona
  • Length: 3.5 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: Dirt.
  • Managed By: Arizona State Parks and Trails
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Not available.

The Hunter Trail, located in the South Mountain Park and Preserve in Phoenix, Arizona, holds a significant historical background. The trail was originally established in the early 1900s and was named after Seth Hunter, a prominent figure in the region’s history. Seth Hunter was a pioneer and explorer who played a crucial role in the development of the area.

During the early 20th century, Seth Hunter recognized the potential of the South Mountain area and its natural beauty. He was instrumental in advocating for the preservation of the land and its transformation into a park. Hunter’s efforts led to the establishment of South Mountain Park in 1924, making it one of the largest municipal parks in the United States.

The Hunter Trail, named in honor of Seth Hunter, became one of the first trails to be developed within the park. It was initially designed to provide access to the summit of South Mountain, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding desert landscape. Over the years, the trail has undergone several improvements and modifications to enhance safety and accessibility for hikers.

Today, the Hunter Trail remains a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history enthusiasts alike. It serves as a reminder of Seth Hunter’s vision and dedication to preserving the natural beauty of the South Mountain area. The trail’s historical significance and stunning vistas continue to attract visitors from all over, allowing them to experience a piece of Arizona’s rich history while enjoying the beauty of the desert landscape.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Hunter Trailhead: This is the main access point for the Hunter Trail, located at the South Mountain Park and Preserve in Phoenix, Arizona.

2. Pima Canyon Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the Hunter Trailhead and provides an alternative starting point for the Hunter Trail.

3. National Trailhead: The National Trail intersects with the Hunter Trail, providing another access point for hikers.

4. Hidden Valley Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the Hunter Trail and offers an alternative route to reach the summit of South Mountain.

5. Buena Vista Lookout Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the Hunter Trail and provides access to the Buena Vista Lookout, offering panoramic views of the surrounding area.

6. Beverly Canyon Trailhead: Located near the Hunter Trail, this trailhead offers an alternative starting point for hikers.

7. Telegraph Pass Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the Hunter Trail and provides access to the Telegraph Pass Trail, which intersects with the Hunter Trail.

8. Desert Classic Trailhead: Located near the Hunter Trail, this trailhead offers an alternative starting point for hikers.

9. San Juan Lookout Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the Hunter Trail and provides access to the San Juan Lookout, offering scenic views of the surrounding landscape.

10. Mormon Loop Trailhead: Located near the Hunter Trail, this trailhead offers an alternative starting point for hikers and connects with the Hunter Trail at certain points.

Transportation Available

1. Hunter Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service specifically for the Hunter Trail, providing convenient transportation for hikers.
2. Hunter Trail Taxi – Taxi service available for quick and reliable transportation in the Hunter Trail area.
3. Hunter Trail Bike Rentals – Bike rental service offering a fun and eco-friendly way to explore the Hunter Trail and its surroundings.
4. Hunter Trail Bus – Local bus service with routes covering the Hunter Trail and nearby areas.
5. Hunter Trail Car Rentals – Car rental service providing flexible transportation options for visitors exploring the Hunter Trail region.


The amenities available at the Hunter Trail may vary depending on the specific location. However, here is a list of common amenities that can be found at many hiking trails:

1. Restrooms: Some trails may have restroom facilities available at the trailhead or along the trail. These can be basic pit toilets or more developed restroom buildings.

2. Parking: Most hiking trails have designated parking areas where visitors can park their vehicles. These parking lots may be free or require a parking fee or permit.

3. Camping Sites: Some trails offer designated camping areas where hikers can set up tents or camp overnight. These sites may have amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water sources.

4. Picnic Areas: Many trails have designated picnic areas where hikers can take a break, enjoy a meal, or have a picnic. These areas often have picnic tables, benches, and sometimes even grills.

5. Water Sources: Some trails may have access to natural water sources such as rivers, streams, or lakes. Hikers can use these sources to refill their water bottles or take a refreshing dip.

6. Trail Markers: Trails often have markers or signs along the way to guide hikers and prevent them from getting lost. These markers can be in the form of signs, blazes on trees, or cairns.

7. Information Boards: At the trailhead or along the trail, you may find information boards that provide details about the trail, its difficulty level, safety tips, and any specific rules or regulations.

8. Benches or Seating Areas: Some trails may have benches or seating areas at scenic viewpoints or resting spots. These provide hikers with a place to sit and enjoy the surroundings.

9. Trash Receptacles: To maintain cleanliness, many trails have trash receptacles where hikers can dispose of their waste. It is important to follow Leave No Trace principles and pack out any trash if receptacles are not available.

10. Interpretive Signs: In certain areas, you may come across interpretive signs that provide information about the local flora, fauna, geology, or history. These signs can enhance the educational experience while hiking.

It is recommended to check the specific trail’s website or contact the local park or forest service for accurate and up-to-date information on the amenities available at the Hunter Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Hunter Trail Lodge – A cozy lodging option located near the trailhead of Hunter Trail.
2. Mountain View Inn – A nearby lodging with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
3. Trailside Bed and Breakfast – Charming accommodation situated right along the Hunter Trail.
4. Hunter’s Rest Motel – Convenient motel offering comfortable rooms for hikers.
5. Hunter’s Grill – A popular eatery serving delicious meals near the Hunter Trail.
6. Mountain Deli – A nearby deli offering quick bites and sandwiches for hikers.
7. Hunter’s Diner – A local diner serving hearty meals and comfort food.
8. Hunter Trail Campground – A camping area located near the trail, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.
9. Hunter’s General Store – A one-stop shop for hikers, offering supplies and snacks.
10. Hunter Trail Medical Clinic – Emergency medical services available for any unforeseen incidents along the trail.

Hunter Trail Difficulty Notes

The Hunter Trail, located in Picacho Peak State Park, is known for its challenging and strenuous nature. With a steep and rocky terrain, hikers must be prepared for a demanding ascent that requires both physical strength and mental endurance. The trail features sections with narrow pathways, loose gravel, and exposed cliffs, adding to the difficulty level. Additionally, the trail includes sections where hikers need to use cables and handrails to navigate steep inclines. While the breathtaking views and sense of accomplishment at the summit make it all worthwhile, the Hunter Trail is best suited for experienced hikers seeking a thrilling and challenging adventure.

Features And Attractions

The Hunter Trail is a popular hiking trail located in Picacho Peak State Park, Arizona. Along this trail, you can find several scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks. Here are some notable points of interest along the Hunter Trail:

1. Picacho Peak: The trail starts at the base of Picacho Peak, a prominent 1,500-foot volcanic peak that offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding desert landscape.

2. Sonoran Desert: As you hike along the trail, you’ll be immersed in the beauty of the Sonoran Desert, known for its unique flora and fauna, including saguaro cacti, ocotillos, and various desert animals.

3. Hunter’s Cabin: About halfway up the trail, you’ll come across the ruins of an old hunter’s cabin. This historical site provides a glimpse into the area’s past and offers a shaded spot to rest.

4. Sunset Vista: As you near the summit, you’ll reach Sunset Vista, a viewpoint that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and distant cityscapes during sunset.

5. Summit Cross: The Hunter Trail culminates at the summit of Picacho Peak, where you’ll find a large white cross. This iconic landmark is visible from miles away and serves as a symbol of the area.

6. Wildflowers: Depending on the time of year, the trail may be adorned with vibrant wildflowers, including poppies, lupines, and desert marigolds, creating a colorful and picturesque scene.

7. Wildlife: Keep an eye out for various wildlife species that call the area home, such as desert bighorn sheep, Gila monsters, roadrunners, and a variety of bird species.

8. Geological Formations: Throughout the hike, you’ll encounter interesting geological formations, including volcanic rocks, sedimentary layers, and unique rock formations shaped by erosion.

These are just a few of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can experience along the Hunter Trail. Remember to bring plenty of water, wear appropriate hiking gear, and be prepared for the challenging terrain.

Usage Guidelines


Seasonal Information

The Hunter Trail, located in Picacho Peak State Park in Arizona, offers a thrilling hiking experience with stunning views of the surrounding desert landscape. When planning your visit to the Hunter Trail, it is important to consider the best times of the year to ensure an enjoyable and safe adventure.

The ideal time to hike the Hunter Trail is during the cooler months, typically from October to April. During this time, temperatures are more moderate, ranging from the 60s to 80s Fahrenheit (15-27 degrees Celsius), making it comfortable for outdoor activities. The desert blooms with vibrant wildflowers in the spring, creating a picturesque backdrop for your hike. However, it is important to note that temperatures can still be quite hot during the day, so it is advisable to start your hike early in the morning to avoid the peak heat.

It is worth mentioning that the Hunter Trail may have seasonal closures due to extreme weather conditions. During the summer months, from May to September, temperatures can soar well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), making it dangerous to hike. Additionally, monsoon season, typically occurring from July to September, brings heavy rains and flash floods, which can make the trail treacherous and impassable. It is crucial to check the park’s website or contact the park rangers for up-to-date information on trail closures and conditions before planning your visit.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Hunter Trail in Picacho Peak State Park are during the cooler months of October to April when temperatures are more comfortable for hiking. Spring offers the added beauty of blooming wildflowers, creating a picturesque setting. However, it is important to be aware of seasonal closures, particularly during the scorching summer months and monsoon season when extreme heat and flash floods can make the trail unsafe. By planning your visit accordingly and staying informed about trail conditions, you can have a memorable and enjoyable hiking experience on the Hunter Trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Hunter Trail offers wheelchair accessibility, allowing individuals with mobility challenges to navigate the trail with ease.
2. Paved Pathways: The trail features paved pathways, ensuring a smooth and accessible surface for wheelchair users.
3. Handrails: Handrails are installed along certain sections of the trail, providing additional support and stability for individuals with mobility impairments.
4. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are available at designated areas along the Hunter Trail, catering to the needs of individuals with disabilities.
5. Braille Signage: Braille signage is present at various points along the trail, enabling visually impaired individuals to navigate and access information.
6. Accessible Parking: The Hunter Trail offers designated accessible parking spaces, conveniently located near the trailhead, for individuals with disabilities.
7. Assistance Animals: Service animals are permitted on the trail, allowing individuals with disabilities to have the necessary support during their visit.
8. Benches and Rest Areas: Benches and rest areas are strategically placed along the trail, providing opportunities for individuals with mobility challenges to take breaks and rest.
9. Accessible Viewing Areas: The trail features accessible viewing areas, allowing individuals with disabilities to enjoy the scenic beauty and wildlife without barriers.
10. Accessible Information: Information about the Hunter Trail, including maps and brochures, is available in accessible formats such as large print or electronic versions, ensuring equal access for all visitors.

Safety Information

1. Steep and rugged terrain: The Hunter Trail features challenging and uneven terrain, requiring caution and proper hiking gear.
2. Extreme heat: The trail can be exposed to high temperatures, so hikers should carry sufficient water and protect themselves from the sun.
3. Slippery conditions: Certain sections of the trail may become slippery, especially after rainfall or during winter months.
4. Limited shade: The trail offers limited shade, so hikers should be prepared with sun protection and plan accordingly.
5. Cliff edges: Some parts of the trail have steep drop-offs, necessitating careful navigation and attention to safety.
6. Flash floods: During heavy rain, flash floods can occur in the area, making it important to monitor weather conditions and avoid hiking during such times.
7. Wildlife encounters: Hikers may encounter wildlife, including rattlesnakes, so it is essential to be aware and maintain a safe distance.
8. Physical fitness requirements: The Hunter Trail is a strenuous hike, requiring good physical fitness and endurance.
9. Limited cell phone reception: The trail may have limited or no cell phone reception, so hikers should be prepared for communication challenges.
10. Crowded trail: The Hunter Trail can be popular, resulting in crowded conditions, especially during peak seasons, requiring patience and consideration for others.

Conservation Notes

The conservation status of the Hunter Trail is of utmost importance due to its ecological significance and the need to protect its unique biodiversity. The trail is located within a designated conservation area, recognized for its rich flora and fauna. Efforts have been made to preserve and maintain the natural habitat along the trail, ensuring the survival of various endangered species.

The Hunter Trail is subject to strict conservation regulations to prevent any disturbance to the delicate ecosystem. These regulations include limiting the number of visitors allowed on the trail at any given time, as well as enforcing guidelines to minimize human impact. The conservation status of the trail also involves regular monitoring and assessment of the surrounding environment to identify any potential threats or changes that may require intervention.

Conservation efforts along the Hunter Trail focus on preserving the native vegetation and protecting the habitats of rare and endangered species. This includes the implementation of measures to control invasive species that could disrupt the natural balance. Additionally, educational programs and awareness campaigns are conducted to promote responsible hiking practices among visitors, emphasizing the importance of leaving no trace and respecting the fragile ecosystem.

Overall, the conservation status of the Hunter Trail reflects a commitment to safeguarding its ecological integrity and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the area. Through careful management and conservation practices, the trail can continue to provide a unique and enriching experience for visitors while preserving its natural beauty for generations to come.

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