The Calloway Trail, at an elevation of 1,988 feet, and with an elevation gain of 270 feet, is located in Picacho State Park, AZ. The Calloway Trail is a 0.8 mile out-and-back hike that leads up to the saddle between Picacho Peak and a smaller peak to the north and ends up at the more strenuous Hunter Trail which ascends to the top of Picacho Peak.
Hours for trail hiking are from sunrise to sunset. Parking fee is $7 per vehicle. Take snacks and plenty of water and a camera if hiking the Calloway Trail, especially in the springtime, when you will be greeted with blooming ocotillos, Mexican poppies, lupines, creosote bushes and paloverde trees as well as the occasional bald-headed eagle.
The Calloway Trail is rated for beginners, including children, and allows dogs on leashes. However, there are parts of the trail that have steep climbs and require stepping over large rocks. The end of the Calloway Trail meets up with the more rigorous Hunter Trail which does not allow children or dogs. The views of Picacho Peak at the end of Calloway Trail are stunning and the area is full of blooming ocotillos, Mexican poppies, sage brush, and Palo Verde trees.
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The unique shape of the 1,500-foot Picacho Peak has been used as a navigational landmark by travelers since the 1700’s. Explorers such as Father Eusebio Kino and Juan Bautista de Anza relied on this Peak on their way through the area. Various trails, including the Calloway Trail, were slowly developed over the years, and have become very popular hiking trails for hikers from beginners to advanced and are celebrated for the stunning and vibrant display of Mexican poppies.
The Calloway Trail ascends halfway from the bottom of Picacho State Park up to the very steep Hunter Trail which goes to the top of Picacho Peak. The south side of the Hunter Trail was built in 1932 by the Civilian Conservation Corps using cables and metal posts driven into rock. It was developed as a way to serve the 40-foot light beacon that was installed at the top of the peak for air traffic control. The beacon no longer exists but the old trail supports do and hikers use them to help ascend and descend the very steep Hunter Trail. The north side was built in 1965, when Picacho Peak and its surroundings became a state park.
Picacho Peak’s most noted historic event occurred on April 15, 1862, when Confederate and Union scouting parties met in the Battle of Picacho Pass during the Civil War. This was the largest Civil War clash to take place in Arizona.