• Tonto National Forest Boundary to Picketpost Trailhead


  • 11.7 miles

Southern Access Point: Tonto National Forest Boundary

  • GPS Coordinates: 33.18106° N, 111.13717° W
  • NOTE:  This trailhead is not directly accessible by vehicles. See adjoining passages for access.


The closest way to access the southern end of Passage 17 is to hike in from the Picketpost Trailhead (11.5 miles), or drive to the historic town of Cochran (follow Cochran Road south from the Florence-Kelvin Highway to the Gila River), cross the Gila River carefully, then hike north on the Arizona Trail for 9.3 miles. Forest Road 4 (Telegraph Canyon Road) is currently blocked south of the town of Superior due to mineral exploration activities. There is currently no way to access the Arizona Trail from this rugged jeep trail.

Northern Trailhead: Picketpost Trailhead


From Florence Junction, drive east on US 60 for 9 miles. After mile marker 221, continue 0.5 miles and turn right (south) onto FR 231 (this point is 4 miles west of the town of Superior on US 60.) Drive 0.4 miles and turn left onto FR 310. Continue 0.6 miles, and then turn right at a sign for Picketpost Trailhead. You will see the large metal AZT sign marking the trailhead in 0.1 miles. There is no vehicle access to the Tonto National Forest boundary from here.

Trail Route Description

Passage 17 begins at the southern boundary of Tonto National Forest and continues north toward Picketpost Mountain. The trail follows a well-maintained singletrack through a classic Sonoran Desert landscape with towering saguaro, rugged mountains, and rocky canyons. Springtime brings an abundance of wildflowers to this region, and seeing Alamo Canyon in full bloom is breathtaking.

The trail weaves in and out of drainages and traverses across lush hillsides along a gentle downhill grade. Picketpost Mountain dominates the landscape in the northern half of this section, and catching it at sunset is a truly spectacular sight!


  • Moderate



There are no reliable water sources on this passage. Check the online Arizona Trail Water Report for current information at https://aztrail.org/explore/water-sources/.


  • All water along this passage should be purified prior to use.
  • The Tonto National Forest is closing the gate at Picketpost TH between dusk and dawn now. There’s a site host there overnight so folks won’t get locked in, but no late night arrivals.
  • There is no longer access to the Arizona Trail from Forest Road 4.


  • Map of Passage 17
  • USGS Topographic Maps: Teapot Mountain, Mineral Mountain and Picketpost Mountain.
  • Tonto National Forest map.

For more information

Current Passage Info

Bonus Hike of the Week: Picketpost Mountain near Superior

PhoenixMag.org | MARE CZINAR | February 14, 2024 Tonto National Forest, near Superior Notoriously overgrown, unmarked and insanely steep, getting to the top of Picketpost Mountain is a make-it-up-as-you-go prospect. Located outside the Town of Superior, the adventure starts with a hike south on the Alamo Canyon Passage 17 of the Arizona National Scenic Trail. About a mile in, a cairn marks the turn off for the summit climb. In theory the route plan is simple—just climb up the obvious gully. But in reality, it’s a bear. Finding secure hand and foot holds to scale the stony, cacti-encrusted chutes is confusing and exhausting. The grunt work ends at the edge of a massive mesa-like mound where an easy walk through desert scrub leads to the high point. LENGTH: 6 miles roundtrip RATING: difficult ELEVATION: 2,370 – 4,378 feet GETTING THERE: Picketpost Trailhead: From U.S. 60 before entering the town of Superior between milepost 221 and 222, turn right at the Arizona National Scenic Trail/Picketpost Trailhead sign on the right. Follow the signs along the maintained dirt road for one mile to the trailhead. FACILITIES: restrooms HOURS: n/a FEE: none INFO: aztrail.org/explore/passages/passage-17-alamo-canyon/ Read More (more…)
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AZT Rainwater Collector

AZT Rainwater Collector

On August 30-31, a dedicated crew of eight Arizona Trail Association volunteers joined Assistant Trail Director Zach MacDonald to venture into a particularly remote segment of the Arizona Trail to install an AZT Rainwater Collector. This unit is the first of its kind and was designed by the Arizona Trail Association and metalsmith extraordinaire Rob Bauer in consultation with sustainability professionals, land managers and engineers. It features a steel apron that catches rainwater and stores the precious resource within a 1,500-gallon tank that is protected on all sides by steel panels. A spigot with an automatic shutoff valve allows trail users to fill and filter their bottles along this very dry and exposed segment of the Arizona Trail. Once the tank is full, an overflow pipe fills a steel water trough nearby for the benefit of wildlife. The entire unit is fenced to keep livestock out, and posted signs inform trail users that the water must be filtered before consumption. The AZT Rainwater Collector is located halfway between reliable water sources at the Gila River and a windmill near Picketpost Trailhead. This particular 21-mile segment has repeatedly proven to be daunting for many hikers, runners, and mountain bikers. Covering the...
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