PIcacho_Peak.jpgPicacho Peak is ancient -- nearly four times older than the Grand Canyon. The peak was formed more than 22 million years ago, when a volcano spewed lava that hardened, heaved on its side and eroded to create the peak's striking shape.
The peak has been a landmark for centuries. In 1775, Spanish Capt. Juan Bautista de Anza camped at the foot of Picacho Peak as he led 300 people over 1,200 miles from "New Spain" (now Nogales) to San Francisco. The Mormon Battalion passed by in 1848, and the Forty-Niners saw it on their way to seek gold in California, which became a state in 1850.
On April 15, 1862, a group of Union soldiers from California was fired upon by a group of Confederate scouts who were posted in Tucson. The ensuing battle at the foot of the peak lasted 90 minutes, and three Union soldiers were killed. Every spring, on the second weekend in March, Civil War re-enactors commemorate the Arizona Territory event, which was the westernmost battle of the war. (The March re-enactment also commemorates two other Civil War battles, at Valverde, Feb. 21, 1862, and at Glorieta Pass, March 28, 1962, both in the Territory of New Mexico.)
Picacho Peak State Park has pleasant ramadas, campsites, a children's cave trail and two short nature trails. All are on the east side of the park, overlooking busy Interstate 10 and the train tracks.