Calendar of Events
Trip Planning Guide
- Carlson, Jack, Stewart, Elizabeth,
Superstition Wilderness Trails East,
Clear Creek Publishing, Tempe, AZ, 2010.
Hikes in the eastern part of the Superstition Wilderness are complete
with topographic maps, history and legends.
- Carlson, Jack, Stewart, Elizabeth,
Superstition Wilderness Trails West,
Clear Creek Publishing, Tempe, AZ, 2012.
Hikes in the western part of the Superstition Wilderness are complete
with topographic maps, history and legends.
Black Mesa Overlook
Black Mesa is an ancient lava flow covered with a dense forest of
jumping cholla (Opuntia fulgida). We’ll get there by way of Boulder
Basin and Parker Pass, then tread lightly around the cholla as we walk
off trail to the rim for an amazing overview of the Superstition
Wilderness. Return by way of Garden Valley and an archaeological
site of the Salado culture.
- Best Time of Year to Hike: fall through spring
- Distance: 10 miles
- Elevation Gain: +-1100'
- Range of elevation: 2215' (First Water Creek) to 3097' (top of Black Mesa)
- Difficulty: Moderate. 2540 calories
Coffee Flat-Bluff Spring Ridge
- difficulty: "B" (moderate)
- 10 miles, +-1600' elevation change.
Weather Conditions: Apache Junction
On this moderately paced Superstition Wilderness hike
you can climb to Miner’s Summit on the Dutchman’s Trail, then turn east
on the Whiskey Springs Trail for 1/2 mile before climbing the ridge.
From there enjoy some of the finest views of Weaver’s Needle, Bluff
Spring Mountain, Picacho Butte, Coffee Flat Mountain, Miner’s Needle,
and the glory of the Superstitions! Continuing northwest, then re-join
the Dutchman’s Trail where it goes by an unusual grove of cedar trees.
Hieroglyphic Trail 101
Hieroglyphic Trail is located on the southwest corner of the Superstitions
Wilderness Area, near Gold Canyon Ranch and King’s Ranch Road. The trail
and spring should technically be called Petroglyph Springs and Trail,
since the word "hieroglyph" refers to the complex drawings typical
of ancient Egypt; "petroglyph" refers to the more simple drawings
found in this area. The trail leads to Hieroglyphic Springs, an area with a
remarkable number of petroglyphs.
- Difficulty: Easy
- Length: 2.5 to 3.0 hours (to Hieroglyphic Springs and back)
- Features: Indian petroglyphs, Dinosaur Mountain
Drive: Take US 60 east from Apache Junction to
King’s Ranch Road (Gold Canyon Ranch entrance). Turn left on King’s Ranch Road
and follow it for a few miles to the end of the road. Turn right on Baseline Rd.
Go a few hundred yards to Mohican Rd. and turn left. Go a few hundred yards and
turn left on Valley View. As you follow Valley View Rd., it turns into Whitetail
Rd. At the end of Whitetail Rd., turn right on Cloud Dr. and go a few hundred
yards to the end of Cloud and you will find a small circular parking lot and the
beginning of the trail.
Hike: The trail is nearly on a straight-line to Hieroglyphic
Spring. The trail follows a slight ridge line, rather than the bottom of the
canyon. Immediately, you get a very good view in all directions as the trail is
generally the highest point in the area, except for the massive palisades of
Superstition Mountain which is ahead of you. The climb is easy as the elevation
change is slight. You climb approx. 600 feet over the length of the trail.
As the trail reaches Hieroglyphic Spring, you run into a few small spots with
small step-ups over rocks. The trail also covers rock surfaces in two areas
which makes it more difficult to identify the correct path. This is a minor
problem though, as there is only one destination in this little canyon.
When you arrive at Hieroglyphic Spring, you will find small springs with some
water in place. All around and near these pools of water, there are petroglyphs
on large rock surfaces.
Needle Canyon Life March
Needle Canyon, in the heart of the Superstition Wilderness,
is rich in history, legend, fantastic rock scenery, vegetation and wildlife
of the Sonoran Desert The Needle Canyon Life March is an all day hike,
starting from Canyon Lake or from Peralta Trailhead.
- Best Time of Year to Hike: late fall through early spring
- Difficulty: Tough. On trail, with a few steep sections. No water or
- Length: 14 miles
- Elevation Gain: +-2470' -+1750', depending on which direction you go
- Range of Elevation: 1680' (Canyon Lake Trailhead) to 3420' (Bluff Saddle)
We’ll hike the length of historic and highly scenic Needle Canyon on
this one-way trans-wilderness journey. No auto shuttle! Two parties will
start in opposite directions from Peralta and Canyon Lake trailheads, meet
in the middle for lunch and exchange of car keys.
A joint outing with the
We hope to maximize car pooling, and will exchange cars at the beginning
of the hike, so that your own car is waiting for you at the end! Bring
a spare key.
- General Description: 4-5 hour hiking time
round trip, bring water and snack
- Best Time of Year to Hike: fall, winter,spring
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Length: 4½ miles round trip
- Elevation Change: +-1400'
Take US 60 east to the Peralta Road. Turn left onto Peralta and drive 6
miles to the trailhead.
Peralta Road is a graded dirt road, suitable for family sedans.
This is the most popular trail in the Superstitions
because of its climactic view of Weaver’ Needle from
Fremont Saddle. The route follows the Peralta Canyon stream
bed and crosses at various places. There is constant
topographic, vegetative, and scenic variety along the entire
trail. Early on, two small abandoned mines greet you. About
100 yards along, you pass a vertical stone wall to the left.
Growing on this wall are two rare plants, Gila paritili and
maple leaf mirandia, the latter found only in the
Superstition and Usery Mountains. The ascent is gradual and
crisscrosses the stream bed. Various shaded spots offer cool
respite at the crossings. Large scrub oaks and sugar sumacs
provide the shade, while canyon wrens provide the music.
Deer vetch shows its small, bright yellow orange
As you ascend farther up the trail, Geronimo Cave comes
into view on the right along a line of yellow volcanic tuff.
The trail ascends away from the stream bed and up a series
of switchbacks directed through layers of multicolored
volcanic tuff, ash, and agglomerate. Various shades of
purple, buff, orange, pink, brown, and cream permeate the
landscape. Much of the trail is now on bedrock. This is a
good spot for sitting and looking out over Peralta Canyon and
part of Coffee Flat Valley. The vertical “people” rocks
on the western canyon edge come into prominent view. Look up
for ravens, hawks, and vultures. A “one eyed monster”
lurks along the trail.
More pastel colored bedrock leads you past the monster
and on to Fremont Saddle. Here we are greeted with a spectacular
view of Weaver’s Needle. This is where we will stop for lunch.
We will return via the same route. An alternative return route would
be along the Cave Trail back to the trailhead.
General Description: This trip will be led by
Mike Clayton, a friend of Jack Carlson, author of Hiker’s
Guide to the Superstition Wilderness. Though it has been
a while since he hiked this trail, Mike is a seasoned and
responsible trip leader - thank you Mike!!! Depending on
the size of the group, we may need to split into two
group to comply with Forest Service regulations, but hope
to have radios to keep the groups in contact.
Best Time of Year to Hike: April through October
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult (because of
backpack & switchbacks coming out)
Length: 12.2 miles, 12 hours RT
Elevation: 5000' at Reavis Ranch, 6000' at Circlestone ruin
Elevation Change: 1920'
Rogers Trough Trailhead to Reavis Ranch: This trail may
be more challenging than the more popular hike to Reavis off
of Apache Trail, but provides a great warm-up opportunity
for Havasupai packers! We will pass by the Reavis grave on
our way to the historic Reavis Ranch, as well as take a
challenging 2.7 mile side trip to the Circlestone ruin
(which dates back to 1250 A.D.) after setting up camp
The tall ponderosa pine, black walnut, sycamore,
cottonwood and alligator juniper trees make this valley a
pleasant destination. Although the Reavis Ranch house burned
in November of 1991 and the stone structure later leveled by
the Forest Service, the apple orchard still stands, and
produces apples each fall. Several miles north of the ranch
is the 196' Reavis Falls on Reavis Creek.
To the south of the Ranch is Circlestone ruin, next to
Mound Mountain. Best approached from the west on the ridge
line trail blazed by Allen Blackman, the ruin is located on
a small knoll 6010' to the northeast of Mound Mountain. The
ruin itself is constructed of a three foot wide sandstone
wall, not quite circular, but about 133' in diameter, with
the outline of a 17'x17' building in the center. If anyone
is interested in further reading on this ruin, Circlestone:
A Superstition Mountain Mystery by Swanson and Kollenborn
describe the ruins and scientific analysis and speculation
in detail. This little jaunt has an 1160' elevation change,
but the trip is said to be worth the effort.
Trip Report - Apr 1998
Trip Report - Sep 1998
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