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Hike Arizona: Superstition Wilderness

Trailheads
West East
Aylors Caballo One-Way
Dacite Mesa
First Water to Canyon Lake
Garden Valley Loop
Garden Valley Arch
Geronimo Cave
Hieroglyphic Trail
Jacob’s Crosscut Trail
Lost Goldmine Trail
Massacre Grounds
Needle Canyon Life March
Peralta Trail
O’Grady Canyon
Old West Boulder Canyon
Pictograph Trail
Prospector’s View
Siphon Draw
Weaver’s Needle Loop
West Boulder Saddle
Black Mesa Loop
Black Mesa Overlook
Black Mesa – Second Water
Bluff Spring Loop
Boulder Canyon
Coffee Flat Mountain
Coffee Flat-Bluff Spring Ridge
Coronado Mesa
Crucifix Canyon
Dripping Spring
Fish Creek Canyon
Haunted Canyon
Mesquite Flat
Mesquite Ridge
Millsite Canyon
Reavis Ranch Trail
Reavis Ranch
Rogers Canyon
Tortilla Ranch

Guidebooks:
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
  • Weather Conditions
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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.

Source: HikeArizona.com
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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
  • Weather Conditions

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.
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Reavis Ranch

Hike:
  • 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'
  • Weather Conditions
Remarks: 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 Saturday.

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.
clip Trip Report - Apr 1998
Trip Report - Sep 1998
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updated July 25, 2014