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 Black Mesa Loop - Superstition Mtns, AZ
Description 285 Triplogs 3 Topics
RatedFavorite   Wish List Region
 Superstitions NW
Difficulty 3.5    Route Finding
Distance Round Trip 9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,300 feet
Elevation Gain 480 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,125 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 - 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 14.63
Course Loop Hike
Author HAZ Hikebot
Descriptions 12,257
Routes 10,415
Photos 17
Trips 1 map ( 0 miles )
Age 18
Location Arizona
Rated Viewed All Mine Friends
16  2015-02-15 War247
2  2015-02-01 mazatzal
22  2015-01-19 cdeperro
16  2015-01-17
Second Water-Black Mesa-B
4  2015-01-09
Black Top Mesa
12  2014-10-25 garyc57
5  2014-09-28 wallyfrack
10  2014-08-09 wallyfrack
23  2014-05-07 Outdoor Lover
7  2014-03-08 IrvFerguson
59  2014-03-02 tibber
26  2014-02-11
Yellow Peak - Superstitio
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 9
Trailhead Forecast
Historical Weather
Map - Beartooth Superstition Wilderness
Forest Tonto
Wilderness Superstition
Backpack - Yes & Connecting
Seasons - Autumn to Spring
Official Route
Alternative Routes
Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
0.0  Aylor's Arch
0.0  Battleship Mountain - Superstitions
0.0  Black Top Mesa
0.0  Charlebois from First Water TH
0.0  First Water TH to Canyon Lake
0.0  First Water TH to Peralta TH
[ View More! ]
     Cactuscat Pose
     Anicia Variable Checkerspot Bu
     Ash-Throated Flycatcher
     Black-tailed Rattlesnake
     Brown-Crested Flycatcher
     Cactus Wren
     California Patch Butterfly
     Canyon Tree Frog
     Checkered White Butterfly
     Common Kingsnake - California
     Common side-blotched lizard
     Curve-billed Thrasher
     Desert Cottontail
     Desert Tortoise
     Empress Leilia Butterfly
     Ferocious Water Bug
     Gila Monster
     Great Purple Hairstreak
     Greater earless lizard
     Ladder-backed Woodpecker
     Queen Butterfly
     Red Spotted Toad
     Red-tailed Hawk
     Regal Horned Lizard
     Sonoran Desert Toad
     Sonoran Lyresnake
     Turkey Vulture
     Western Diamondback Rattlesnak
     Wildlife Handling and Feeding
     Anderson Thornbush
     Apache Hedgehog
     Barestem Larkspur
     Blackfoot Daisy
     Blue Dicks
     Buckhorn Cholla
     Century Plant
     Chain Fruit Cholla
     Christmas Cholla
     Coulter's Lupine
     Desert Broom
     Desert Chicory
     Desert Globemallow
     Desert Marigold
     Desert Phlox
     Engelmann Prickly Pear
     Fairy Duster
     Flat Top Buckwheat
     Golden Flowered Agave
     Indian Paintbrush
     Mexican Gold Poppy
     Owl Clover
 Parry Dalea
     Pincushion Cactus
   Pursh Plantain
     Red Maids
     Strawberry Hedgehog
     Triangle Bursage
     Unidentified Flora
     Unidentified Lupine
     White Ratany
     Wiry Lotus
     Natural Arch

Wonderful Views!
by HAZ Hikebot

The hike starts out at the First Water Trailhead and follows the Second Water Trail (236) for about 1.5 miles through a couple of washes until you enter Garden Valley. Here you should find a sign indicating that Black Mesa Trail (241) turns to the right.

The Hiker's Guide to the Superstition Mountains says that it is a short hike down Black Mesa Trail to the Boulder Canyon. I guess that all depends on your definition of short. But I found it to be around 3.5 miles. Black Mesa Trail heads up to the top of Black Mesa that from a distance appears to be a pile of black lava rocks around 2 miles down the path. Along this part of the trail, you can see Four Peaks in the distance on a clear day as well as a few teasing glimpses of Weaver's Needle.

From the top of Black Mesa you'll encounter a forest of Jumping Cholla Cactus that live up to their name in a slight breeze. I had one brush up against my walking stick and it took a little work to remove all the spines.

Working your way down from Black Mesa the trail will descend into Boulder Canyon. Here things get a little tricky. There is the main trail, which is indistinguishable from the horse and foot trails worn down by campers. If you are on the main trail, you should run into another sign indicating the junction of Black Mesa Trail with Lost Dutchman's. But if you are on one of the alternative paths, you may see a large circle of rocks and continue walking past it. If you do miss the sign, you should bump into a second one marking the junction of Boulder Canyon and Lost Dutchman's. Should you do that, backtrack away from Weaver's Needle to the circle of rocks and turn left on the footpath. You should then find the main sign about 200 yards away.

In Boulder Canyon, you have a very good view of Weaver's Needle. From here it looks a lot larger than from Freemont Saddle on more traveled Peralta Trail on the other side. Other sites in the canyon include Battleship Mountain and Geronimo Head.

From this point you will have about 4.5 miles to follow Lost Dutchman's Trail back to the First Water Trailhead. If you started the hike in mid-morning, the cliffs will block some of the afternoon sun and will give you a break from the heat.

The aforementioned Hiker's Guide to the Superstition Mountains also mentions an alternative return path that is about 2.5 miles longer that follows Boulder Canyon Trail back and connects with the Second Water Trail.

It never ceases to amaze me that the number of people that go off on long trails with insufficient water. It was around 95 degrees in mid October with a full sun overhead. On this mile hike, I consumed close to 3 liters of water. I encountered two different groups of hikers at both ends of the trail that had little more than a 25 ounce bottle with them for their hike. Due to the length of this hike, water being unavailable, and a remote chance of missing the return marker, it can not be stressed enough to carry enough water on this hike. The park ranger told be that in the summer months, he would not attempt it with less than one gallon per person. This is a good all day hike for the spring or fall months but I guess would be quite arduous in the 100+ days of summer. With the exception of the myriad of conflicting trails in Boulder Canyon, the trail is well signed and maintained. While there are no steep ascents like those found on the far side of Peralta, the larger rocks in the canyon washes require hiking boots with strong ankle support. Cell phone coverage is non-existent except for the trailhead parking area.


Directions Preferred Months Nov Jan Feb Mar
Water / Source:possible seasonal creeks, bring plenty
Preferred Start8 AM Cell Phone SignalNo Sunrise6:22am Sunset6:42pm
Road / VehicleFR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay
Fees / Permit

Tonto Pass is a forest wide permit for recreational sites and campgrounds. Typically not for trailheads.

To First Water Trailhead
From Mesa follow Highway 60 East to Idaho Road. Turn North onto Idaho Road which is SR88 and follow North 2.2 miles. SR88 bends right just past Scenic St. and Idaho continues North. Be sure to go right and stay on SR88. Follow SR88 5.2 miles to the signed turnoff for First Water Trailhead, this is FR-78. Turn right on to FR-78 and follow 2.6 miles to the end.

This trailhead feature restrooms without running water. The large parking area fills up in season. When full utilize the Horse Lot 0.5 miles back.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 43.1 mi - about 59 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 136 mi - about 2 hours 16 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 187 mi - about 3 hours 3 mins
Login for Mapped Driving Directions
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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