FW Trailhead - 4.5 miles on the Dutchman Trail to Bull Pass junction. Follow Bull Pass Trail 0.6 miles to Bull Pass Saddle. Follow faint trail 0.6 miles to top of Black Top Mesa. Return same route.
Atop Black Top Mesa are some of the best overhead views of the western Superstitions. This is a pretty straight forward out and back hike. The trail starts at First Water Trailhead. Follow the Dutchman Trail for 4.5 miles to the Bull Pass junction. Turn left onto Bull Pass Trail. The trail crosses a creek bed immediately and is slightly overgrown. Without much ado the trail heads up 467 feet to Bull Pass Saddle. On the saddle you will see a "use" trail heading up to the right. This is the route you need to ascend Black Top Mesa. It's another 571 feet to the top.
From the Dutchman/Black Mesa junction to the top is about 1.2 miles. The ascent may seem steep due to fatigue from the previous 4 miles. It's really not too bad. The average grade of the ascent is approximately 18 degrees. For reference Camelback is steeper with an average grade of 23 degrees.
The Spanish Hieroglyphics are the main draw to the area. They're somewhere on the black rocks that line the southwest edge. I didn't see them. Then again I didn't look very thorough. I'd been excited to hike up the mesa all summer after looking at the 3D topos. The trail doesn't seem to get much mention anywhere. When it does get mentioned it's all about the hieroglyphics. My thoughts from the get go was the views would be incredible in all directions. They were pretty darn good all around. You might not be as excited if you don't know the area. The top is like a big slanted wheat field. I didn't see any campsites for the record. If that's your thing I'm sure you could make do in a couple places. I'd forget a campfire though! ( too much tall grass ) There isn't a high point with 360 views so you'll need to roam around. My photos include many of the views. Included is a head on view of the popular Weavers Needle. Check 'em out!
The weather was very warm for late October in the low 90's. When it cools down I'm sure I'll be back. A great alternative on the return would be Boulder Canyon Trail. This would add a few miles. Probably worth the extra effort if it's cool outside! - Oct 20 2001 joe bartels