This was my introduction to the Tortilla Trailhead.
The road coming into the trailhead is FS213. Personally I consider this a
4x4 route. However, on the HAZ Forum it was debated to be doable in a
pickup. I guess there's no harm in trying. ( as it's going up and
you could get back down ) In the past I snickered at the suggestions of
hiking the three miles to trailhead. The three mile approach is actually
very scenic. Tortilla Canyon drops down steeply on the west. The
road slithers a ridge down into Tortilla Canyon which is cool in itself.
It would probably only take an hour each way as there's no obstacles in hiking a
road. Personally I'd mountain bike the stretch if I couldn't drive in.
About a half mile before the end of the road you'll
pass Tortilla Ranch. It's just a slab of concrete now. The road ends
at ( a fence ) the unsigned trailhead for the JF Trail #106. There's an
old sign stating end of motor vehicle road. Just before the end of the
road is a fork to the right. At the end of this road is
Tortilla Well. Which is the trailhead for Peter's Trail #105. The
old windmill has taken a beating from gunfire in the past eight years.
Page 234 of the Hiker's Guide to the Superstition Wilderness shows the 1993 full
bladed version. The mini water tower now has a slight lean too.
The trail is easy to spot. Page 231 in the
guide displays the Peter's Trail sign. The photo had me thinking for years
this is a nice rolling-hills laid-back hike. Check out
my photo of
the sign. You might notice there's been a little growth on that
catclaw mimosa. This should have been a clue that this wasn't gonna be a
happy little hike. The trail criss-crosses Tortilla Creek for about 0.65
miles. You might need to keep an eye out for cairns to lead the way.
This is a dreamy section of trail. I was thinking this is really cool.
Might even be better in the spring with some running water. Canyon walls
hug in close along the way. It's like Fish Creek with really low walls but
lots more foliage. At 0.65 miles Tortilla Creek forks off to the left or
southeast. Continue southwest on the obvious trail through one last hoo ha
of snuggly creek. You could have turned up Tortilla Creek and looped back
to the trailhead on the Hoolie Bacon Trail. This may be the best option
for a short 3.4 mile loop.
Okay coming out of the last hoo ha you're in a wide
open basin. It's unnamed as far as I could find out, so I'm calling it
Indian Spring Basin. I was thinking cool, I like basins. Nice easy
strolling, taking in the views, not! The trail, although obvious, was
beginning to get overgrown. Not so bad usually except here it's all
catclaw. The tallest mountain towering above on your right or west is
Tortilla Mountain. Since I live in the valley and travel the western
Superstitions more I consider this the backside of Tortilla Mountain.
The trail crosses the basin then heads up a canyon
to a low pass. It's steep but nothing like Camelback or Squaw Peak.
Mid way up you'll pass some lush grass in the creek. Kane Spring is in the
area causing the mini oasis. I was surprised to find the ground damp after
an extended hot summer. It's been in the upper nineties this October,
about 10-15 degrees above normal all month. Even Charlebois seemed dry a
couple weeks ago, which is considered a reliable spring. A bit further up
a photo looking back at the trailhead. It's a little over two miles to
the low pass. On the other side the
trail and surrounding area looks great. Unfortunately, it quickly gets
overgrown and painful in sections. The big mountain ahead of you is
Music Mountain. You are headed for the stubby knoll south end of Tortilla
So from the low pass you drop about 180 feet.
Then come back up about half that to Peter's Pass. This wasn't
my original or even second option for this trip. However, I believe this
is a good moderate distance for some breaking views. From Peter's Pass you have
great views down into Peters Canyon. I'm not familiar enough with the
eastern views to name off the land marks.
Horse Camp Basin is in there somewhere.
Peter's Pass is the turn around point for this
trip. Peter's Trail continues 4.4 miles down to the Dutchman Trail.
Which is very close to Charlebois Spring. Hikers Guide trip 41 on page 226
offers an idea for an 8.2 mile loop with the Hoolie Bacon Trail. This was
my second option coming into the day. My first thoughts were for a super
loop down to Red Tanks Trail. Neither of which appealed to me much.
The area is beautiful but the catclaw is horrid around these parts. Hikers
Guide trip 41 talks about short cutting over to the Hoolie Bacon Trail. On
the old topographical maps Peter's Trail actually used to go that way.
Hikers Guide trip 41 warns of serious catclaw on the shortcut. Then goes
on to mention Peter's Trail as a superhighway. If they call Peters a
superhighway, I don't wanna experience that shortcut period. - Oct 29 2001 joe bartels