No trail in sections, scrambling and route finding skills necessary.
Here it is, the Dacite Super Loop! My oh my this is a killer loop.
With the emphasis on killer! This hike is for experienced hikers
only. Route finding is not only necessary but very difficult in
sections. I can't imagine just hitting the trail hoping for a good day,
the results could be horrifying. First I recommend hiking several other
Superstition trails in various seasons. Then you'll have a better feel for
what you're getting into. I'm talking about trails in the west section like
Peralta, Cave Trail, Dutchman, Bluff Springs, Flatiron, Terrapin etc. The
Cave Trail is a must or you will have to take a variation on the Peralta.
You can start this hike from Carney, Lost Goldmine or the Peralta Trailhead.
I suggest the Lost Goldmine Trailhead. So... From the Lost Goldmine
Trailhead head west to Carney Springs Trailhead, which by-the-way isn't marked.
You should notice some parking spaces followed by a pass-through in the fence.
Pass through the fence and head on up the good but non-maintained trail. First you are heading up
to a saddle that overlooks West Boulder Canyon. Very soon into the trail
you will pass an old campground according to the topo map. All that's left
over is a water pipe and cement pieces scattered about. The trail used to
go through the old campground. Now it's something like ten yards
east. I'm not sure but suppose the campground was the end of the road before becoming a wilderness in 1940. The trail goes up to the mountains. It's fairly impossible to
venture off the trail in this section, due to heavy vegetation. The trail
starts going up the canyon. You'll pass "T"
as the trail starts going up. Keep an eye out for Cairns and
white spray paint spots leading the way. It's a steep trek to West Boulder
Saddle, your first destination. Be forewarned there is a false saddle,
don't get excited too soon. From first saddle the trail dips a tad for a
short distance. Then it forges straight up to West Boulder Saddle.
Upon reaching the saddle check out the view! You are
looking into West Boulder Canyon
. In fact the trail goes down through the canyon. You could
follow it all the way to Parker Pass and then onto the First Water Trailhead for
a shuttle hike. Of even more interest, to the west is
and the ridgeline fanning out to the northwest. This takes you over to Superstition Mountain and on to the Flatiron. I'm told and have read the
ridgeline is extremely difficult. You may have seen stories on the news
over the years about lost hikers in the Superstitions, this is usually it.
The Ridgeline Trail takes off to left past
the room size boulder on the saddle. On one of my several trips up here, I
checked it out a little ways. Within fifteen minutes of hiking, you can
see much further
north. I also spotted a
general land section-marker
, according to "Hiker's
Guide to the Superstition Wilderness". If you're really
interested in the Ridgeline Trail, keep in
mind it's extremely tough.
Okay, so you're at West Boulder Saddle. This is where it begins to get tough. Check out the rock
spires which are referred to as
Hoodoos on top of Dacite Mesa. First you need to get around the yellow streaked spire ledge on
the north (left). A decent cairned trail takes you there with one dip through a
small drainage. Which is only brushy in bottom of the drainage for maybe 5
to 10 feet. Continue following the cairns up to the north/left of the
yellow streak. There's a couple of pinon pines just before rounding the
corner. Once on the other side GO SOUTH, cairns should take you across the
backside. What looks like a bigger drainage isn't much to cross if you
follow the cairns far enough south. Cairns again take you up but peter
out. The mind tells you to go north around the next set of spires.
Don't do that, GO SOUTH =) I've lost count on the number of
times I've done this hike. To date, I'm sad to admit I've gone to far
north on countless occasions. Once I came out nearly PAST Weavers
Needle...lol, but true!
Finally on down to Fremont Saddle. As
stated above, you need to be familiar with the Fremont Saddle area or this trip
isn't happening. Okay, this
is your task. You need to get down to the popular Fremont Saddle. There is a
cairned trail if your lucky enough to find it. Otherwise just do your best as I
have on many occasions. Be careful though as you can cliff out
and get into trouble. If you've ever been lost going down on the Flatiron
trail you'll know the feeling. Don't go down into something you can't get back
up. An air rescue starts out at about one grand and goes up to three from what
From Fremont Saddle go over to the Cave Trail. This is somewhat difficult to find
too. Check out the Cave Trail trip for more info on this. You could
take the Peralta down. I guess that would make it "just" the Dacite
Loop. Who can resist the feeling of completing the Dacite Super Loop. So check
out the Cave Trail ahead of time and get that section familiarized. Okay from
the Peralta Trailhead parking area you have a couple options. The quickest way
back to your car is by bicycle if you set up that option in advance. The recommend options is to download the Official Route and follow it. Otherwise just follow the SR77 to the Lost Goldmine Trailhead.
- Jan 06 2001 joe bartels