I am quite new to hiking and really have no idea what I am doing. I have the proper equipment and am 68 years old. I wanted to do the Peralta to First Water but from Peralta to fremont Saddle is the steepest so we started at First Water at 6 AM.
The first half is quite easy up over Parker Pass with fabulous views of Weavers's needle and all the area. The green desert growth this year is stunning and lush! We went May 9, 2003 and the weather was perfect. After passing the trails for Black Mesa, Boulder and Bull Pass we kept on Dutchman heading toward Weaver's Needle until the junction with Peralta.It is interesting to note that the USGS topo map for this area does not accurately show the trails. of course the topo was done in 1956 with a photo revision in 1981. Just understand that the signs are correct and if one just stays on the Dutchman trail until the sign post points the Peralta to the right, all will be fine. One key to this is when you turn quite South on the Dutchman's trail on your left is Black Mesa and the trail follows a creek until it joins with Peralta.
Once you reach the Dutchman-peralta junction right turn up switchbacks and it starts the very long steady climb to Fremont Saddle. Great views of all this wilderness area. I know the mileage is listed at 11.2 but I use a waist accurate monitor and we went 13.44 miles based on my minimum step. I don't think the "trail plotters" really count all the switchbacks. Several great places with shade for lunch.Take plenty of water and rest often. If I can do this anyone can but allow 7 hours. It is really a good accomplishment to "cross" the Superstition range from the North side to the South this way. of course one can go from Peralta to First water but I would rather be going downhill the last 2 plus miles.
Forest 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
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.