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Second Water Trail #236, AZ

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Guide 465 Triplogs  3 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
3.3 of 5 by 81
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 3.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,258 feet
Elevation Gain -368 feet
Accumulated Gain 485 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.82
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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7  2019-09-12
Battleship Mountain - Superstitions
1  2019-06-05 gummo
8  2019-05-11
Obie Stoker Trail
1  2019-04-20 gummo
25  2019-03-03
Marsh Valley Loop
10  2019-02-16
Hackberry - Prospector - Baby Willow Loop
8  2019-02-16
Garden Valley - Hackberry Spring Loop
7  2019-01-29 Craigbhikin
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 34
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,825
Trips 4,257 map ( 21,432 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Feb, Mar, Nov → 9 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:10am - 6:30pm
Official Route
87 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Super Stroll
by joebartels

It's been four years since I've hiked from this trailhead. There is a big difference between then and now. Back then I was nervous about stories of getting lost in the Superstitions. In fact, I got lost! Nothing major, but enough to keep me out of the area for four years! I remembered the trail being wide, extremely long and boring. I'm happy to report this was a much better trip. Knowing the surrounding mountains proved to be a big bonus. The trail is still wide, but hardly long and boring. I obviously was out of shape and came at the wrong time of year. It's kind of like hiking the Siphon Draw section of the Flatiron. If you come at the wrong time of year, it'll be bone dry. I'll never forget the death march I took my sister and her family on a couple years ago. I was telling them how incredible the area was and assured them it would stack up to California standards. As luck would have it, it had to of been the driest year on record. Come to think of it, we don't talk about hiking anymore...hmm

Trail Map - by ScottM From the First Water trailhead head out on the Dutchman #104 trail. In about six minutes comes the Second Water Trail junction. Hang a left onto Second Water. Soon after the junction the trail crosses a rocky creek bed. To your right and back is Superstition Mountain. The trail continues to weaves through the hills. An excellent mixture of wildflowers inhabits this area. About twenty-five minutes into the hike (1.1 miles) the trail crosses another creek bed. This one is more narrow and less rocky then the first. The trail jumps across this usually dry creek and immediately heads up a minor canyon. This is the first time the trail noticeably ascends. A tributary to the creek crossed a minute ago is now crossed. Along the way, notice the bold gray rocks in the area. Follow this canyon up to Garden Valley. Garden Valley looks like a big onion on the USGS topographical map. You're probably not going to find any onions in this high valley. There is a smooth and wide trail. Probably what most people vision a hiking trail to be.

Hiking through Garden Valley is a stroll. Hackberry Mesa is to your upper left and Black Mesa to the right. A third of the way into Garden Valley (1.8 miles) comes the Black Mesa Trail junction. Continue on straight. The trail takes you to the northeastern end of Garden Valley. Along the way is a large swimming pool sized depression on the left. Exiting Garden Valley, the smooth trail gives way to a light rocky scramble. The trail is still very well defined but you'll need to watch your step. About 2.5 miles into the hike the trail begins to descend out of Garden Valley. The trail meets up with Second Water Canyon which takes you down to Boulder Canyon Trail (3.5 miles). Battleship Mountain stands ahead of you to the east with Geronimo Head looming overhead. Battleship Mountain is hard to distinguish from this vantage point.

Note: from the 2.5 to the 3.5 mile points, the trail descends about 490 feet. Although nothing extreme, it's good to keep in mind for the return trip.

I hiked this as an out and back trip. Most probably hook up along the way one of the several side trails. Black Mesa Loop is a popular choice. You could do a shuttle hike with Canyon Lake trailhead. A closer loop to First Water trailhead would be by Hackberry Spring. This is described and mapped in the "Hikers Guide to the Superstition Wilderness". Although seeming easier and close in, the likeliness of getting lost seems more prevalent on those less distinctive trails in my opinion.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2001-02-26 joebartels

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    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.

    Most recent of 133 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Second Water Trail #236
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    Obie Stoker Trail
    Last Saturday, May 11, 2019, I decided to revisit Obie and Olive Stoker's old campsite off the Second Water Trail.

    The short quarter mile trail is off to the right a short distance from the old Cholla Tank road. If you know where to look, there are three cairns in the immediate vicinity on either side of a wash along the south side of the Second Water Trail.

    The campsite has been used by campers, as evidenced by the array of artifacts nearby. I always search for the old ore bucket on the bank of the nearby wash. It may be re-positioned, but it is still there

    As I was relaxing on the chaise lounge I heard voices of some hikers heading down towards Boulder Canyon. On my hike back they caught up with me, as we were all on our way to the trailhead. They had been doing trail maintenance on the B.C.T.
    After three encounters with rattlesnakes they decided to call it a day. I thanked them for the work they had done.

    On previous hikes I had visited two of Obie's mines and hiked south along the short ridgeline of hills bordering Boulder Canyon.
    The view of the Battleship Mt., up close, is well worth the effort.

    The staghorn/buckhorn are beginning to bloom.
    Second Water Trail #236
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    I've been wanting to tag this one for a while now.

    Once you leave Boulder Canyon, there is no path. I tried following JJ and Johnlp's track from 2013 to the best of my ability. The paths of attack look almost impossible from Boulder Canyon. Once you begin making your way up, however, you soon realize that isn't the case. A few slick rock areas were challenging, on a similar level to Flatiron or Picketpost. When I reached the saddle the views were pretty good. Making my way over to actual peak I was blown away by the amount of poop everywhere. This place is definitely a favorite bedding down area. There is a short, exposed scramble to make the peak. Once up top, it too was coated in tons of the black pellets. I signed the summit log, and it appears the last visitors up here, besides the sheep, were the aforementioned folks in 2013.

    Going down I decided to duck down into Labarge, again following their track. Up to this point in time, that is my biggest hiking decision making blunder. To go the 1/4 mile or however long it took around an hour. It was the thickest, most overgrown, off-trail exploring I have ever done. Never again.

    La Barge Box (I think it is called) is my favorite place in all the Superstitions that I have traveled to thus far. It is otherworldly. I sat and relaxed for a bit while watching the fish go about their business.
    Second Water Trail #236
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    A trip log by johnmc22 a few weeks back got me interested in heading out to Second Water Canyon for a look around. Like all of the other canyons nearby, a little more water would have been better, but it was nice as it was.

    A very late start for me (10:30am) put me in the Horse Lot as the First Water lot was full. I decided to take in Hackberry Spring and Garden Valley along the way. Knowing how much my friend AZLumberjack likes the areas along this route, I decided to take a few extra pictures for him to peruse while he's working that brand new knee into shape.

    While the lots were near capacity, I didn't see too many hikers on the route I took. I took a back door into Hackberry Spring because I thought the normal route would be busy. Most of the hikers I crossed paths with were coming down the hill from Garden Valley on the way to Hackberry Spring. There was a large boy scout contingent set up at the windmill/corral down the hill from the horse lot. The boys didn't hike far and had way too much energy (IMO) as I passed through the corral area.

    The weather on this fine day was absolutely spectacular. I would have stayed out all day, but I had to be home in time for the St. Paddy's day festivities. That was pretty good, too.
    Second Water Trail #236
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    Just me and the dog today. We started at about 7:30am and didn't see too many people on the trail until the afternoon. I wasn't expecting to see anyone on the Cavalry so of course this one was also talking to himself. Temps were a little warm in the sun and cool in the shade. We took the shortcut over Bull Pass which I think is my preferred route. I don't mind missing that section of the Dutchman. We were back at the TH at 1:30.
    Second Water Trail #236
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    Did my annual (-1) hike over to the Dolly and back. The -1 means I missed doing it last year. Couldn't skip two years. Hit the trail at 7 am. Very cool but clear. Especially in the shade which was a good portion of the way over. Didn't see another person until a quarter of the way down that final hill into the marina. In that last mile there had to be at least 20 people. It still is a beautiful hike. Though that hill up second water was really hard on the way back. It seems to get taller and steeper each year.

    Each year I have decided not to eat at the marina. But this year was different. All the way over I thought about having a late breakfast or an early lunch there. But when I arrived it was closed. In fact the sign was marked that it was closed every day of the week. Bummer! Don't know what's up. One of the people I talked to on the way back said they had eaten there Friday. Their web site is not showing them being closed.

    There is a sign at the head of the trail at the marina end that says Second Water 2 3/4 miles. I don't see how they figure that. Even according to Google earth a direct line between those two spots is 2.61 miles. It's got to be about 4 miles. I wonder how many people have gotten into trouble on the trail by the inaccuracy of this sign.

    I've never seen the Supes so dry. Except for the lake the only water I saw on the entire trip was a trickle coming down second water canyon. I suspect there's not going to be a very good wildflower season this year.
    Second Water Trail #236
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    LaBarge Box Shuttle
    A Little Backstory if you're Interested... Otherwise just skip it for the Bones of the Triplog....

    A woman sent me a Friend Request on Social Media and our only Mutual Friend was my First Cousin who recently moved to Arkansas. The Woman's first Name sounded a bit familiar and I had a Hunch and checked her Page. I realized that the Woman is my 2nd Cousin and I hadn't heard her name or her Father's Name in over 20 Years, and I've never met either one of them. I didn't recognize her last name, because she recently got married. :sweat: Turns out, she just moved to AZ, she's a Outdoor Addict like me and so is her Father. My First Cousin encouraged her to Contact me. Naturally, I friended her and we started Chatting. Just after that, her Father actually Posted on a Canyoneering Group. I never would have made the Connection if I hadn't seen her Page first. So I started chatting with her Father too. Apparently both my Cousin and himself have done some Canyoneering as well... :lol: And then he mentioned that he was coming to AZ to visit his Daughter and they wanted to do some Hiking. His Daughter has only done one Hike in the Superstitions and her first Hike in the Superstitions??? The Ridgeline.... :sweat: That's one hell of an Intro if you ask me! It also told me that she would be most likely to leave me in the Dust although I suspected that anyway since she's several Decades younger than me... Luckily, her Dad is slightly older than me, so I felt like that might slow her down a bit, so I invited her and her Dad to join me on this Favorite of mine... We met for Lunch the day before and then they came over to see my Mom and Sister... Strange Times, but we all Clicked really well and I had a Feeling this Hike would be with Good Company....

    I set up a Track to follow even though I really didn't need one. Just Practicing with RS I guess, but it made me realize, that even though I Love this Area, I hadn't been out to either the Box or Battleship since 2013. That's got to be some sort of Crime in my Book....The Weather Forecast looked terrible, but apparently being Stubborn is a Family Trait, so we packed the Rain Gear and went for it. I love doing this Hike as a Shuttle, especially with someone who hasn't seen much of the Supes, so we set up the Shuttle. I was encouraged that it hadn't started Raining yet nor had it rained the Night before, so apparently the Weather Forecast had been delayed by a few hours. But it looked pretty formidable by the Time we got to 1st Water. I gave the others a chance to do Black Mesa Loop instead when we got to the Junction, but both of them wanted to go for it, so we headed for the Box... We made pretty good Time to the Box and even got Lunch in there, without so much as a Drop of Rain... We had a pretty Sweet little Visitor in the Box, as a Female Anna's Hummingbird decided to Bathe in the Flow of Water, within 10 Feet of my Cousin and her Dad... :)

    We hadn't been out of the Box for 2 Minutes and the first Raindrops hit. 2 Minutes of Raindrops and it quit. 10 Minutes later, it began again, only in more Earnest, so her Dad put on a Cheap Poncho I had lent him. Within 1 Minute, the Raindrops stopped. 20 Minutes later, the Dad was peeling off the Poncho. 1 minute later it started to Rain even more in Earnest. After 5 Minutes it didn't look like it was going to quit, so her Dad and I put Ponchos on. The Rain quit within a minute... I took mine off right away but her Dad waited another 10 minutes. Within 2 Minutes of him taking his off, the Rain started again... It literally became a Joke, but it was almost uncanny. He put his Poncho back on and the Rain quit again. His Daughter and I encouraged him to keep it on so the Rain wouldn't start up again... :sl: The Rain stayed away for the next 30 minutes. All of the Sudden it started up again and we were so close to being down to Canyon Lake. I joked with my Cousin that it wasn't normal since her Dad still had his Poncho on last time I saw him. She said he had taken it off 2 minutes ago.... :sl: :sl: We finally got down to the Escape at Canyon Lake and although I was happy about not slogging that Trip in some Torrential Rains, in a way I was pretty disappointed to see that the Desert didn't get more out of this Storm. The Escape, having sat there all day, had gotten just enough Raindrops to where I couldn't see out of the Windshield... ](*,)

    I will always love this Hike especially doing it with the Shuttle. I was wondering just how well I'd do since I've been busy with Home Projects for over a Month and haven't been out. And although I'd done a fair share of shorter Hikes before that, that had some Punch to them, I hadn't done anything resembling 10 Miles since November. I felt really good still when we hit the Box, but by the Time the Rock Hopping was done in LaBarge Creek and we hit the Exit Trail of Boulder, I was starting to feel a bit low on Gas... :sweat: I slowed a bit on the Ascent out and I was definitely ready to be done when we hit the Escape. But albeit a bit stiff this morning, recovery has been good today so I must not have slid backwards too far...

    My Cousin and her Dad loved the Hike. She's had a pretty good Intro to the Supes I'd say and I think she's now Addicted to them... Talks of Battleship have already surfaced... :lol: Her Father went back to California today, but I think he's wanting to return too...

    Another Good Day in the Supes, with New Friends and Family.... :D
    Second Water Trail #236
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    Beautiful weather for a hike. Sprinkled on me twice and misted a few times between 7 and 8 am, then nothing. Did this loop clockwise. When I got down to the Dutchman I decided to go up to Bull Pass to get a little more distance and elevation.

    Every time I've done this hike I wonder how many creek crossings there are. I had 25 between Second Water trail and the Dutchman along the Boulder Creek. Another 3 on Second Water trail, if you don't count the little watersheds.. Two each direction going up to Bull Pass. And 9 back along the Dutchman. For a total of 41 crossings.
    Second Water Trail #236
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    Canyon Lake to Second Water Canyon Backpack
    A few of us did an overnight backpack trip in the Supes in early February 2018. Our route took us from the Canyon Lake Trailhead, south on Boulder Canyon Trail to Second Water Trail (about 4 miles). We then headed west of Second Water Trail, camping near the spot where the pools of water cross the Second Water Trail.

    Since the Arizona winter had been quite dry up until this point, we weren't certain of water sources. A brief Water Report review on Hike AZ just before the hike noted that Second Water Canyon had just a trickle of algae-laden slime, so we decided to carry all water needed. That made for an arduous task on day 1, coming up the incline from Canyon Lake and back down again into La Barge Canyon. We settled into camp along Second Water Canyon. In actual fact, the water source there could have been used to pump (although it was admittedly pretty gross), but we found a better source by scrambling (without packs) up Second Water Canyon to the true Second Water Spring. The water at the headwaters of Second Water Spring was actually pretty clear. See my photos for pics.

    Overall, a nice overnighter in the Supes. Hiking out was a joy with only a few liters of water to carry.
    Second Water Trail #236
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    Battle Barge
    It was so hot in the western supes this weekend. 82 in February, all day in direct sunlight, makes me never want to hike here again. The only redeeming aspects of this hike, in my opinion, were the actual climb of the battleship ridge and checking out La Barge Box. If I had to come back to this area, I would avoid second water trail all together and maybe head up the Boulder Canyon trail from Canyon Lake. Also, if I had planned ahead, I realize I could have looped back to the second water/boulder canyon junction by heading north from La Barge Box instead of backtracking to the saddle.

    TL;DR: TOO hot for "winter"
    Second Water Trail #236
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    Wonderful overnight trip with my buddy Lauren!
    A little bit of the GET & Dutchman to start, we then substituted the #104 with the Black Mesa Trail from the description for the counter clockwise lasso loop. So it went ... Second Water to Black Mesa :next: Black Mesa down to Boulder Canyon :next: Up Boulder Canyon to Battleship where we set up camp on a nice sandy bar just before sunset to end the days hiking and settle in to camp life. Day 2 started early with morning coffee and the sunrise show. After a slow & lazy camp break down and pack up, we headed up the remaining Boulder trail :next: Up and across Second Water and back to the start ending our overnight stay. Along the way we had several fun short side trips, met a couple of very friendly folks & was a little :o at the horse parade (bout 25) we stepped aside for to watch come down the Second Water Trail.
    Post trip meal was had back in Gilbert at Nando's before both of our long drives back home.
    Always good to get back in the Superstition Wilderness, even better to do it with a great friend I don't get to see near enough of .....
    Thank You Lauren :yr: Girl!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    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
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