keep looking for gold!
Intro: Many hikers overlook the Goldfield mountains since they really lie in the shadow of the Superstition range. One other reason is that there are very few designated trails in the Goldfields, few of the peaks are named and most trailheads are obscure. I was introduced to the mountains by my hiking friend Andy who is into the geocache system that is lots of fun. An avid hiker Ted Tenny has recently published a book titled Goldfield Mountains Hikes that I obtained at the Superstition Museum. He personally introduced me to off trail hiking and I highly recommend his book.
Other reasons that I will do lots of Goldfield hikes this year is that the entire area is very close to my home for easy access and the entire area (as much different from the Superstitions) was the site of many gold mines that were very profitable at one time, particularly the Mammoth Mine at Goldfield. There are over 50 mine sites in the Goldfields but only legends about such sites in the Superstitions.
A couple years back I did write up a hike in lower Willow Springs that we took to Bagley Tank and back. Also one called Wishbone Junction. The entire Pass Mountain system at Usery park is part of the Goldfields. What I want to emphasize is that there is an astounding amount of very wild country so close to the Apache Trail on the North side. Every time I try one of the hikes I am surprised at many of the formations, caves, arches and general terrain of the area between highway 88 and the Salt River. There are 16 named peaks, 15 arches and 10 trailheads. Some of the routes are fairly easy but some are quite difficult with "dropoffs" on many routes.
Hike: Bulldog Canyon Loop starts at the Dome Mountain Trailhead. Follow jeep road FS 10 for half a mile and then turn right onto FS 1356 which is clearly marked. This is more of a road that drops down into Bulldog Canyon, then climbs up to an old ranch site with a rock house and well with some foundation farther up. This was an old cattle ranch site but there does not seem to be lots of history about it.
At the rock house we checked on a cache that Andy has there, then retraced out steps back down FS 1356 to a trail heading SW toward Blue Ridge. There is no trail mark but it is quite clear as it heads SE toward a stark landmark called Saddle Rock where Andy has another cache. If you stay on the marked trail you will come to a right turn that goes up the hill toward Saddle Rock. The topo maps do show this region even though they are sadly out of date.
We climbed Blue Ridge and on up to Saddle Rock. Some of this is a bushwhack but you keep heading SW and the route becomes clear to Saddle Rock. From Saddle Rock you come back to the trail and go west back to the trailhead to complete the loop.
This 5 miles route has a little climbing and some very interesting cliffs and boulders along the way.
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.