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Boulder Canyon Trail #103, AZ

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Guide 406 Triplogs  4 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
3.8 of 5 by 93
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 7.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,680 feet
Elevation Gain 650 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,500 feet
Avg Time One Way 3.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.3
Interest Ruins & 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
7  2019-05-22 vanman
13  2019-03-15 KBKB
25  2019-03-03
Marsh Valley Loop
13  2019-01-26
Battleship Mountain - Superstitions
1  2019-01-26 friendofThunderg
8  2019-01-21
Boulder La Barge Hackberry Romp
10  2019-01-21
Battleship Mountain - Superstitions
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 27
Author nonot
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 236
Photos 1,969
Trips 476 map ( 4,511 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 8 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:14am - 6:23pm
Official Route
63 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
A Bold Hike
by nonot

This trail segment spans from Canyon Lake TH to the Dutchman Trail #104. Which is the Boulder Basin where Boulder Creek forks into East, Little & West Boulder Creeks.

This trail is somewhat misnamed. The first half-mile from the Canyon Lake Trailhead allows views of Boulder Canyon, however it quickly turns away to a climb up Frog Peak. Descending from the peak, you actually approach and cross La Barge Canyon before finally getting into Boulder Canyon, which you follow for the remainder of the trail. Day hikers rarely make it to Boulder Canyon.

Starting from Canyon Lake Marina, park at the designated spots for hikers and cross Apache Trail. The trail in this section allows views of the inlet created where Canyon Lake flooded the original lower reaches of boulder canyon. The trail climbs to a hill, providing some glimpses of the lake inlet and interesting mesas to the west. From the hill, the trail proceeds east, climbing for Frog Peak. (This hill is the departure point for "La Barge Lowest Loop"). After a steady climb to the peak, you will be given an incredible view across Canyon lake and be able to see as far as the interesting alcove with the waterfall north of Tortilla Flats, admire the enormous cairn created on this peak. I do not know the history of this monstrous cairn; so if someone has some information on this, please send me a PM.

From here, you descend on the somewhat rocky trail on the way down to La Barge Creek. Suggested side trips for this area are: "La Barge Canyon View". You have an excellent view of the stern of Battleship Mountain as you descend.

After reaching the creek bed, the trail crosses to the west side and begin a minor ascent over the saddle. (The crossing is the departure point for "La Barge Lower-Box Loop")

At the saddle between La Barge Canyon and Boulder Canyon on the trail, you will come upon the Indian Paint Mine. The pit that they extracted red clay to make their paints and pottery is still apparent, and the nearby "furnace" area is still discernible.

Descending into Boulder Canyon proper, the trail crosses Boulder Creek to reach the west side of the trail. Shortly you will run into the first intersection with Second Water Trail. Continue on south on the Boulder Canyon Trail. From here, the trail gets a bit more rugged and less defined as it follows along Battleship Mountain. It tends to stay close to the sides of the creek, but makes frequent crossings. Cairns should lead you in the right direction, but the area is somewhat over-cairned in areas leading to some confusion. It is generally rocky and the creek bed contains some catclaw, shrub live oak, and other vegetation.

The canyon is fairly narrow, but the slope of the climb is gradual. Next you'll reach the intersection with the Cavalry Trail #239. The intersection is signed, however if you are not on the east side of the creek at this point, you may miss it. Continue south on the Boulder Canyon Trail.

Before the end you will see Needle Canyon entering from the east, which looks mighty formidable. Finally, the trail winds its way to flatter ground on the west side and closely watching for cairns will lead you to the official intersection with the Dutchman, which is also very close to the Bull Pass Trail #129 and somewhat near Black Mesa Trail #241. These intersections are well signed, however the hiker should be warned that this final intersection is fairly indistinct and one should pay careful attention to find where the trail finally leaves the creek. I would consider it likely some will miss the trail and pop out on either the Bull Pass or simply somewhere along the Dutchman, which may lead to some confusion. I have given directions to two groups of very confused folks I've found standing at this intersection, some with GPS, and I believe this is the cause of the most confusion.

The views of Weaver's Needle at the end are motivation to go all the way to the end of the Boulder Canyon, but turn around as your fitness level and time before darkness dictate if doing a dayhike.

There is a small restaurant at the Marina, which a hungry hiker may find to their advantage.

Boulder Creek is seasonal. Caution should be exercised crossing either La Barge or Boulder Creeks if it has rained recently. During a storm flash floods are a real possibility at these crossings due to the tremendous area these creeks are responsible for draining. 3-5 feet of flowing water can take down a grown man. If intending to camp, it would be best to obtain a water report for Boulder Creek as it is typically dry in the summer.

Consider your options before posting a triplog to this page.
o Shuttle hikes to consider: (go to the page and post)
- Canyon Lake TH to Peralta TH
- First Water TH to Canyon Lake TH

o Day hikes to consider: (go to the page and post)
- (easy) La Barge Canyon View
- (moderate) La Barge Lowest Loop (does not follow #103, but is in the area)
- (difficult) La Barge Lower-Box Loop

o Partial out-n-back hikes you'll need to adjust your mileage, elevation gain & accumulated elevation gain
- To Second Water Trail #236 (and back) is 8.0 mi, 650' EG, 1600' AEG
- To Indian Paint Mine (and back) is 7.0 mi, 650' EG, 1450' AEG
- To La Barge Creek (and back) is 5.75 mi, 650' EG, 1300' AEG

o Backpack loops and others starting on #103
- Post a triplog from here
- Adjust your mileage, elevation gain & accumulated elevation gain
- After it post, link other trail segments using the Linked feature!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2008-03-12 nonot

    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 104 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Boulder Canyon Trail #103
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    Marilyn, Ben, Mike, Sara, Kelly, Julie, Marta, and I hiked part of the Boulder Canyon Trail starting from the Canyon Lake Marina. We hiked together out to La Barge Creek; when I’ve hiked there in the past, the creek was either totally or mostly dry. This time, however, the creek was perhaps 30 feet wide with ankle deep water through the shallowest path to the other side. (If you purposely chose a deeper path, you might have ended up in knee deep water.) In any case, Sara, Julie, Kelly, and Marta opted to go back at this point, while Ben, Marilyn, Mike, and I continued on.

    I had hoped to hike up La Barge Canyon to see the pools at the point where it starts to get hard to continue onward, but the wetness discouraged us – none of us had brought appropriate footwear for these conditions. We continued on, also crossing Boulder Creek. We found Boulder Creek to be easier to cross without getting quite as wet. We turned around at the intersection with Second Water Trail.
    Boulder Canyon Trail #103
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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.
    Boulder Canyon Trail #103
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    I led a group of six on a variation of the La Barge Battleship Saddle Loop. The only difference from the official route was that our group returned via the Boulder Canyon Trail instead of rock hopping through Boulder Canyon.

    I had hiked this route by myself several weeks earlier to see if it was suitable for a group hike. As mentioned in that past triplog, I found the trail from La Barge Canyon over the saddle at the "stern" of Battleship Mountain to be in excellent condition, complete with cairns. Route finding in that section is pretty straightforward.

    We saw a dead fox in La Barge Canyon. It was largely intact; we were wondering if it succumbed to rabies. Later on, near the junction of Boulder Canyon & Second Water, we saw a small pool with reddish - almost blood-red - water. We thought it might be some sort of algal bloom.

    Aside from seeing the dead fox, we really enjoyed La Barge Canyon. We encountered several pools which were deeper when I last visited in February. We saw frogs (or maybe toads), tadpoles, and minnows in and around these pools. We also heard noises which we assumed were frogs. There was also a tree with bees that we steered well clear of.

    While hiking back on the Boulder Canyon Trail, we encountered a small memorial for someone (or perhaps some pet?) who had, if the notation on the cross is to be believed, died hiking. I took a photo of it.

    A note about hydration - while were at the pools, I offered to filter some water if anyone needed it. Everyone in the group said they were okay. But, on the way back, one of our group actually did run out of water. She did have - or was given, I'm not sure which - a bottle of gatorade, which she nursed back to the trailhead. Anyway... this is just a reminder to bring more water than you think you need and, if you have a filter available to you, filter it when the opportunity presents itself.
    Boulder Canyon Trail #103
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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.
    Boulder Canyon Trail #103
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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.
    Boulder Canyon Trail #103
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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
    Boulder Canyon Trail #103
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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.
    Boulder Canyon Trail #103
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    On Sunday, I did a solo hike of much of the La Barge Battleship Saddle Loop.

    Starting from the Canyon Lake Marina, I went out on the Boulder Canyon Trail, and then turned south into La Barge Creek. I followed the creek to where the canyon walls narrow and significant scrambling would become necessary. (This is the place where Fritzki recommend that most turn around in his description of the La Barge Lower - Box Loop.

    I then went and (much to my surprise) easily found the gap in vegetation for the start up to Battleship Saddle. It was a short ways past a fire ring and was marked with at least two cairns. I thought that the section up to the saddle would involve loose terrain and bushwhacking, so it was a pleasant surprise to find a well defined trail with frequent cairns. This section was far easier than I expected.

    Upon reaching the saddle, I decided to do the (rest of the) approach to Battleship Mountain. When I got to the class 3 section, I chatted with another group who was going to the top. I resisted the temptation to do the summit, saving it for another day.

    I then descended into Boulder Creek. Again, the trail was in good shape, better than I expected. There was a slightly steep section near the creek, but the rock is solid with good holds. When I had last hiked this section of Boulder Creek - which might have been in 2011 - route finding was more of a challenge. This time I found it much easier to navigate, but this might be due to lack of recent significant precipitation.

    So far, aside from my side trip to look at the opening moves for an ascent of Battleship Mountain, I did the La Barge Battleship Saddle Loop almost exactly. I deviated from the route for this hike by instead returning on the Boulder Canyon Trail - the La Barge Battleship Saddle Loop instead routes the hiker down (north in) Boulder Creek. My alternate route was longer with more elevation gain, but I figured that it'd be quicker and easier on my ankles than negotiating the myriad boulders in the creek.

    On my way back, I met Matt and Daniel, who had also been hiking in La Barge Creek. We hiked back to the Marina together.

    The morning started out cool and windy. It was so windy that I thought I might lose my Tilley LTM2 "King of Brims" hat. Despite attaching both the chin and back-of-head strap, I held onto my hat anyway during some especially gusty sections. As the day went on, it warmed up and the wind died down significantly.

    I brought along 6 liters of water and drank a little over 3 liters. There was occasional water in La Barge Creek, so filtering water would have been an option.
    Boulder Canyon Trail #103
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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.
    Boulder Canyon Trail #103
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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
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Canyon Lake Trailhead
    From the junction of Idaho Road & SR-88 follow SR-88 14.4 miles east to just after mile marker 210. Turn left into the Canyon Lake Marina parking lot. The area closest to the SR-88 (furthest away from the Marina) is the actual trailhead parking. The area allowed is marked in front of each space.

    There's restrooms outside the restaurant. The restaurant is better than you might think for being out in the middle of nowhere. Try the stuffed Jalapeños, the berry sauce is awesome. Sit on the patio and watch the HUGE fish swim below. The 'Dolly' Steamboat (a tourist attraction) is way out of character for the area, but the snowbirds eat it up.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 49.7 mi - about 1 hour 6 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 143 mi - about 2 hours 23 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 194 mi - about 3 hours 10 mins
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