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Second Water - Black Mesa cut Loop, AZ

no permit
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Guide 14 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
3.6 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Loop 9.33 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,288 feet
Elevation Gain 462 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.64
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes
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22  2016-01-29
LaBarge Box Canyon Lasso
26  2014-02-01
Nightmare in the Superstitions Revisited
12  2013-03-23
Black Mesa Loop - Superstition Mtns
26  2010-03-10
Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water TH
Pathfinder Aaron
40  2009-02-01 AZLOT69
9  2007-12-30 woarnoart
Author woarnoart
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 4
Photos 87
Trips 31 map ( 278 miles )
Age 51 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:14am - 6:23pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Second to None
by woarnoart

This hike is a variation on the two alternate routes for Second Water Spring in Carlson's Hiker's Guide to the Superstitions. The hike has something for everyone: trails, cross country hiking, bouldering in a canyon and finally rock hopping in a creek. I would strongly suggest not to do the hike without a map or at least a GPS.

The hike starts at the First Water Trailhead. After 0.33 miles there is a sign at the junction of Second Water and the Dutchman Trail. Follow the Second Water Trail. Shortly after the junction you will cross First Water Creek.

Keep following the trail till you are at a second Junction Marker in Garden Valley. At this junction folow the Black Mesa Trail. The trail climds steadily but isn't to hard.

Once you are at the top of the mesa go left (north-east) through the Cholla's. This is the part were you are happy to wear long pants. There isn't a set trail or cairns here. Just try to aim for the entry of the canyon (N33.48827 W111.40120). To reach this you have to climb two small hills that are scattered with black rocks. Again this isn't to hard. Once you're on top of the second hill you can see the entry of the canyon.

The small canyon has plenty of pools (I did the hike in December) and are an excellent spot to have lunch. Just follow the canyon and eventually you'll arrive at the Boulder Canyon/Trail (N33.49109 W111.39995). Follow the Boulder Trail in the North-Western direction. The trail is cairned in most places. If you loose the cairns, don't despair, just follow the creek.

Eventually you will arrive at the junction of the Boulder and the Second Water Trails (N33.49907 W111.40608). You can see the junction marker on the bank of the creek.

Follow the Second Water Trail. The trail will steadily climb till you arrive again at Garden Valley. Just continue to follow the trail back to the trailhead.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2007-12-31 woarnoart
    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 Triplog Reviews
    Second Water - Black Mesa cut Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Actually did a slightly different loop starting from First Water Trailhead, took 104 (Dutchman) to Bull Pass Trail to Boulder Canyon Trail and then Second Water Trail back to First Water Trailhead. 14 miles total. A couple of nice inclines to beautiful views of Weaver's Needle and Battleship Mountain along the way. Fun hike! Great weather, but no real opportunities for water right now. We need rain!
    Second Water - Black Mesa cut Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    LaBarge Box Canyon Lasso
    Wanted to go to one of our favorite spots, LaBarge Box Canyon, but just a little different route. Had done 2nd Water - Black Mesa cut Loop 4 years ago, so let's incorporate this, would make it interesting. I will admit, the going down Black Mesa Cut is a whole lot easier then going up the dang thing. :oplz: Spotted a couple of campers at 2nd Water / Boulder Trail intersection, but no breakfast offered :cry: . Lot of water running in both Boulder and LaBarge Creeks, Just a Perfect Day for being Outdoors :y: : app :
    Second Water - Black Mesa cut Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Nightmare in the Superstitions Revisited
    Revisiting a Nightmare

    Couldn't talk Denny into a redo.... He still shakes at the mention of that day.
    Joe on the other hand, is just as stupid as me... We have short memories.

    Slightly different route planned this time to pick up some Supes trails I had not yet been on.
    First time on Second Water, Black Mesa, and Massacre. Main plan was still intact approach Flatiron/5024 from the East on Old West Boulder Ridge and exit 5024 to the north hitting Massacre on the way down.

    We had our doubts on the weather, with dark clouds in the area to start. It got sunny, it got cloudy again, it got windy, we got sprinkled on, saw lightning in the distance.... A perfect day.

    O'Grady Canyon was nicer than anticipated with some nice easy hiking around the small falls and pools of water. The Climb to Old West Boulder Ridge was just as friggin steep as last time. This time however, once at the top, we were able to enjoy the absolute HUGE views of the Supes. Last time it was Cold Temps, High Winds and 10' visibility. This is a real pretty Ridgeline walk to get over to the Superstition Ridgeline trail with views...did I mention the views.

    We ran in to Haz'er Ray Huston..good to meet you!!...on the way to Flatiron. From Flatiron it was over to the Crash Memorial for the first time and then a scramble up to 5024 from there.

    We started our decent to the north off of 5024 and had lunch by some sweet Hoodoos.

    This next portion was the portion that had the most concern for me. It was steep and loose and very slooow going, but not as bad as expected getting down to Massacre Falls. We checked out the dry fall / pour off area... and then scrambled down to the trail.

    The sun was getting low in the sky and the shadows added to the incredible views for the day.

    Really enjoyed this loop....

    ps.. Denny... We checked it out... another 50 yards and we would have made it down the scary spot.

    Second Water - Black Mesa cut Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    About one third of this trip is bushwhack-scramble-bouldering. What a great way to spend the day. With no sign of anyone being thru here in a year its easy to feel like a pioneer in a few areas of the Superstitions still. The grass on Black Mesa cover countless rocks testing my ankle support. Stopping for a snack in one of the canyons, I was surprised to see rock art directly across from me. Later I was surprised by more petroglyphs. A great roundtrip and without seeing a soul until my return to Garden Valley.
    Second Water - Black Mesa cut Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I did a the loop Black Mesa/Second Water Spring. Once on top of Black Mesa I took a left through the Cholla's and did a off trail hike to the Boulder Canyon Trail and from there to the Second Water Trail. Especially the Canyon just before the Boulder Canyon Trail was worth the trip.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - 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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