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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Bluff Springs Trail #235, AZ

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4.2k 384 4
Guide 384 Triplogs  4 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions SW
Rated
3.4
3.4 of 5 by 57
 
6
Statistics
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 3.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,400 feet
Elevation Gain 780 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,015 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.68
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Collective Slideshow
7  2018-11-25 wallyfrack
19  2018-11-23
Dutchman's Middle Trail Loop
PeraltaPhil
16  2018-11-18
La Barge Spring Loop
rayhuston
6  2018-11-08
Bluff Spring Mountain Summit
survivordude
6  2018-11-03
Peralta - Cave Trail Loop
rayhuston
8  2018-10-03 friendofThunderg
18  2018-08-25
Miners Needle Loop
rayhuston
9  2018-08-11
Weaver's Needle Summit
friendofThunderg
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 32
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 9 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  7:17am - 5:18pm
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Official Route
 
95 Linked
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Barks Canyon - Complete Route
Barks Canyon - Complete Route
same trailhead
6.0 mi
2,500 ft
Barks Lower Canyon Loop
Barks Lower Canyon Loop
same trailhead
4.0 mi
900 ft
Barks Upper Canyon Loop
Barks Upper Canyon Loop
same trailhead
1.1 mi
885 ft
Bluff Spring Loop & Weaver
Bluff Spring Loop & Weaver's View
same trailhead
10.8 mi
2,138 ft
Bluff Spring Mountain Loop
Bluff Spring Mountain Loop
same trailhead
14.8 mi
2,748 ft
Bluff Spring Mountain Summit
Bluff Spring Mountain Summit
same trailhead
8.5 mi
2,609 ft
Bluff Spring Mtn Loop via Dutchman
same trailhead
16.0 mi
2,000 ft
Charlebois from Peralta TH
Charlebois from Peralta TH
same trailhead
14.0 mi
2,700 ft
Charlebois Loop II
Charlebois Loop II
same trailhead
17.1 mi
2,855 ft
Dripping Springs from Peralta
Dripping Springs from Peralta
same trailhead
14.1 mi
1,800 ft
[ View More! ]
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Hoodoo Watchers Paradise
by nonot

Likely In-Season!
Overview: This trail begins off of the Dutchman basically at the Peralta Trailhead, and climbs through some scenic views until it reaches the Dutchman Trail 104 at Crystal Spring on the southeast side of Bluff Springs Mountain. Bluff Springs itself is northwest of Crystal Spring along the Dutchman another quarter mile.


Warning: This trail has some steep climbs and difficult route-finding sections. If it is raining, the prospect of hiking through Barks Creek could be a dangerous one. I do not see a problem with taking children on this hike when it is not raining, as the return is almost all downhill. Just don't let them wander out of sight ahead of you due to the likelihood they could take a wrong turn and your party could get separated. However, kids who are easily tired might not make it very far up the steep beginning. (Then again, if your goal is to wear them out this may be the perfect plan :)

History: While the trail itself doesn't appear to be significant, the area is rich with Dutchman lore. Barks Canyon is named after Jim Bark, who was involved in the Barkley Basin/Circle U ranching operations nearby in the Deutschman's time. Bluff Spring Mountain has been extensively searched for clues in the last century. The area had some mining operations, and the Ely Anderson trail still exists from long before the land was settled and Mexican mule trains were used to haul out the ore. It is not known what they mined for on the mountain, but it was not necessarily gold. History indicates that the area near the end of the trail was used as a camp for the Mexican miners, with variations based on how much one believes about the Peralta Mines and Dutchman's gold. William's Camp is another mining site off of the trail and old artifacts, mostly junk like cans and bottles, can still be observed, please leave them for future hikers to find. (Modern trash should be packed out)

Hike: After traveling a few dozen yards on the Dutchman, Bluff Springs Trail splits off to the north and begins a substantial climb. Known as "Cardiac Hill" due to the fact it will get your heart rate up, it quickly ascends 400 feet until a good saddle that has a view of Peralta Canyon. The trail continues to climb another 200 feet more until more level ground is encountered.

Reaching the flat section, one could proceed up a nondescript drainage to do the unmarked "Cave Trail" as Bluff Spring trail curves to the east, however it is not recommended to do that trail from this direction. Proceed east on the Bluff Springs trail and contour around a rather large hill to your north.

The trail continues on and is somewhat closed-in in sections due to vegetation. The hiker should eventually notice that they have reached, and are essentially paralleling a creek to their east. Some hikers will likely accidentally descend into the creek and off of the trail. Doing this is easier hiking, however it makes the route finding very difficult, let me explain: The hiker should pay close attention at this stage. This is one of the most likely points a hiker could get lost on the Superstition's popular trails. The Bluff Springs trail dumps you off into a creek with smooth rock and some gravel in the streambed. Some hikers may already have been going northwest in the creek bed for a few minutes if they descended too soon. The markings at this point are very poor. Essentially, you need to know that you want to TURN here and proceed NORTHEAST up the creek bed that is in on the hiker's right, rather than continue northwest up the creek bed in front of you. Although it looks like most people have gone northwest, it is NOT the trail, but is due to many people going the wrong way. (Those proceeding in the reverse direction should realize that the trail itself is slightly to the south of the creek bed that heads southeast.)

For those planning a loop hike, this is the first intersection with Bark's Creek. This is the departure point for both the difficult "Upper Barks Canyon Trail" (which is known to be misnamed) and easier "Lower Barks Canyon" hikes. The creek to the southeast and northeast are Barks Creek. To the northwest is an unnamed drainage that presents a difficult climb up to Weaver's Overlook. Stay on the Bluff Springs Trail in the creek bed going NORTHEAST.

After following cairns upstream in the creek bed (there are short sections out of the creek bed that are cairned), eventually a well-defined trail can be found on the right side (north/east) in a generally grassy area. The cairns are generally pretty good in this section and the absence of major vegetation means that hikers shouldn't have much difficultly finding the trail where it crosses to the northeast side of the creek. This is an easy stroll until the trail leaves the side of the creek and begins a steep haul up the west side of a small mountain.

This is the departure point for the "Barks Canyon Complete Route" (found by staying in the creek, rather than the trail.) Continue on north on the Bluff Springs trail as it steeply climbs to vistas that present an amazing views to the west of hoodoos and the most rugged looking terrain one is likely to see just about anywhere.

After completing the climb, the trail levels and begins to curve to the northeast. When another creek/drainage is encountered, the signed trail intersection can be found for the Terrapin Trail. Some people miss this sign as it is somewhat hidden next to the vegetation on the east side of the trail. If it is not noticed, look over your right shoulder from time to time in case you passed it. The Terrapin itself can be found on the other side of the smooth-rock drainage and is indistinct at the beginning. The signed trail for the Terrapin is the departure point for those executing the "Weaver's Needle Loop" or the "Weaver's Needle Crosscut Loop", or just those who wish to take the Terrapin.

Continue on the Bluff Springs to the east alongside the creek. The creek bed itself heads off to the north in short time to "Williams Camp" and a possible ascent to "Bluff Springs Mountain". Stay on the Bluff Springs Trail as it heads east.

For the rest of the trail you can admire Bluff Springs Mountain to your north. Where the trail turns north, one could depart on the "Ely-Anderson Trail", or simply continue to follow Bluff Springs Trail to its end and intersection with the Dutchman a few hundred yards further to the north.

The intersection with the Dutchman is right next to Crystal Spring, which is unreliable. Following the Dutchman to the north and then following a drainage to the northwest, one can find the actual Bluff Springs, for which the trail is named. The Bluff Springs are also not reliable, but sometimes have water, so obtain a water report before setting out to camp.

The only signed trails along Bluff Springs are the Terrapin and Dutchman. All of the other routes, including the Cave Trail, are not signed and one would need to pay close attention both to stay on the Bluff Springs Trail, or to find their points of departure.

The incredible views of the hoodoos and ancient volcanic debris seen alongside the trail make it a popular option for those executing day hike loops, or simply for those preferring an alternate path into the interior western Superstitions.

Trip logs: Consider your options before posting a trip log to this page.

aEUR? Day hikes to consider: (go to the page and post)
- (moderate) Barks Lower Canyon Loop
- (moderate) Cave Trail
- (moderate) Bluff Springs Loop & Weaver's View
- (difficult) Weaver's Needle Loop via Peralta
- (difficult) Barks Upper Canyon Loop
- (difficult) Bluff Springs Mountain Loop
- (difficult) Ely Anderson Trail
- (difficult) Bluff Springs Mountain Summit (including the descent to Terrapin)
- (strenuous) Barks Canyon Complete Route (to Weaver's Overlook)

aEUR? Backpack loops and others starting on #235
- Post a trip log from here
- Adjust your mileage, elevation gain & accumulated elevation gain
- After it post, link other trail segments using the "Link Hikes: <- Link to other Hikes!" feature

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.

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To Peralta Trailhead
    7.6 miles east of the junction Idaho Rd / US-60. Turn Left on to FS77 which is Peralta Road. Follow FS77 5.6 miles to a left and up turnoff. Continue 1.9 miles to Peralta Trailhead.

    The trailhead has restrooms minus running water. The parking lot is huge. It does fill up in season on weekends. Since there are no lines the rangers ask that you park straight between the posts in the main lot. Please do your part with this simple request and make room for the next guy. 0.5 miles before reaching the trailhead is an overflow lot which is also suited for horse trailer parking.

    From PHX (Jct I-10 & AZ-51) 45.2 mi - about 1 hour 8 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 97.0 mi - about 2 hours 16 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 192 mi - about 3 hours 15 mins
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