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Black Mesa Trail #241, AZ

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Guide 129 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
3.2 of 5 by 26
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Distance One Way 3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,419 feet
Elevation Gain 356 feet
Accumulated Gain 448 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5
Kokopelli Seeds 4.49
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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7  2018-12-29 ALMAL
3  2018-12-18 Craigbhikin
13  2018-12-01
Black Top Mesa Plus
15  2018-12-01
Weaver Crosscut Loop from First Water
17  2018-12-01
Black Mesa - Weavers Needle Loops
6  2018-10-13
Red Hills Needle Canyon
18  2017-12-28
Black Mesa Dutchman Loop
21  2017-12-16
Aylor Arch - Black Top and Black Mesa
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 9
Author markthurman53
author avatar Guides 75
Routes 475
Photos 5,651
Trips 400 map ( 3,956 miles )
Age 66 Male Gender
Location Tucson, Arizona
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov → Early
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:14am - 6:23pm
Official Route
36 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Young at 3 million
by markthurman53

Access to the Black Mesa Trail from the north is usually from the First Water Trail Head via the Second Water Trail. The Black Mesa Trail from North to South starts along the Second Water Trail at a signed intersection on the south side of Garden Valley. From this intersection looking north is Hackberry Mesa on the far side of Garden Valley and Black Mesa to the south (Actually is southeast but I will be referring to this trail as a north - south trail). The Black Mesa Trail crosses Black Mesa diagonally along the southern portion of the mesa and ends after dropping into Boulder Canyon for a total of 3 miles.

Black Mesa stands out from other areas in the Superstitions in that it has a layer of black basaltic rock capping it, like chocolate frosting on a light colored cake. This 3 million year old basalt flow is fairly recent compared to the rest of the Superstition caldera complex which dates from 15 to 30 million years (They believe there were at least 3 separate calderas in this area between 15 and 30 million years ago). The darker more recent basalt is in contrast to the older, lighter colored dacites and volcanic tuffs.

The Black Mesa Trail from the Second Water Trail heads up an unnamed canyon with a gradual climb to a saddle which is the high point of this trail. On the first part of this trail are good views to the west of the Superstition Mountains and The cliffs near the Massacre Grounds. Once further up the trail views are limited because Black Top Mesa rises up on either side. The saddle at the high point is not very noticeable but the trail levels out for a short distance. The most prominent feature is a very small hill on the west side of the trail with a nice stand of saguaros. Weavers Needle makes its appearance when you approach the saddle.

Once at the high point, the trail immediately starts to head down another unnamed canyon to Boulder canyon. The next 1.7 miles drops 540 feet to Boulder Canyon, this section is steep and rocky but easy to follow. To the east, Yellow Peak is in view most of the way down. A short distance after crossing Boulder Canyon is the intersection with the Dutchman Trail. This large flat open area along Boulder Creek is Boulder Basin and the site of what once was the old Brush Corral.

When doing the Black Mesa – Dutchman Loop from the First Water Trailhead, it is recommended that you do this in a Clockwise direction (Second Water to Black Mesa then Dutchman), this direction avoids the steep rocky climb up to Black Mesa from the south. This loop hike can be combined with treks up to Black Top Mesa or Aylor’s Arch making for a nice 13 mile hike.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2018-03-06 markthurman53

    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 42 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Black Mesa Trail #241
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    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!
    Black Mesa Trail #241
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Solo workout hike on a Saturday. Saw Wally near Hackberry Spring & chatted for a few. Continued the loop and topped out on Black Top Mesa where I talked to a fella from Alberta that is a snowbird. He wasn't familiar with the glyphs so I showed him them & told him about Jack Carlson's books. We had a nice chat and then I started my return. Nice day out.

    Hackberry Spring :next: Black Mesa :next: Bull Pass :next: Black Top Mesa :next: Bull Pass :next: Dutchman
    Black Mesa Trail #241
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Wonderful day out here. The grasses on Black Top are all dry and matted done, which was nice compared to the forest I had to trek through last time. However, with the recent rain, tons of fresh grass has shot through the underbrush forming splotches of green. Some water pooling on Black Mesa; but none observed on any other trail.

    Note to self: much easier to cruise on back to First Water via Dutchman than to slog across Black Mesa #241.
    Black Mesa Trail #241
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I needed 12.5 miles to get to my goal for 2017. I had seen this trail on HAZ but in 43 years of hiking the Dutchman I had never noticed the trail branching off. Sure enough there it was. It's really kind of a neat little trail. Quite overgrown in many areas, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Fritzski was totally correct beautiful views from several places on the trail and again at Tim's Saddle. But all that changed when you get to the bottom of the hill from Tim's Saddle. That is when the trail ends and you hit West Boulder "Creek" Other than 5 or 6 little puddles it was totally dry. And those puddles would have made a frog claustrophobic. I originally tried to find some sort of trail, but I think the only thing that lives there is cat claw, prickly pear and cholla. In 45 miutes the best I did was to get to the house sized boulder mentioned by Fritzski. At this point I decided to just turn around and live to do battle another day.

    I then figured I'd use Black Mesa Loop to get the rest of the 12.5 miles I needed.

    The sun was bright and very warm. Every once in a while a breeze would sneak through. Not many people on the trails most were probably there on Christmas day.
    Black Mesa Trail #241
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    Aylor Arch - Black Top and Black Mesa
    We arrived to the Trailhead in the predawn darkness with our headlights hitting 5 or so people in sleeping bags laid out right in the parking lot. Now that's campin'! There were also 2 hunters getting ready to go out.

    We hit the trails in the upper 30's and never saw another sole all day. I was beginning to think they'd closed the wilderness and we did not get the memo.

    On the Dutchman #104, over Sting Ray Pass, Parker Pass, and then Scorpion Pincher Rock for a photo Op.

    The climb up to Palomino Mountain was more well defined than I remembered. Once up top I dropped down to the area of Aylors Arch to check it out. The area up top here is interesting to check out, and the views don't suck at all.

    Black Top Mesa was up next up. We took the mandatory spin to the south end to look for the Sun, Gold and The End. Successful on all 3, plus a compass.

    Ray had never seen and Joe wouldn't stop talking about it, so we had to sample the Lost Black Top Mesa Trail.

    Now on our way back and taking the Black Mesa Trail #241. We took a short/long cut to the Second Water Trail #236. Joe pointed out that @tibber had done this canyon. I'm impressed, as there was one steep drop (with water) that was a little slippery/loose.

    The Second Water Trail #236 is a super highway all the way back.

    Musta been the perfect weather that scared everyone away from the trails...on a Saturday..

    Black Mesa Trail #241
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Aylor Arch - Black Top and Black Mesa
    Any one of the longer hikes would have been good, but why do one when you can do three or four while you're in the area. Classic Bruce.

    I haven't been to BTM or Aylor's Arch for some time. The trails for both were easier to follow than I remember. The top of Palomino Mtn is a beautiful area. My first trip up there must have been in the spring because I remember a lot of green grass near the top, almost like a park setting. The cliff on the east side overlooking the Dutchman trail makes your stomach drop.

    Black Top Mesa has some of the best views in the area. Overcast skies dampened the views just a bit, but still awesome. We hit the main attractions. I hadn't seen the rock with "The End" etched in it, I think from the movie crew that filmed "Lust for Gold." I mentioned that as we approached the south end. Right on queue, Bruce popped up, "You mean that one?" How could I have missed it? We didn't stay long; brisk winds sent us back down the trail a bit where we found a spot out of the wind. Time for lunch.

    Lost Black Top Mesa trail was new. It was a decent trail for something that I didn't know existed. It terminates at the Dutchman trail, which we used to loop back to the Bull Pass trail.

    We finished the hike on the Black Mesa and Second Water trails with an off trail down a canyon connecting Black Mesa and Second Water trails. The shortcut probably took longer than if we had stayed on trails, but it had a couple of cool spots worth seeing.

    This was a great hike with a nice breeze and cool temps under mostly cloudy skies. The sun finally appeared as we were finishing up on Second water. We didn't see a single person on the trails today. There were a few people in sleeping bags when we arrived and two guys getting ready to start a hike when we finished. Holiday shopping must be going very well this year.

    Back to back outings with Bruce and Joe is making this a great holiday season for me. Thanks again for a fun day! I suppose I need to get out and do some shopping too.
    Black Mesa Trail #241
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Aylor Arch - Black Top and Black Mesa
    Not 1 hiker witnessed on trail the entire hike on the 3rd Sat of Dec... perfect weather in a world class wilderness.

    Oldies but goodies. Still love the views atop Palomino. Slow coming down the loose trail down. With my balance a few notches below drunken sailor, Ray helped every step back down. Thx! This helped me get in tune for Denny's year end Safety First Hike.

    BTM is always a great destination day or night. Ray played the role of Sir Wally and filled us in on the story of The End rock art.

    Bruce had a little loop with Lost BTM Trail and Bull Pass that I could do without. Yet made up for it with a little off trail coming down Black Mesa which I noticed Tibber tackled once! Definitely worth a gander.

    Another fab hike in one of my favorite areas.
    Black Mesa Trail #241
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    The aim was to burn some Thanksgiving feast calories while having some fun. The Black Mesa Loop would do just fine today. I added a loop around Palomino Mtn so I could stop for a visit at Aylor's Caballo Camp and then complete the only portion of Dutchman that I haven't been on, a short segment between the Bull Pass and Peralta trails.

    I won't go into much detail about the big loop, other than to say it's dry. No water anywhere. At the top of Black Mesa, I headed west towards the ridge to check out the views. You have to pick your way through a lot of prickly stuff to get there and back, but the views are splendid.

    Finished the Black Mesa trail and hooked up with the Dutchman/Grand Enchantment trail for the 10 minute walk to Aylor's camp. Hard to imagine living there for two decades, but you can't beat the location. Tall cliffs on either side, a great view of Weaver's Needle to the south and a creek right in front of you.

    I continued on up Dutchman, then took the Peralta trail to the top of the switchbacks where I left the trail to follow an old route I saw in Carlson's book. It was referred to in the book as the Quarter Circle U Ranch trail. I've also seen it referred to as a retired segment of the Peralta trail. Maybe the names are synonymous.

    The route starts at the saddle above the last switchback on the Peralta trail. It then heads west down into the canyon and bends north to parallel Palomino Mtn. The book says the trail was washed out in parts, but cairned elsewhere. I found the washed out section near the saddle. It was also thick with brush. I stayed to the right and aimed for a rock formation at the bottom of the canyon that I needed to go around (south of) before turning north.

    I found the cairned route pretty quickly. When I was researching the hike, I could see segments of the trail on Google Earth and pinned my track accordingly. That helped acquire the route. It was still hard to follow but the cairns would occasionally appear again and I continued on. I joined up with Dutchman right where I was supposed to.

    I stopped there to have lunch and apply some alcohol swabs to my legs. I should have brought long pants for the off trail stuff. From there until the end of the hike, I passed a dozen or so hikers out enjoying the beautiful weather.

    A very enjoyable hike on a gorgeous day. Hopefully I left enough in the legs to get another hike in on Sunday.
    Black Mesa Trail #241
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrating optionrated 1
    spent saturday night at lost dutchman state park
    had a great time at angela's birthday party
    taco truck and visiting with a bunch of haz folks made for a nice evening
    after coffee and breakfast, decided to hike the black mesa loop
    a better choice might have been flatiron and 5024, right from the campground
    took off about 8:30 from first water and hiked the loop counterclockwise
    saw a total of nine hikers and two horseback riders, most near the start or finish
    good to get back in the supes
    Black Mesa Trail #241
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Nice day for hike! I had been wanting to do this loop for a while, so I am glad to have finally gotten out to hike it! We saw a couple of cars at the trailhead, but not a single person on the trail. We did see a nice big rattlesnake that said hi to us on the Black Mesa Trail, right before a prominent camping area. We all liked this trail for the great views. It was a bit hot for the first half of the trail, but once we hit the Dutchman junction, a nice breeze cooled us off. I was surprised at how brushy the Dutchman trail was. There was no water anywhere.

    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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