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Bull Pass Trail #129, AZ

no permit
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Guide 138 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
3.4 of 5 by 26
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 1.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,303 feet
Elevation Gain 436 feet
Accumulated Gain 506 feet
Avg Time One Way 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 3.29
Backpack Connecting Only
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
7  2019-09-12
Battleship Mountain - Superstitions
13  2018-12-01
Black Top Mesa Plus
4  2018-10-04
Marsh Valley Loop
5  2018-02-24 wallyfrack
23  2018-02-03
Aylor's Arch
19  2018-01-12
Marsh Valley Loop
7  2018-01-11
Aylor's Arch and Black Top Mesa
21  2017-12-16
Aylor Arch - Black Top and Black Mesa
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 10
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 - 6:22pm
Official Route
33 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Great Views No Bull
by markthurman53

This short 1.6 mile trail connects the Dutchman Trail at East Boulder Canyon just south of Palomino Mountain to the Dutchman Trail to the Northeast of Black Top Mesa in Needle Canyon. The Bull Pass Trail from the North climbs about 450 feet in 0.5 miles to Bull Pass, then drops about 400 feet into Needle Canyon in 0.7 miles and follows alongside Needle Creek for about 0.4 miles to the Dutchman Trail.

From the North at the signed Dutchman - Bull Pass Trail junction the Bull Pass trail crosses East Boulder Creek almost immediately and then begins the 450 foot climb to Bull Pass. This trail is heavily traveled and easy to follow but there are some rather steep sections before hitting the pass. Watch your footing on these steep sections, especially going down. The lower part of this ascent to Bull Pass offers some views of Aylor’s Arch and a little further up some interesting rock cliffs of Black Top Mesa. These sites are a good excuse to stop and take a standing breather break and enjoy these sites. From the Pass there are great view to the west of West Boulder Canyon and Parker Pass, to the North Boulder Canyon and Battleship Mountain. To the Northeast, Malapais and Black Mountain along with the white (Yellow) cliffs on the east side of Labarge Canyon. Once done admiring the views the trail drops about 400 feet in about 0.7 miles to Needle Creek. This portion of the trail has a much more gradual slope. From the creek crossing to the Dutchman Trail is another 0.4 miles along the north side of Needle Creek with very little elevation gain.

This trail offers a shortcut on the Dutchman Trail that follows along the West and South Side of Black Top Mesa but this is not the only reason to take this trail. While at the summit of Bull Pass there is a route that heads off to the right and goes to the summit of Black Top Mesa. Once on the summit at the far southern end of Black Top Mesa there are spectacular views of Weavers Needle and with a little searching, petroglyphs along the far east cliffs of the mesa. Another Option about 250 feet East of Bull Pass is the Little Bull Pass Trail, aka Lost Black Top Mesa Trail, which will take you to the Dutchman Trail where it crosses Needle Canyon (about 0.2 miles from where the Bull Pass Trail connects to the Dutchman). This trail parallels the Bull Pass Trail just to the south and crosses over Little Bull Pass.

This trail is not a destination trail but usually one leg of a much larger loop hike. On some loop hikes it offers some of the best views. While up at the Pass head up to Black Top Mesa, You are already half way up might as well go all the way.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2018-03-03 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 46 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Bull Pass Trail #129
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    It was below freezing at the start of the hike, 7:00am. All puddles had ice on them. First time I've circumnavigated Black Top Mesa counterclockwise. It was like a completely different trail. Then from Bull Pass to the First Water trailhead I ran into 27 horses and 26 riders. One group was 11, another 8 and then some small groups. Made a few small side trips.
    Bull Pass Trail #129
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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.
    Bull Pass Trail #129
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    Including myself, there were 7 intrepid hikers from a meetup group that began hiking at the First Water TH, and we did an out-and-back hike to Aylor's Arch and Black Top Mesa. We went out on the Dutchman Trail #104, and after about 5 miles or so, just past the turnoff to the Boulder Canyon trail, the trail went through a wash. Instead of continuing on the Dutchman Trail, we took a right in the wash and hiked through the wash for a half mile or so, until Aylor's Arch came into view off to the left. Then we followed a social trail up to a saddle just to the right of Aylor's Arch. Then we went to just below Aylor's Arch, and said what the heck, let's go up on Aylor's Arch. It was cool being up there, and the views were awesome. However, if you have a fear of heights, you may not want to to up to the top of the Arch.

    We then reversed our course until we got back to the wash. Then when we got to the Dutchman Trail, we took a right from out of the wash. We didn't go too far, until we took the Bull Pass trail to the left. We then began ascending, and when we got to the base of Black Top Mesa, we took a trail to the right up to the top of Black Top Mesa. There were some cool views on top of the mesa -- Weaver's Needle was right in front of us, and I was able to recognize Superstition Peak 5057, Black Mountain, Peter's Mesa, among other landmarks. While on the mesa, not too far from the Sunburst Petroglyph, we came across a geocache container, which was the first one of those that I had found.

    Once we descended from Black Top Mesa, we took the Bullpass trail back to the Dutchman Trail, and from there went back to the trailhead. It was a warm afternoon, and one of the hikers commented that the 5 miles or so that we went back on the Dutchman trail seemed like a 100 mile death march. While that may have smacked of hyperbole, I certainly did not argue with her!
    Bull Pass Trail #129
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    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
    Bull Pass Trail #129
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    Aylor's Arch and Black Top Mesa
    This 16 mile, 3300' AEG hike has some diverse hiking trails that offer a bit of everything: some relatively flat trails that you can get a good workout hike on; off trail scrambling; boulder hopping; rock climbing; steep ascents/descents; and lots of nice views throughout.

    Tracie, my intrepid hiking partner, and I started this hike from the First Water TH at the end of First Water Road. We proceeded along the Dutchman Trail #104, stopping to take side trips to Aylor's Arch and Black Top Mesa. Once we got back down Black Top Mesa, we proceeded to take a "Loop to Nowhere" that went on the Lost Black Top Mesa trail and the Bull Pass trail. After completing the loop, we retraced our steps back to the TH.

    The hike up Aylor's Arch was cool, and views from atop Black Top Mesa were really nice -- there is a great view of Weaver's Needle from there. Whle on the Mesa, we came across the "sunburst" petroglyph on the SE corner of the mesa.

    I'll probably do this hike again, but I think that I will pass on the "Loop to Nowhere" next time. It adds some distance and AEG to the hike, but unless it was wildflower blooming season, the loop doesn't really do much for me.
    Bull Pass Trail #129
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    Headed back into the western Supes for an enjoyable hike to Charlebois. Started from First Water TH around 8:20am and took the Second Water Trail to Boulder Canyon. Headed south from there and connected onto the Cavalry Trail. Saw a pair of Coati in Marsh Valley and then connected onto the Dutchman Trail. Took a quick detour over to Charlbois and then started my return. I took a lunch break near Bull Pass and completed the loop finishing around 3pm. Was a nice day on the trails!
    Bull Pass Trail #129
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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..

    Bull Pass Trail #129
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    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.
    Bull Pass Trail #129
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    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.
    Bull Pass Trail #129
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    Well I hit the trail as morning was breaking and finished before darkness fell.
    When I started this hike according to my car it was 48 degrees perfect. As I got close to Charliebois I met a HAZ hiker named Dave aka Slowhiker.
    When I reached Charliebois I was surprised that Rowdy and I had it all to ourselves. We ate lunch there and took and nice break. Rowdy really like checking out the area. After that we hit the Master Map before heading back.
    I was really surprised that we really didn't see any wildlife on this hike.
    All and all it felt really good to get back in the Supes.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Connector trail - Not Applicable

    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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