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Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water TH, AZ

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Guide 92 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
3.9 of 5 by 21
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 11.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,288 feet
Elevation Gain 880 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,560 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 19.1
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Possibly Connect
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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6  2019-02-09 ALMAL
5  2019-01-19 ALMAL
7  2019-01-01 ALMAL
5  2017-12-09 ALMAL
2  2017-05-27 syoung
6  2017-03-25 ALMAL
10  2017-03-05 survivordude
4  2017-02-25 Noxinator
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Author azpod98
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 0
Photos 0
Trips 0 map ( 0 miles )
Age 53 Male Gender
Location Gilbert,Az
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Dec, Jan → Any
Seasons   Late Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:10am - 6:30pm
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Boulder Creek Loop
by azpod98

Hike: This Hike was done as an overnight backpack training hike, can be done as a day hike though. We started at the 1st water trailhead and followed trail 104 to the 2nd water trail(236). We followed trail 236 past the Black Mesa trail and set up camp in Garden Valley(aprox 2mi from start). 2nd water trail follows a mesa for aprox 1.5-2mi before decending to Boulder Canyon. Other than the lack of water this was a decent place to camp. Large open spaces off the trail. You can see the glow of city lights though no lights themselves. Good stargazing. There is a seasonal water hole for animal watching.

The next day we continued along 2nd water trail to Boulder Canyon. The decent to Boulder Canyon follows 2nd water creek. A side hike can be taken up 2nd water canyon to the spring. There are a few campsites along the creek. At Boulder Canyon we went right on the Boulder Canyon trail(103) to trail 104. This canyon follows a creek and requires many creek crossings and route finding to slow you down. It may have been easier to just follow the creek. Again there are numerous campsites along the creek. At Trail 104 we headed right and climbed back up to the 1st Water Trailhead. You can take the Black Mesa Trail(241) back instead it adds 0.6mi to the loop but on the map it looks shorter. There are numerous shaded spots in Boulder Canyon for rest and lunch. The rest of the hike is exposed.

Water: 2nd Water Creek and Spring, Boulder Canyon. Both locations would need to be filtered. We carried our own water for the trip.

Camping: Multiple sites in Garden Valley, along 2nd Water creek, and in Boulder Canyon

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2008-04-05 azpod98
    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 31 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water TH
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    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 Loop from First Water TH
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    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!
    Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water TH
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Did this loop last year when I wasn't as familiar with the Superstitions and I swear I would got lost and burnt up out here. Today it was a brisk four hours of fun. Gabby and I started at perfect hike time zero aka sunrise towards Garden Valley. First Water was flowing pretty nice so I knew we were going to be in for a wet one. Garden Valley was still very green with tall grass everywhere. Made it through Second Water quickly and heard Boulder Creek about a thousand feet away. Also, smelled the campfire from a large group camped right across the creek from the trail junction. I think we slipped right by without them even noticing us. Lots of water is an understatement. I have been out here when it is bone dry and today water was easily up to knees in some areas. Luckily I was able to rock hop all the crossings and keep dry until the very last one which I may or may not have just jumped in the water on purpose. I counted either 24 or 26 crossings total! Gabby loved every single one of them. Saw one other guy inside Boulder Canyon and then no one else until I hit the Dutchman Trail right near Palomino Mountain. Not quite a Squaw Peak superhighway, but it was very busy from Parker's pass back to the First Water TH. Excellent weather out right now! Everything is still so green and there was always a constant chatter of birds with many different species flying by, including a pair of Arizona Cardinals. Every single time now.. they must know Im a fan.
    Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water TH
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    I was out of town for a few days so I didn't have a lot of time to put something together. My buddy in Tucson wanted to come up and hike so I figured Boulder Canyon after a rainy weekend would work. We made our way to Boulder Canyon pretty quickly. The water is impressively high right now and there is no possibility of doing this loop without getting soaked. We didn't make it across dry even once until we got close to the Dutchman junction. We were in water above our knees for most of them. Lily really had to fight the current to swim across a couple times but she made it just fine. We made a side trip across Battleship Saddle to check out the LaBarge Box. Once we reached the bottom of Labarge, it was obvious that if we wanted to explore inside we'd have to swim to get there. We opted to not to. We headed back up to the saddle and notice some hikers making their way up LaBarge. That must have been quite the task today. We ate some lunch on the saddle and then headed back down to Boulder Canyon to finish the loop. Its been so fun having that much water out there this year.
    Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water TH
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Just me and the dog today on a quick morning hike. We did this counter-clockwise and didn't really see more than a few people until our last few miles. My foot got caught on something during one of the crossings and I fell feet over head probably harder than I've ever fallen in my life. I couldn't believe I hobbled out of that one. I was pretty worried for a minute but after about a half mile of limping, I seemed fine except for some pretty gnarly looking gashes on my arm and leg. I landed ribs first on a boulder-- I'm expecting to be sore tomorrow. Other than that it was a pretty nice time-- absolutely beautiful morning. I'm glad I grabbed my jacket on the way out-- it was chilly at 7:30am.

    Not too much water out there. There's a bit along Boulder Cyn close to the Dutchman junction, Second Water Spring, and a nice pool on Second Water as you drop off of Garden Valley heading back to the TH.
    Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water TH
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Great, easy backpack loop out in the Superstitions. We were looking for something without too much effort and this one fit the bill perfectly. We got started Saturday morning about 10 from the First Water TH, we had to park in the secondary lot since the first one was full. We made this loop clockwise. Water is still flowing everywhere, plenty to filter from and nice and fresh still. We had plans of camping around the Bull Pass intersection, but we ended up pushing on about another mile to make Sunday easier. Found a fantastic camp site off trail, well worth using and I marked a waypoint. It is south of the #104 trail on the other side of the wash, but there is a large cairn on both banks to look for to find the way. Plenty of flat rocks to sit on, and a nice fire ring. Spaces for 5-6 tents at least. We collected what wood we could find, it was all Catclaw so mostly small stuff. I had not realized that Catclaw has such a nice aroma when burned, plus it feels like you are getting back just a little bit for all the blood donations. Wind picked up a bit overnight, but nothing too crazy. I would guess we were in the 38-40 range for an overnight low, very comfortable. We had a leisurely breakfast then packed up and headed back, made it to the truck by a bit after 12. Great trip, worth doing again!
    Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water TH
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Did the Boulder Canyon Loop hike from First Water as an overnight backpack. Additional mileage due to some day hiking around our chosen campsite for the night. Lots of water in the streams - could have filtered instead of carrying so much water this time, but better safe than sorry.
    Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water TH
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Fairly quiet on the trails today we only saw 10 people all day, including hikingaz2 - nice to meet you :) Saw 3 Cardinals - seems like there are always a few through Boulder Canyon.

    Boulder Canyon is the driest I have ever seen it in December with just a few pools. There are 26 total crossings of Boulder/East Boulder/Little Boulder/West Boulder :roll: :lol:
    Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water TH
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    My hiking partner had to cover some guy at work that got fired. At first I had resigned myself to staying in for the weekend.. But I could hear the mountain calling from the couch. I told my girlfriend I decided to go out solo, she tentatively offered to go until she found out it was 11 miles with change. I packed up and headed out.

    Got to First water around 2 pm and saw a pretty slick HAZ decal on someone's SUV, I'll have to get me one of those :) was on the trail by 2:10. I passed by a few friendly faces on their way in as I came to the sign for Second Water trail. I definitely chose a warm time of day to head out, but it was a beautiful day to be out in the Supes. I considered taking a side trip to Yellow Peak, but decided to just stick to the plan since I was flying solo.

    My plan was to walk until about 30-40 minutes before the sun went down so I had time to set up camp. Ended up picking a spot just a bit before the turnoff to Cavalry trail. It was a bit colder than I expected once it got a little later in the night, I definitely chose the wrong bag to bring but it wasn't unbearable. I still didn't sleep very well, but honestly I'm not complaining much. The view of the stars was incredible.

    I got packed up and ready to go a little later than I wanted to, I didn't get back on the trail until about 9:00am. I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed Boulder Canyon, my ankles were soon pretty sore from all the boulder hopping. Parts of the trail are a bit overgrown and I got a few thorns along the way. Battle wounds :roll: I was regretting hiking in pants up until this point.

    The Dutchman trail was welcome by the time I got out of Boulder Canyon. I took it pretty slow to enjoy the views and the warm weather. Passed by more and more hikers the closer I got to the trailhead, everyone was friendly and most were curious how it was overnight the night before.

    I didn't run into a whole lot of water on this trip. Pools here and there in Boulder Canyon and I pumped some H2O there just in case. I found nothing I'd WANT to filter along the Dutchman.

    I had a blast other than a few minor gear malfunctions. Already can't wait for next weekend.
    Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water TH
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Combined Yellow Peak with the Boulder Canyon Loop for a nice day on the trails. The views from Yellow Peak in the morning were fantastic. We climbed up from the south and descended into the canyon to the north. I enjoyed the climb up more than the decent down which seemed steeper at least the route we took. Had lunch at the entrance of Needle Canyon where there were some nice pools of water and chatted about next weeks planned hike. We thought about going through Needle Canyon, connecting with Bull Pass, but opted to to continue with the BC loop. Started out cool at the 7 AM start, but warmed up nicely.

    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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