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Lost Black Top Mesa Trail, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 0.83 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,716 feet
Elevation Gain -250 feet
Accumulated Gain 140 feet
Avg Time One Way 0.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 1.3
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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7  2018-01-11
Aylor's Arch and Black Top Mesa
DixieFlyer
21  2017-12-16
Aylor Arch - Black Top and Black Mesa
rayhuston
17  2017-12-16
Aylor Arch - Black Top and Black Mesa
The_Eagle
15  2017-12-16
Aylor Arch - Black Top and Black Mesa
joebartels
39  2016-03-20
BSM Hidden Valley Lower Aqua Falls
hikingaz2
35  2015-03-23
Black Top Mesa
CannondaleKid
60  2012-03-03
Black Top Mesa
tibber
28  2012-02-18
BTM BSM Hidden Valley Loop Hell
The_Eagle
Page 1,  2
Author nonot
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 236
Photos 1,969
Trips 476 map ( 4,511 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
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Preferred   Feb, Nov, Mar, Jan
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:14am - 6:21pm
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6 Alternative
 
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Where did it go George?
by nonot

Overview
This is a connector between the Bull Pass trail and the Dutchman.

History
A lost trail in the Superstitions? Say it isn't so!

Ever since the USGS maps have been published, they have been edited by local and government agencies. In the name of safety and preservation, mines, ruins, caves, and trails have disappeared from maps. In many instances, they have been lazy and removed them only from the latest map editions. Furthermore, the government has taken itself to dynamiting, hiding in museum vaults, or sealing with concrete, many of these interesting relics. Unfortunately for the government, perhaps fortunately for you, trails are more difficult to hide.

I can understand why caves and ruins are not listed on maps as each visitor has a degrading impact upon these fragile places. However, the pot hunters have long since gotten the booty, so further protection of these sites is laughable. And while I can sympathize with rescuers pulling people out of dangerous mines, I do not agree with the sealing of natural caves due to idiocy on behalf of a few bad apples, nor do I believe that non-social trails like this should be erased from history.

I cannot take credit for finding it as people before me have stumbled upon it, thinking it was the Bull Pass Trail.

Hike
From near the departure point to the top of Black Top Mesa on the Bull Pass trail, on the east downslope you will reach a fork in the trail. If you are observant you will notice it. The Bull Pass trail is the northern branch, while this trail of mystery is the southern branch. The trail is in pretty good shape, all considered.

Why was it erased from maps? Why does this trail not have a name? What is there to find nearby? I will not provide answers to all these questions, you have to get out there and do some exploration for yourself!

Warning
Please note, this small connector trail is in the middle of nowhere and will take you on at least an approximately 10-12 mile hike round trip, so be prepared. Do not set out there thinking the less than one mile in this trail description is all there is. Bring plenty of food and water, do not go in the scorching summer temps!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2010-03-21 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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Lost Black Top Mesa Trail
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    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.
    Lost Black Top Mesa Trail
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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..


    Lost Black Top Mesa Trail
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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.
    Lost Black Top Mesa Trail
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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.
    Lost Black Top Mesa Trail
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    BSM Hidden Valley Lower Aqua Falls
    Roger's Birthday this week and he wanted to revisit BSM Hidden Valley, guess he didn't remember reading Joe and Eagle's BTM BSM Hidden Valley Loop Hell, AZ. :scared: :o Most direct route was Dutchman to Bull Pass Saddle and then across the Lost Bull Pass Trail and ending at the Intersection of Dutchman and the start of Bluff Spring Mountain Wash. Plenty of fresh water at this intersection and up the Wash for aways, to filter and replenish your water supply.
    The work really begins as you head out of the wash along the left side, the over growth has just compounded itself from 4 years ago and the route is the path of least resistance. We stayed to the left and worked ](*,) our way up to the cliffs facing you and around through the Portal signaling the route up to Magill's Camping Ledge Overhang. Interesting thread concerning the Lost Dutchman's Mine and how Barry Storm might have influenced Glen Magill's thoughts as to the location. thelostdutchmangold ... t=69 Spent some time exploring near the Ledge and waterfalls, but didn't find anything that we hadn't found before :( Headed back down on the left side of the wash this time. Remember 80 % of BSM Wash to the Aqua Falls is off trail through heavy brush and steep sides. :wlift: :-k before you tackle this destination. Take plenty of water, you will break into a sweat. Hopefully Birthday Boy will not want a repeat for his next Birthday.
    Lost Black Top Mesa Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Not sure why Scout said 15.99 miles and HAZ says 15.62 when I upload the route as that's almost 1/2 mile difference.... and you know, every tenth adds up.

    After research I decided we should put together the following hike for the day with the highlight being BTM: 1st Water to Black Mesa Trail to Bull Pass to BTM and back to Bull Pass taking the side route to the Dutchman to 1st Water. I figured the hike would be around 15 miles and 10 hours max. I didn't account for the amount of time we would spend on BTM plus it was a beautiful day to be outside in the Supes.

    We met at the TH and left around 7:15AM. The temp was quite cold and we really didn't get warm until we hit Garden Valley. This was a case when you really appreciated being in the sun. Next we headed up the Black Mesa Trail. The last time we had been on that trail was Nov 2010; it was a warm up hike for my first trip to the GC. Ambika asked me what I had done to train for the GC and the Black Mesa Loop hike was pretty much it. In retrospect, guess it's lucky I made it in and out of the GC based on that :o .

    We stopped at the middle of the Mesa for a refueling break. It's amazing how fast a banana can burn off. But I'm always happy to munch on my Mango Tango and I got to start on a new batch. While finishing off the Black Mesa Trail we admired the shining prickly pear cactus in the western distance and some of the saguaros on the east :). Next we would pass by the west side of Yellow Peak and take a couple photos of the limited wildflowers. It was also interesting looking at BTM trying to figure out exactly what route we would be taking (which incidentally is not really visible from the Black Mesa Trail). Altho, you can see part of the Black Mesa Trail from BTM as you get higher up.

    We got to the junction and a little ways up the Dutchman to see some campers were just rising. We made our way up Bull Pass and though it had its moments of steepness, you know it's short so it's not really that bad. At Bull Pass Saddle we encountered a hiker I had seen dropped off at the TH. He was obviously very speedy (not a bad thing ;) ) and said he had been hiking in the Supes for 30 years. He said he was surprised to see a well worn path to the other side of the mesa and at the same time expressed dismay that some of the artifacts are no longer there.

    We took another fuel break before heading up the side of BTM. Once again, this was steep and slippery in some places but for only short moments of time. The sun was making the grasses and prickly pear cactus light up so beautifully :DANCE: . And of course, the views are simply stunning; especially since we had just hiked the Marsh Valley Loop a month previous. I so enjoy getting to know the lay of the land. It just makes it that much easier to understand where people are when they write about certain areas in the Supes.

    We took a couple little detours mid-way up on some paths we saw but from what we could tell, one led to a camping spot and the other to a vista. As we continued on we kind of waited to get to the top but you really don't seem to get to the top top until you find yourself staring this big old rock in front of you; that rock being Weavers Needle ;) . The trek to the south side is fairly well trodden so we made pretty good time and arrived around 11:30AM.

    Once on the south side, the immediate mission was to find the sunglyph. I pulled out a pic I had printed from when Bruce was up there and we found it relatively quickly. And within moments we found the compass (which is actually pretty cool). We found quite a few more inscriptions and then decided to find a place out of the wind to enjoy our lunch. We found the perfect place on the SW side where we could actually lay back a little AND on top of that Ambika noted that we had sniper :gun: vision of people passing far below us on the Dutchman Trail. This sniper vision was aided by the zoom factor of our cameras.

    For some reason, we thot there might be a master map up there so after lunch we spent some time looking for it but to no avail. We found a couple more inscriptions and then decided to head back. I was hoping we could find THE END but I had no idea where it was located. However, my eagle eye hiking partner found it within moments :D . We were quite pleased.

    We continued on our way north but not before following somewhat of a trail to the western side of BTM. The hiker we had met earlier said we should be able to find mine workings. The trail faded in and out but we followed it as far as we could. We got some great views over the side toward Palomino but didn't really find any mine stuff until we started back tracking where we did find a mine rock cairn; and though it wasn't exactly what we expected, at least it was something for the effort.

    We got to Bull Pass Saddle at 1:40 so we spent nearly 2 hours at BTM... but why rush. In fact, if we hadn't planned some extra mileage, I think we could stayed another hour easy. Now the challenge: following the side trail around BTM rather than taking Bull Pass. I figured this side trail would save a mile. The question: is that last 1/2 mile or so of that side loop worth saving the mile :-k ? We enjoyed the first part of this side trail but the second part from the saddle was a bit straining.

    And yes, the horse is still there, still dead, still has its shoes and you can see its pearly whites. Ambika wasn't sure I was taking her the right way as the the dead horse doesn't show up til nearer the junction with the Lost Dutchman. You know it just dawned on me that when I would come across a horse shoe I always thot the horse threw it (lost it or it came off) but I never thot that the shoe you come across might be from a dead horse :o .

    It was getting a bit warm as we came down the side trail. It was interesting to see some water in the creek and it was nice to come across some shade on this part. The trail is getting a bit overgrown here in some areas. It's really a pretty area and we could see big pools of water here and there. We finally made it to the Terrapin Junction but now we would be pretty much exposed to the sun for several miles. I figured we had two miles or so to the Junction with Bull Pass.

    It was fun to look up at where we were sitting a few hours earlier. I have to say, this is a beautiful mountain to admire :D . We just started to head up out of the drainage and since it seemed to be a little warm, I decided we would stop in some shade before continuing. I didn't realize the hill was so little but I'm glad we stopped to eat some snacks. It was just enough to put that bounce back in my step. I think it was around 3 when we stopped.

    Little did I know when we got to the top of that hill that we would once again have some great views that would get better and better once we rounded the corner back toward Bull Pass Junction. I really liked this whole section of the trail. We encountered a nice group of wildflowers where we discussed that we should PM the HAZ Webmaster that the flower sightings were more sparse than isolated and should that be an option under "Wildflower Observation"?

    And of course, once we got to the Peralta Junction, this trail was just scrumptious; altho I think the shade may have had something to do with that :lol: . We also spotted the 3/4 moon above Black Top Mesa so we had to slow down and keep our eye on it for the perfect photo op which we were presented with not once but THREE times :y: . And then we finally found our Dutchman's gold :-$ : gold reflections in some of the water that is. We also passed some wonderful camping spots. In the excitement I dropped my hat but fortunately realized it fairly soon and didn't have to backtrack too far to get it.... that pesky hat keeps trying to get away from me and I really like this hat!

    We arrived at Bull Pass Junction at 4:45PM knowing that we had 4.5 miles to go. But it was a lovely day so we put our poles away, took a break a little ways past the Black Mesa Junction and then headed to the 1st Water TH arriving at 6:45. It was a productive day.

    Here is some video of Black Mesa, from the Dutchman before heading up Bull Pass, at Bull Pass Saddle and up Black Top Mesa: http://youtu.be/2plqhwoCoNA
    Lost Black Top Mesa Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    BTM BSM Hidden Valley Loop Hell
    This was supposed to be an easy day with only 22 miles, well groomed trails, and gentle ups and downs in preparation for a longer one next week. I put together a Supes loop which would also get us up by Charlebois again, to find the Master Map of the Supes that we failed to find last week. Joe was in, but asked to add a little 2 mile round trip, an exploratory mission. Not one to pass up a bit of adventure, I said sure, without really looking at it. (Not that that would have changed things)

    We started out at the First Water TH at first light, knowing that this week we'd be back before dark. We knew that the "itching with a B and Moaning" would probably be at an all time high on this hike, since, between the two of us, we were running on a total of 3 hours sleep. We passed a few groups of Back Packers on our way to our first stop on top of Black Top Mesa. The views were just gorgeous up there. We spent a little time searching the South end of the Mesa for the petroglyphs. We found a Sun, Snake, a couple of names from the early 1900's, and some pictures we could not Id.

    Next, we were off for our little 2 mile detour. The first mistake we made was to get on the Lost Black Top Mesa Trail (Thanks nonot fo the description) instead of getting on the continuation of Bull Pass. This actually was a pretty nice trail that got us to our "Side Trip" quicker. On the way, I saw off in the distance what looked to be part of an old rusty car. As we got closer, it was actually a dead horse. It didn't look like it'd been there all to long :o

    So now we start our "Side Trip". The mission, enter the drainage at the North end of Bluff Mountain, climb to the base of the Water Falls, find the ropes, climb said ropes to the top of the Mountain, go over to the top of the falls, take a few pictures, and return. On the Map, about a mile one way and 700' in elevation change. It took us 2 hours and 20 minutes to make it to the falls. :tt:

    We ate our lunch here and both decided we did not want to go back down what we'd just come up. so now it's time for a change in hike plans. We ended up hiking to the other end of Bluff Mountain (The opposite direction of our TH) and met back up with the Dutchman at the Ely-Anderson intersection.

    From here it was the Dutchman, off past Charlebois (With a stop, finding the Master Map!!), and back to where we'd started our "Side Trip" some 12 miles and almost 9 hours previous at Bluff Pass.

    At this point it was time to just get his friggin' hike done. We marched at Zombie warp speed and made it back to the truck just a few minutes short of 9pm.

    The hike looked very little like what was planned, but as always with Joe Joe, and adventure.

    Thanks Joe for...........
    Lost Black Top Mesa Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    BTM BSM Hidden Valley Loop Hell
    24 mile hike shocks and destroys weak ego

    6:40am - head to Black Top Mesa (BTM)
    9:30am - Bruce found sunburst and oro on BTM
    10:30am - off trail to summit BSM Aguafall
    12:20pm - ropes
    12:50pm - BSM Aguafall
    3:26pm - crest high point before heading down Ely-Anderson
    4:10pm - halfway point - finish EA, chat with scout troop that cached water in cactus
    5:30pm - Master Map found after 8-9 attempts
    7:00pm - Bull Pass - no headlamp - luckily Bruce lent me keychain led powered by watch battery
    7:54pm - Parker Pass - hallucinations
    8:56pm - hike over, full body pain

    lessons learned: unknown
    Lost Black Top Mesa Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    What a wonderful weekend.

    Originally I has a version of this loop to do a few weekends back, but my partner cancelled and I had another opportunity come up, so I saved the idea about a dayhike. Then I got to thinking that I hadn't backpacked yet at all this year! Well, what to do with that extra time? Add some off trail exploring! :y:

    I found all sorts of interesting things off trail. One of the best was the metate Wally photographed in his insane dayhike. I found a second metate as well.

    Saw lots of people about in the Superstitions this weekend, it's really a special time to be out there with the water and greenery.

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

    To hike
    From Phoenix, take US60E to idaho Rd. Go N on Idaho to the Apache Trail. Go E on the Apache Trail to First Water Rd, which is approx 1 mile past Lost Dutchman State Park. Take the rd to its end at First Water Trailhead. Hike the Dutchman to Bull Pass trail and ascend Bull Pass trail to the pass itself.
    page created by nonot on Mar 21 2010 9:15 pm
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