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La Barge - Battleship Saddle Loop, AZ

Guide 30 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
  3.8 of 5 
no permit
1 Active
418 30 0
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 10.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,668 feet
Elevation Gain 689 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,143 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 8 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 20.92
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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22  2020-01-20
Battleship Loop from First Water
25  2019-12-07
Battleship Mountain from Canyon Lake
24  2019-10-28
Battleship Mountain from Canyon Lake
12  2019-02-24 Yoder
17  2018-11-02
Loop to Battleship from First Water
6  2018-10-27 ALMAL
24  2018-03-09 KBKB
7  2018-02-24 ALMAL
Page 1,  2,  3
Author bensondk
author avatar Guides 4
Routes 8
Photos 159
Trips 13 map ( 101 miles )
Age 70 Male Gender
Location Florence, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov
Sun  5:16am - 7:39pm
Official Route
7 Alternative

You gotta enjoy boulders
by bensondk

This loop hike resulted from wanting to find a shorter version of a hike that would start at the Canyon Lake parking lot, go up La Barge Creek, and return on Boulder Creek. This made for a 10.2-mile day hike suitable for our age 55+ advanced hikers. Fritzski La Barge Lower - Box Loop seeded part of the plan. Be sure to read Fritzski's description for the route's common part, as I have not tried to repeat what he said very well. The key was finding a route across the saddle behind Battleship Mountain to go from La Barge Creek over to Boulder Creek. After seeing the high canyon walls in La Barge Canyon, we knew that had to be a part of the route.

The hike starts from the parking lot for the Canyon Lake Marina and crosses the highway to pick up a trail with a big sign marked as the Boulder Canyon Trail. The trail's first leg rises to provide great views of Battleship Mountain ahead and Canyon Lake looking back. Once over the hill, the trail descends into La Barge Creek, where you either follow the creek or the trail to the right of the creek for about 1/4 mile before meeting another trail to the right. This trail to the right goes to Boulder Creek and passes by an old mine. This would be an option either at this stage or as you pass the same trail from the Boulder Creek side. As you make your way up La Barge creek, you come to a point where the canyon walls start to become much higher. Although you will be returning to this point, the hike's highlight is found as you follow the creek to the left for a few hundred feet, then to the right. This will likely be as far as you can go unless you are more seriously into canyoneering. Here the walls of the canyon are very high and provide an incredible sight. Pools of water in the worn rock of the creek bed add to the beauty. Minnows have been seen in the pools. I have found that photos are not able to capture the majestic view of the walls. Depending on your timing, we found this to be an excellent place to plan your lunch break.

As you resume the hike, return to where the creek turns to the right, as you look downstream. Trees on your left have provided weather protection as the location appears to be regularly used for tenting. I found that exiting from the La Barge Creek bed can be very difficult if you try to push through the boulders and brush. However, you will find an opening from the tent site, overgrown from the top, which is the beginning of the route to the saddle to Boulder Creeks. Because this opening through the trees is relatively small, you may doubt it exists at all. Your GPS could be beneficial. I wish now that I had marked this point with a waypoint. However, it will be close to N33 29.584 W 111 23.520.

As you go over the saddle, you will have a view of the route up to the top of Battleship. On the day we hiked, we were lucky enough to see a group of hikers making their way up to the summit of Battleship. Should you decide to include Battleship summit, beware that it would make for a very long day. It did appear that the summit could be approached from the saddle, but we were not prepared to increase the length of the hike, a decision that proved to be very wise.

Once you reach Boulder Creek, turn right to go down the creek. The path will take you in and out of the creek bed and often be marked with helpful cairns. As you work your way down the creek, at N33 20.211 W111 24.300, you will come to the same trail mentioned earlier that crosses over to La Barge Creek. This would have given us the option to go back on the same route as we came in. Instead, we chose to continue down Boulder Creek to reconnect with the inbound trail about half a mile from the trailhead. Boulder Creek is not for everyone but easy if you don't mind hopping from boulder to boulder for much of the way. Once or twice, you may need to use your hands to work through more difficult spots, but none with any exposure.

This hike was a learning experience for many members of our group, as it turned out to be a warmer day than usual, and some in the group did not take enough water. As water was shared, others ran out of water, and by the end, there was very little water remaining, with most totally out of water, despite rationing for the last quarter of the hike. We found this hike takes more energy than most 10-mile hikes, so be sure to go prepared.

Because water became a higher priority than GPS batteries, my GPS track had to have the last mile patched in from another hike, and as a result, the data is incongruent, so times have been lost uploading to HAZ. If I can hike this trail again, I will update the track with a fresh one complete with all data.

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2013-01-20 bensondk
    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 $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Canyon Lake Trailhead
    From the junction of Idaho Road & SR-88 follow SR-88 14.4 miles east to just after mile marker 210. Turn left into the Canyon Lake Marina parking lot. The area closest to the SR-88 (furthest away from the Marina) is the actual trailhead parking. The area allowed is marked in front of each space.

    There's restrooms outside the restaurant. The restaurant is better than you might think for being out in the middle of nowhere. Try the stuffed Jalapeños, the berry sauce is awesome. Sit on the patio and watch the HUGE fish swim below. The 'Dolly' Steamboat (a tourist attraction) is way out of character for the area, but the snowbirds eat it up.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 49.7 mi - about 1 hour 6 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 143 mi - about 2 hours 23 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 194 mi - about 3 hours 10 mins
    page created by bensondk on Jan 20 2013 6:31 am
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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