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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Bluff Spring Mountain Loop, AZ

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324 54 1
Guide 54 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions SW
Rated
3.9
3.9 of 5 by 20
 
9
Statistics
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 14.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,400 feet
Elevation Gain 1,059 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,748 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 7 - 8 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 28.54
Backpack Yes & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Collective Slideshow
Inaugural Calculation next Tap
7  2018-01-20 parkeraph
4  2018-01-12 ALMAL
21  2017-12-25 Yoder
16  2017-12-09 The_Eagle
16  2017-12-09 rayhuston
11  2017-12-09 joebartels
28  2017-11-05 DarthStiller
16  2016-01-22 ultrazona
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 6 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:55am - 5:24pm
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Official Route
 
3 Linked
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Barks Canyon - Complete Route
Barks Canyon - Complete Route
same trailhead
6.0 mi
2,500 ft
Barks Lower Canyon Loop
Barks Lower Canyon Loop
same trailhead
4.0 mi
900 ft
Barks Upper Canyon Loop
Barks Upper Canyon Loop
same trailhead
1.1 mi
885 ft
Bluff Spring Loop & Weaver
Bluff Spring Loop & Weaver's View
same trailhead
10.8 mi
2,138 ft
Bluff Spring Mountain Summit
Bluff Spring Mountain Summit
same trailhead
8.5 mi
2,609 ft
Bluff Spring Mtn Loop via Dutchman
same trailhead
16.0 mi
2,000 ft
Bluff Springs Trail #235
Bluff Springs Trail #235
same trailhead
3.3 mi
1,015 ft
Charlebois from Peralta TH
Charlebois from Peralta TH
same trailhead
14.0 mi
2,700 ft
Charlebois Loop II
Charlebois Loop II
same trailhead
17.1 mi
2,855 ft
Dripping Springs from Peralta
Dripping Springs from Peralta
same trailhead
14.1 mi
1,800 ft
[ View More! ]
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Wilderness Run Around
by joebartels

Likely In-Season!
Overview
The trail data reflects a trip from the Peralta trailhead looping around Bluff Spring Mountain.

Route
Bluff Spring Trail #235, Dutchman's Trail #104, Terrapin Trail #234 and follow #235 back.


Hike
I jumped on the trail at 6:37am. I must admit I was excited to get in the first real hike of the season. Following the Bluff Springs Trail I breezed up the first section, which I figured to be the most challenging. The original plan was to head out to Charlebois Canyon and find the Peralta Master Map. I missed the rock art on my first venture back in March ( look up Charlebois Spring Hike ) Not super exciting but it's been buggin' me all summer that I came up empty handed.

Carlson ( Hikers Guide to the Superstition Wilderness book ) lists the hike to Charlebois as 7 miles one way. The morning air was refreshing after an extended hot Arizona summer. I passed one older man in the first mile. He couldn't figure out how to reply to "good morning". Approaching the turn up the creek bed before leading into Barks Canyon I noticed a couple mid-way up Barks. I seriously doubted they planned that route. The turn is confusing and I still can't figure out why the FS doesn't put up a sign. A bit further on I noticed the couple heading up a steep wiggly canyon. I guess they were determined to conquer Barks and top out on Weavers Outlook Ridge.

7:39am I crossed the Terrapin / Bluff junction.( new signs! ) The trail up to this point was as expected. The moment I continued on Bluff Springs Trail past the Terrapin junction things changed. The trail was slightly overgrown. Not usually so bad but it was all prickly bush. I might add at this point the battery in my camera was nearly dead. Plus the backup was completely dead. However, I wasn't too disappointed. There was enough juice to capture the Peralta Master Maps. In addition, I've photographed most of the trail on other hikes. ( see Bluff Springs Weaver Loop & Charlebois Spring Hike )

I turned onto the Dutchman and headed up towards Charlebois Canyon. This was my first time on this section of the Dutchman. Upon reaching Charlebois Canyon I could finally say I've hiked the entire Dutchman Trail. I realized this on the trail! 9:18am I passed the Red Tanks / Dutchman junction. The post and signage was knocked over. The terrain up to this point was better than expected. The Dutchman Trail between Bluff Springs Trail and Red Tanks Trail hovers ( on the right ) above a noticeably etched creek bed. It appears there have been some major currents draining down towards La Barge Canyon. Looking at Topo USA 3D maps it's easy to see how the water is funneled through the area. Also interesting to note from an overhead 3D view: Bluff Springs Mountain has a valley cut in the middle. It starts high on the SE end and drops down to the NW end. Anyhow heading away from the Red Tank junction you'll pass near two good size cottonwoods in the creek. The sound of the leaves fanning in the breeze almost made me feel cool! After crossing the creek you're following above the creek, which has now switched to your left. There's an ol' hearty orange metal fence post. I'm not sure what its purpose is; the county boundary is a few miles north. The forest and wilderness boundaries are far away too. Best I could make up there's a HUGE century plant across the trail and yard or so up. It's definitely not marking the scraggly ol' dieing cholla hugging the post. Unless it's some rare breed...lol In which case I'm sad to report the breed is dead.

The prickly bush was beginning to take is toll. At the same time I was nearing Charlebois so the pace was swift. Passing by the mouth of Music Canyon I was more intrigued. Carlson briefly mentions the canyon as scenic and not a group area. I never gave it much thought. From the books I've read there's nothing note worthy in the canyon. However, I did find it inviting. It's tighter and deeper cut than I had previously imagined from reading. Like Charlebois it has an Oasis feeling. Charlebois Spring is more reliable and the canyon is bigger for the record.

On the Dutchman between Music Canyon and Charlebois: La Barge Canyon is very welcoming. The creek bed twists and turns. It goes from narrow super wide. Some of the creek bed is small hopscotch bouldering. Then in an eyes blink you're crossing pure sand. I'm not sure if the Dutchman Trail is blazed on the sides, I didn't care to look. It did appeared to cross back and forth. Basically I just wondered up towards Charlebois Canyon. The trail picks up on the right and soon intersects with Peters Trail. ( 9:59am )

I continued on. At this point I figure I'm not a good scout. Carlson says the Peralta Master Map isn't difficult to find. On this my second trip, I came up empty handed again. In all honesty, I wasn't very disappointed. It's more of a reason to get out on the trail and this just meant I'd have a good reason to return! The bad news was my legs were bleeding and I wasn't looking forward to the return trip. I looked around for a nice stick to help minimize the bush contact. Then I decided I really didn't want to go through that crap again. I opted to continue on the Dutchman and circle Bluff Springs Mountain picking up the Terrapin back home.

From La Barge up to Marsh Valley is another great stretch, of course I already knew this from my March 3rd trip. Still full of energy I continued on. The overgrown prickly bush didn't give. I guess it's just like that. I sure don't recall it being so nasty in March. In which case I highly recommend tight weave jeans and a couple walking sticks.

10:55am I passed the Bull Pass / Dutchman junction staying on the Dutchman. The stick was working out pretty good and the trip was enjoyable until... 11:30am I came to the NW beginning of the Terrapin Trail. Initially I was enthusiastic, as I hadn't crossed the upper sections of this trail. It didn't take long for reality to sink in. The Terrapin Trail climbs 700 feet from the junction. No biggy on 2-3 mile hike. Unfortunately I didn't check the maps very well and this was a big surprise. I hadn't really conserved my water supply for any ascents. I was thinking it was mostly flat and then down hill. The weatherman had lied too... lol The forecasted partly cloudy day was all to the east. Later I found out on the HAZ Forum this was over the Reavis Ranch area, great! Even though I was still full of energy I decided to slow it down as my water was down to maybe ten ounces.

The Terrapin heads mostly straight up to Terrapin Pass. Take the time to turn around. Malapais Mountain is beautiful from Marsh Valley and it's beautiful from here too! I was very tired. I decided to hold back on the water until after passing the Weavers Needle. I figured, heck, I'd consumed at least 90oz already and although I was tired I didn't feel out of it. The Terrapin comes right up to the eastern edge of Weavers. There's a square 4x4 fence post at the best view. No sign in place but I'm sure it was some kind of warning to be careful venturing off the trail. I took a photo and moved on.

From there on I was crossing previously mentioned trail so that about wraps it up. ( read Bluff Spring Loop & Weaver's View for additional info ) The pace back to the trailhead was slow. I took a couple naps on the rocks to enjoy the storms rolling in. I arrived back at the trailhead at 2:44pm I'm happy to report I went nearly 15 miles in tevas without one blister! Eat your heart out boot troopers!

joebartels
    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 $$
    None


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

    To Peralta Trailhead
    7.6 miles east of the junction Idaho Rd / US-60. Turn Left on to FS77 which is Peralta Road. Follow FS77 5.6 miles to a left and up turnoff. Continue 1.9 miles to Peralta Trailhead.

    The trailhead has restrooms minus running water. The parking lot is huge. It does fill up in season on weekends. Since there are no lines the rangers ask that you park straight between the posts in the main lot. Please do your part with this simple request and make room for the next guy. 0.5 miles before reaching the trailhead is an overflow lot which is also suited for horse trailer parking.

    From PHX (Jct I-10 & AZ-51) 45.2 mi - about 1 hour 8 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 97.0 mi - about 2 hours 16 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 192 mi - about 3 hours 15 mins
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