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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.

Bull Basin Loop - Eastern Superstitions, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Queen V NE
Rated
3.3
3.3 of 5 by 22
 
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 10 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,450 feet
Elevation Gain 1,669 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,812 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 24.06
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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5  2019-02-03 friendofThunderg
69  2018-02-28 Mr_Squishy
4  2017-09-22 Jim_H
6  2017-04-30 adv_trev
8  2017-04-29 hikerdw
9  2017-03-28 hikingaz2
15  2017-02-20 trekkin_gecko
17  2017-02-20 rayhuston
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author Fritzski
author avatar Guides 43
Routes 0
Photos 597
Trips 59 map ( 132 miles )
Age 66 Male Gender
Location Gilbert, AZ
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct → Early
Seasons   Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:12am - 6:21pm
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4 Alternative
 
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Named place Nearby
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Heaven & Hell
by Fritzski

Likely In-Season!
This is a beautiful loop hike that takes you through some of the least traveled trails in the far eastern Superstition Wilderness. Parts of this hike are through the most forested areas of the Superstitions I have seen yet, but there was one down side. Although the route remains exclusively on established Forest Service trails, there were some areas that were completely overgrown resulting in a major bushwhack. Needless to say this was completely unanticipated, as my continual apologies to my neighbor who I drug along will attest. Actually he had a great time, and hoping that they will eventually clear the trail, I would highly recommend this hike.

The itinerary is rather confusing, but it begins at Miles Trailhead and proceeds counter clockwise (west) on West Pinto Trail to Rock Creek Trail to Bull Basin Trail to Haunted Canyon Trail and then finally back on Paradise Trail (all intersections are signed).

The trail heads out west along scenic W.Pinto Creek and the area to your right is a large flat grassy basin with many signs of the old Kennedy cattle ranch. This peaceful walk along the creek under large Sycamores and Junipers goes on for .6mi until you reach the intersection with Rock Creek Trail. The terrain gradually closes in until you are beginning a climb up a narrow forested ravine. After .7mi you will reach Bull Basin Trail where you will begin the first of the two rather strenuous climbs on this loop. As you start your climb up Bull Basin, you will notice two things. One, the flora changes from predominately forest to bush. The Manzanita is gorgeous along this area. The other thing you may notice is the trail is becoming less defined and you're having to occasionally push branches aside. This is an evil portent of things to come.

By the time you are at the 2.5 mile mark, you are probably beginning to wonder where it was that you made the wrong turn and lost the trail. Fear not, follow your instincts and you will probably end up at a very old coral in Bull Basin at about the 3mi point. Take a quick rest here (you'll probably need it) then continue southward. Route finding is now an issue and my only advice is to persevere and attempt to follow the most worn, no let me make that the "only" path you can get through on. At about the 4mi. point you will top out at a 5200' pass and see some more old barbed wire fencing that is so predominate in this whole area. (Side note: I had one old timer tell me that all of the trails, side-trails, and bush-choked ravines in the Superstitions were once far more clear when cattle were allowed to roam freely.)

We're now ready to begin our descent into Haunted Canyon. The trail begins a series of switchbacks down to the creek bed where you will eventually come across two old springs (both set up for cattle) that are now in disrepair. The first of these is Javalina Springs, and here begins a maddening area where you'll swear (both literally and figuratively) at times the trail just goes from a "freeway" to zero in two steps. "What the hey!?!?" Usually its a matter of bulldozing through a wall of bush just to see the "freeway" once again miraculously appear (if only briefly) in this endless twilight zone of the never ending bushwhack maze. "Mister Wizard!!" (for those of you old enough to remember). At this point I was totally amazed that there was not the slightest sign that anyone had been through there in my lifetime. Please somebody write me and tell me that not twenty feet away was the "true" trail and I just happened to be cruelly paralleling it all the way down. Two things keep you going here, one - its simply beautiful, and the other is you have to get back and you'll be darned if you're gonna go back through what you just came through. A good judgment? Welllll? Basically, yes. The whacking continues pretty much all the way down to the Haunted Canyon intersection where the trail mercifully returns to that sweet open forest style. A note of caution: take a "hard" left at the intersection, the signs are little deceiving.

Now here's the real killer, although this, the second of your two climbs, to the top of a pass adjacent to Government Hill will definitely get your attention, you are just relieved that the bushes are gone (evidence of recent Forest Service clearing on
Haunted Can). But, alas, you're not quite out of the thicket yet. At about the 7mi point most of the way up the climb you'll come to Paradise Trail (you'll initially think its anything but). Go left and as you crest the pass, believe it or not, you will once again need to descend into that god forsaken bramble. We initially tried to take what appeared as the most worn path and it took us to the left on what I believe is an old trail to the top of Gov't Mt. You must go against all desires and descend directly into the ravine. Staying on the right bank you'll barely be able to discern that there is indeed a ghost of a trail there somewhere. The fortunate thing is that this last torment is rather short lived.

Soon the trail begins to open into one of the most beautiful areas I've seen in the Supes. The last two miles of the hike are indeed a well deserved paradise. Much of the scenery is more reminiscent of Lake Tahoe than Arizona. The trees are immense and thick in this ancient forest along the stream. (see Cheese pic) In addition to that its all downhill combining into a wonderful finish to this hike.

If more people would hike these trails, that alone would probably help a lot (so get out there and do your part!) I called the Globe office of the Forest Dept. and they said they'll eventually get around to clearing it and if they do it soon enough, they might even be able to find it! If it were cleared I believe you could possibly cut almost an hour off the hiking time. In the interest of artistic license, I probably exaggerated the downside. Therefore, in all truthfulness, I must again reiterate that above all was the overwhelming beauty and solitude of the entire area, making for an overall outstanding hike.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Note
This is a moderately difficult hike.

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

2001-04-19 Fritzski
    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 18 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Bull Basin Loop - Eastern Superstitions
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    After a bit of a dry spell it was nice to get back to Miles TH. 287 through the mine is in great shape. 287a seemed a little rougher than I remember but still 2wd passable. It looked like it was recently graded which dug up a lot of small rocks so I felt like Ace Ventura bouncing along down the road.

    Paradise Trail is a real treat, absolutely beautiful, and with water flowing most of the way elevates this trail to a 5+ IMO. Passed a couple trail crews along the upper sections of Haunted Canyon Trail but other than that we saw no others. Took a break and had a snack near Tony Cabin Spring. Bull Basin Trail, as reported by others, is in nice shape. Not as groomed as Paradise and Haunted Canyon but very easy to follow. Really enjoyed this hike on this day :D
    Bull Basin Loop - Eastern Superstitions
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    After careful deliberation Ray and Kelly decided to let me tag along on their adventure. Cool and wet. We'll all be jealous in a few months. Many creek crossings during the hike. Stayed dry for quite a few, but some weren't worth the effort. Once your feet are wet, it really doesn't matter much anymore.

    This is my third time to Toney Cabin. Each time by a different route. Still don't know my way around very well. The trails are in good shape even though they have been hit hard by recent rains. The lower part of Paradise trail is very nice. Lots of cypress and sycamore trees.

    Fun hike with awesome company! Thanks Ray and Kelly. :)
    Bull Basin Loop - Eastern Superstitions
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Kelly and I have been talking about doing something out this way and agreed on the Bull Basin Loop with a side trip to Tony Ranch. It was scheduled for Sunday, but rain got in the way. Monday looked better. John was looking for a hike so we invited him along too.

    Running water ruled the day. We initially thought that log crawling across a creek at the outset would keep our feet dry. :lol: A couple of dozen or more creek crossings later we didn't care about wet feet. Some of the creeks resembled rivers. Some sections of the trails resembled creeks. At the saddle near the start of the Paradise Trail, John noted that it was the first time all day we could not hear running water.

    The trails are in excellent shape. As noted in a couple of recent trip logs, they've been trimmed back nicely. A tiny bit of cat claw here and there, but easily avoidable. A little muddy here and there, more so at the saddle on Paradise trail, but a day or two of sunshine will make it all good.

    We took a nice break at the cabin on Tony Ranch. What little bit of sunshine we had at the outset gave way to overcast skies. Our wet feet could have used some sun. Instead, they started to get cold. Time to move. It was 37 degrees at the start and it didn't get anywhere close to the promised high in the low 60's.

    Wet, cloudy or cold, it didn't matter today; this was a fun hike. If you're on the fence about this one, or if you hiked it when it was bushy on Bull Basin trail, you should get out there. This is good hiking with the opportunity for much more. We all had fun.

    John and Kelly, it was great hiking with you!
    Bull Basin Loop - Eastern Superstitions
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    ray and john had monday off, so we picked the best weather day of the holiday weekend to hike bull basin loop
    road was a little muddy, but ray had no issues on the drive in
    37 degrees around 7:30, starting out on west pinto trail
    came to our first crossing of rock creek and found a slick log to crawl over
    stayed dry on that one, but gave it up on the next 40 or so :lol:
    there was water flowing in every creek and drainage, and often on the trail
    the bigger crossings got pretty cold :o
    turned onto bull basin trail, which climbed to a saddle and then dropped down to haunted canyon trail
    took the side trip to the cabin as i had not seen it
    cool spot for a snack break
    headed back to the intersection with paradise trail, which also climbed to a saddle
    the initial descent was a little steep, rocky and wet, but soon moderated into a nice dirt path through the woods
    finished up and headed into superior for a late lunch at los hermanos
    fun hike on all new trails for me
    good company, too
    trails were in great shape - very little brush
    love seeing some new territory in the eastern superstitions
    thanks for driving, ray
    plenty more to do from miles trailhead, which is worthy of some wandering around to check out the old ranch stuff
    Bull Basin Loop - Eastern Superstitions
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Denny needed to hike the Bull Basin and Paradise trails so this loop fit the plan. The morning was cool with cloud cover but the air was still so was nice. We stopped by the unknown cowboy grave and continued on. There was a small tree blocking the Bull Basin trail so we moved it aside and started the climb. The surprise for the day was the amount of snow on the trail and the amount of water flowing. We must have crossed 30+ washes. We made a quick stop at the ranch and detoured out old Haunted Canyon trail. Once we hit Paradise trail the sun was out and it was down hill most of the way back. It was a nice day with the water flowing and snowball throwing.
    Bull Basin Loop - Eastern Superstitions
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Tonys Haunted Bull Eyes Paradise
    We had a couple of choices for the day, anything with Haunted Canyon #203, had to be the choice. Good pick Joey. Temps ranged from 40 at the start, to never reaching 75. Just perfect :y:

    The route was Miles TH CCW to West Pinto #212 :next: Bull Basin #270 :next: Haunted Canyon #203 :next: Toney/Tony Cabin :next: Kennedy Spring Canyon :next: Haunted Canyon #203 :next: Paradise #271.

    Bull Basin #270 trail is fine, except for 1 mile either side of the climb. Dave complained that the blood from my shredded arms, was transferring from the sharp folliage, to :lol: his white shirt. Boo Hoo.

    Some of my favorite areas in the Supes, start at the Haunted Canyon/Bull Basin intersection, into Toney/Tony Ranch.

    At the ranch, we ran into a few members from SALT azsalt.org/officers ... html, doing some site evaluations on their 76 acre parcel. azsalt.org/tony-ran ... html

    We spent some time looking for eyes, then I made my way back to the ranch to grab some lunch. I ran into another group of SALT members and volunteers on my way, including Jack Carlson. We had a short conversation of our exploits and some of his, and of course he asked me if I knew Wally :lol: .

    On our way out, we hit up Haunted Canyon #203 north, to the Paradise #271. On the north side of the pass on Paradise, I'd classify this as a "tight" trail for the upper 150 yards. The lower 2/3rds of this trail are paradise with it's mixed conifers and Sycamores. What a treat.

    There were no sightings this year [ photo ] .

    Thanks for driving JJ
    Bull Basin Loop - Eastern Superstitions
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Bull Basin 270 - Kennedy Spring - Paradise 271
    Haunted Canyon on Halloween felt appropriate. Temps in the upper 30s for our start didn't sting as we kept a nice clip heading up. Bull Basin 270 is a constant bush push up to the saddle with Government. From the saddle down to Haunted Canyon 203 seemed a notch better, most would still despise.

    Headed out past Kennedy Spring up the ravine then poked around the limestone bands. Heading back was the highlight. Stumbled upon the legend Jack Carlson. Halloween, Superstitions, Carlson, perfect temps, great company, fun little hike... was I in heaven?

    Nice little chat with Wayne at the cabin then off to our final leg of the loop. I chose this area for Paradise Trail #271 since Bruce and I haven't hiked it. Slightly reluctant as triplogs often mentioned bushwhacking to a dud rating for no running water in the creek.

    Maybe it was timing, I enjoyed 271. Perhaps a touch brushy. Nothing dense like the current state of 270. Late afternoon with shade advantage on a nice autumn day descending must be the ticket. The often thick and towering Arizona Cypress are on key with paradise in my book. A running creek would certainly be exceptional.

    Foliage
    Subtle perfection. A little early for the rust in sycamores. Arizona Walnut is the show. Ash is nice in areas.
    Bull Basin Loop - Eastern Superstitions
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Haunted Canyon HAZoween Hike
    It was a fun weekend in Haunted Canyon. Chumley, Thundergod and I started from the Paradise Trail on Saturday morning. The trail makes a solid climb to a saddle and then descends into Haunted Canyon. We arrived and met Oregon Hiker who already claimed the main campsite. We got settled and met all the day hikers an hour later. Our group made the walk over to the cabin and then did a short hike to the south. Afterward we returned to the water trough and said our goodbyes. I settled in at camp and started enjoying a cold beverage. We started the fire around 5pm and the seven of us settled in for the evening. I brought brats for dinner and they were delicious!

    I woke relatively late on Sunday morning. Tibber, Skillpore and DBmooner already left camp. I had breakfast and tore down camp. Then Chumley, Thundergod, Oregon Hiker and I made the exit via the Bull Basin Trail. This trail is heavily overgrown and was a real chore hiking up. I need to be better prepared for bushwhacking when hiking with Lee. My legs and arms were covered in cuts. We eventually reached a saddle and the rest of the hiking wasn’t too bad. We checked out a ruin on the return and then finished off the hike around midafternoon.

    This was a great weekend and I’m glad I went. I like these group activities and hope to participate in more of them. Thanks everyone for coming out on this one!
    Bull Basin Loop - Eastern Superstitions
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Haunted Canyon HAZoween Hike
    We decided to take an alternate route to meet JJs Haunted Canyon hike. Paradise was a nice trail with a solid climb to start.

    We set up camp (thanks for coming early and securing the spot Larry!) and waited for the others to arrive before heading over to check out the cabin and explore upstream a bit.

    I hiked back through the poison ivy jungle with the group before returning back to camp. Haunted Canyon is a really scenic hike, and the sycamore were a colorful autumn rust, and the poison ivy was actually quite colorful as well. :scared:

    Had a nice night around the fire before going our separate ways in the morning. Lee and Larry led us back to the car via Bull Basin. It got a bit warm in the sun, and the route ended up being a bit longer than the map advertised, but there are some really scenic parts of the trail, especially as you come down the hill from Bull Basin.

    Thanks to JJ for putting this together. Great to meet skillpore, and to see the rest of you again. :)

    Foliage
    The Poison Ivy on Haunted Canyon 203 was 4 colors. Green, Red, Yellow, and Orange. Brilliant stuff!
    The sycamores were about peak rust.
    Bull Basin Loop - Eastern Superstitions
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Invited Oregon Hiker for a nice and easy back pack in the Eastern Supes. Fourth year in a row my friend Jim and I completed a Memorial Day trip to the Supes. Along with Jim my buddy Brian also came along, he had spent all week waiting to activated for the Slide Fire, but as luck would have it he was never called and was able to come along.

    The hike in was your pretty standard hike into Toney Ranch, plenty of water still in the creek and flowing steady in some areas, poison ivy is also out in full force, we will see how that goes in the next few days. Met Jim at the campsite just before noon, he had packed in on Thursday. We really just relaxed Saturday saw all the main attractions, hiked a little of the "backyard" route, did some exploring near camp and generally just relaxed around camp.

    On Sunday myself, Larry, Brian and the dogs borrowed a hike out of the Eastern Superstitions Guide book and completed the Government Hill cross-cut. We were able to find enough sections of old ranching and use trails to make the hike pretty mild in terms of difficulty. In fact, the worst part was undoubtedly making our way down Bull Basin to its intersection with Haunted Canyon Trail 203 and the completion of our modest loop. We could have probably done more, but it was pretty warm at times, we had the dogs, and there was no need to push it. Larry and I took one final exploring session later in the afternoon, but other than that it was just rest and relaxation around the camp, with an occasional plunge in the creek to cool down.

    Temperatures were great at night, heat broke enough to enable comfortable sleeping, no shortages of water around the camp, easy hike out Monday morning and eating lunch at The Sisters in Superior by noon.

    Product Review: Bought an Osprey Daylite Pack to see if it would work for upcoming canyon trip, two thumbs up. Perfect pack for squishing inside a large pack to bring along for day trips from camp. Carried 200 oz of water in it and did not feel that it was too heavy for pack, very comfortable. I think it will be perfect for bringing along on upcoming five day trip and using to sneak down to river and explore.

    Permit $$
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    Directions
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    To Miles Ranch Trailhead
    From Superior head out east on US 60. Pass through the Queen Creek Tunnel and continue 10 miles to mile marker 239.4 Turn left onto this paved road that enters the Pinto Mine. Follow the paved road 2.8 miles and turn left onto FS 287. Go slow at the numerous intersections. Your goal is to figure out which are mine roads and which are public access. Public access signs are posted on most of the intersections. Some aren't exactly clear which way they are pointing. You will leave the private land of the Pinto Mine and crossover onto forest land. At about seven miles you turn left onto 287A. Follow FS 287A to the end. It's called Kennedy Ranch on maps, but the trailhead is called Miles Ranch.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 88.0 mi - about 1 hour 53 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 121 mi - about 2 hours 43 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 232 mi - about 3 hours 56 mins
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